Red: A personal essay by Bethany Eckert

By Bethany Eckert

My mason jar is half full of red wine—Côte-du-Rhodes, to be exact. I stare at my white cement ceiling and focus on that all too familiar speck of dirt that’s been there since Move-In Day. Aggressively biting into a Twizzler, I try to figure out how I ended up here.

***

The screaming siren of my alarm tells me to start my day, and the red numbers of the digital clock tell me I already overslept. I should have been up by 8 to study for my quiz at 11, but now it’s 9:30 and I’m still in pajamas. I change; no red lipstick today, I was feeling more like 660 Touch-of-Spice by Maybelline. I went with red converse instead, just for a pop of color to my otherwise white and grey outfit. I put on a necklace that I know starts conversations.

***

Lunchtime is calling my name after class. As I walk down the stairs in Basil, I see the person who gave me the necklace. She is wearing red shoes, too. They look like wedges made of faux suede, but I don’t get a good look as she rushes past me. She doesn’t see the necklace.

***

It’s 6:50 p.m. and I’m knocking on someone’s door. We usually go to yoga together. There’s no answer, so I text her. She says she has to study for her exam tomorrow; I guess I’ll go by myself. Today’s focus is healing. Everyone is wearing tight-fitting workout leggings with matching tank tops that stay in place as we stretch and balance ourselves. I fall a few times and worry that the red letters on my old cut up t-shirt draw too much attention to me.

***

Last minute money things must be discussed with the other club officers. I stare at the broken red clip of my mechanical pencil as they tell me what to write. My mood, which was lifted from yoga, begins to fall back to where it used to be.

***

Back in my room, I’m tired and upset. I pour Côte-du-Rhodes in a jar and pull out some candy. My mind won’t calm down. I lay back on my floor and breathe.

***

I found a leaf today. One of the first to fall off of Autumn’s trees. It’s small and cute and red, just like me. Just like me.


Bethany Eckert is a senior French major at Saint John Fisher College. She loves writing, wine, and languages. Bethany is currently working on her first review for The Review Review, and was an editor during the relaunch of SJFC’s literary magazine, ANGLES.

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