This set of stories was curated by Sasha Linden-Cohen.
Based on the New York Times’ “Metropolitan Diaries,” the Middletown Diaries will include awkward, funny, novel, or sweet anecdotes, stories, or memories that happen at Wesleyan and in Middletown. To submit to the Middletown Diaries, please email email@example.com.
Walking to the gym, I wonder if I notice the things other people notice. I especially notice the mattress on the side of the road on Church street. I see it on my way to brunch, and I see it on the way back, and I wonder if other people see it too, because it weirds me out every time.
The mattress is stacked on top of a mattress frame, (as mattresses are often found) but in the true spirit of October, a rusty pool-shaped stain washes over the pastel facade. Even more unnerving, the same rust color grips the side of the mattress in claw-like finger formations. Clearly, a bloody hand has wiped its shame on this mattress. It’s not hard to imagine a stabbing victim laid prostrate, blood seeping underneath while the knife-holder nervously dries their hands nearby. Now, the only evidence of their crime is on a mattress on the curbside of Church, right smack in the middle of my hungover walk to Swings.
Maybe it’s more reflective of Wesleyan students than of the murderer that no one has given this very suspicious mattress more than a glance. We’re all too wrapped up in our meetings, would-be hookups, and GPAs to see the horror right in front of our noses. Maybe I’m just too wrapped up in the October mire. There are so many reasons a dark stain and handprints could end up on a mattress. Even if a murder had taken place, why would the culprit pitch their evidence out in public, where everyone on earth could see its grisly spectacle? Perhaps the murderer knew, as many Middletown residents have discovered, that Wesleyan students are far too absorbed in their own interior lives to care about anything that goes on in this town.
– Brooke Kushwaha
It was a Friday afternoon. The downstairs area in Usdan is empty with the exception of a few lone people either doing work or pretending to. I was letting the afternoon hours pass into the glorious space that fleeting and wasted hours run away to.
And then you. You, “A Random Communist,” appear on my phone. You want to airdrop a photo to me. The caption reads “You’ve heard of Elf on the Shelf, now get ready for,” followed by two images of a sloth and our one and only President Michael Roth photoshopped together.
I accept the airdrop request.
My curiosity is piqued. I want to know who you are, stranger or friend. You colored my Friday afternoon with intrigue. Is this a pick-up line? The beginning of a wonderful friendship? Hints about your own personal communist manifesto involving President Michael Roth and sloths? Or did you simply want to share a laugh or spread a smile on a grey day?
I look around the few loan and bare screens of other strangers sitting on the Usdan couches. I don’t see that any of you just airdropped that image to me. No faces give the slightest sign that they are “A Random Communist,” and know what was just delivered to me.
You remain a mystery to me.
Either way, thank you stranger, for showing a withering old senior that there are more reasons to go to Usdan other than to “see people or be seen,” as a friend told me last week.
– Camille De Beus