We didn’t know then. We could never know. If suspicion ever attempted to appear in our path, we’d start running, heads down. But we did so with grace. Our youthfulness dragged our old souls out of desperate boredom to create a new life that no other generation could ever match. Sweet visions of innovation and fascination to our elders became the reality of our alienation. We refused ease. Dreamers ran scarce, yet we continued to dream. Yes, practicality always makes sense, but we attempted to make the impractical the new standard. We ran as dogs through the city in our second-hand mismatched suits with our tongues hanging out and salivating with every thought of ambition. Young statues stepped to the side and gaudily smirked as they looked down upon us and we pleasantly smiled back with our gravel-filled grins and kept on our way. The hearts that beat with a dangerous level of passion knew that we had the upper hand. Our brains did not get the message from our hearts. Fortunately, we cared not about our chances and forged on our winding unpaved path with intentions purer than free doves. We live.

 

Our greatest advantage early on was perceived as our cardinal mistake. When one corrupts himself unintentionally by attempting to exploit his own beliefs, he dies. All humans live and die, but only those who refuse the temptation of leaving their battlefield and stick to their guns can truly say they are alive. So we stuck in our trenches with bullets zipping past our heads, and began to laugh with each other because no matter the result of this battle, we would be buried with our medals while the cowards who left us not only face the punishment of desertion but now look up to us with our scars and honors, and their eyes start to well up with regretful tears. We live.

 

Days we chose to live came with the adversity that those who have since fallen desperately avoided because of their fear. Blood on our chin and blisters on our feet, we extend the crimson walkway heroes and kings once tread. Now we know. Toasting away the pain and trials we dogs faced with golden liquids that outshine the North Star, we receive the reward we never expected, but deserved. I raise my glass to all those who have laughed in the trenches. We live.

Rufus Barkley is a second year Photography major. He is also a writer, musician, chef, and, occasionally, honest.