The night is young, the sky is clear, a brisk evening breeze brushes against my cheeks as I stroll along Scholars Drive. I have nowhere to be, nowhere to go. There is no destination in mind, but there is something I seek. I’ve been waiting all day for this, waiting for the cover of darkness and the silence of the streets. It’s not too busy, and for that I am grateful. Tonight is the perfect atmosphere for my long awaited hunt.
I’m restless and excited, but I’m careful to play it cool. I remind myself to not walk too fast, to be discreet as I survey the scene. I can’t come off as too eager, they’ll sense it. I’ve selected my path carefully, only diverting from the main street so that I can linger near the areas I know that they frequent. I glance over at the overflowing trash cans, peek into the sewer drains, and eye any tree that seems to show suspicious movement. My surveying is to no avail, I have yet to set eyes on the one thing that I’ve been dreaming about.
Over an hour has passed and my eyelids have grown heavy. I’m losing my alertness, my stride turning into trudging. It’s time to accept defeat and return home. With a heavy heart, I open the door to my room, glancing back one more time at the sewer across from my building, a sliver of hope remaining. I wait for a moment but see no new developments and I slam my door, squashing what little optimism I had left. I lay in bed while clicking through stories. And that’s when I see something — something that makes my blood boil. I am infuriated as I watch the Snapchat story of an acquaintance. On my phone are three mischievous faces with large round eyes and little nimble fingers. I look around at the surroundings and that’s when my anger is unleashed. Adding insult to injury, the video documents those little rascals crawling out of the sewer beside my building. The very sewer I had glanced upon only moments before.
I’m enraged. I like to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, but the evidence is damning and my already growing suspicions have been confirmed. Those sneaky bastards are playing a game with me, a game of hide and seek, of cat-and-mouse. They taunt me with celebrity appearances on @ucsd.raccoons. They make their presence known to every other student but me. Friends flaunt their sightings and look at me with pity when I reveal my truth. Every person I’ve asked has admitted to having seen at least one raccoon on campus and the fact that I have not has ostracized me, alienating me from my peers. If anyone is keeping track, the current scoreboard would likely show:
I lived on campus all of last year and for the entirety of this year so far. Yet they have successfully evaded me at all costs. This is no coincidence — this is personal. They have to actively work on avoiding me, especially given the frequency in which I seek them out. Sometimes I can sense them watching me, snickering at me, conspiring against me. But I refuse to let them win. They’ve been carrying the game for months, but I’m determined. At least one of them will slip up, I just know it. And the moment that it happens, the moment I catch a glimpse of one of their naughty little faces, I can claim victory.
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