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Jaela Horton

Title: Behindsight

With the ceaseless downward spiral of the last year- starting with the announcement of a literal pandemic which forced his university to abandon ship and its students with it, followed with the realization that he, if not had to pack all his things by himself, would have to drive the rented U-Haul trailer alone for three hours through Arkansas- the College Student should have known he wouldn’t be able to return to the single bedroom his parents had, after his sudden call, spruced up with love, unscathed.

The college student, cautious of the time that he’d pay for the trailer- though it had been watered down by the student discount the person working (who would much rather be on Instagram at that moment) insisted wasn’t available to him because he didn’t look like ‘a college student’- should have known that the excellent time he was making (up to this point he’d gone to only one rest stop that loitered right beyond the city) wasn’t good luck, but the conniving hand of fate arranging for him to be in the right place ( a silenced highway) at the right time ( in the dark of night).

After the black and white car aimed for the trailer, the way a bull would charge at a wavering cape and continue at the sight of blood, the college student should have known that the next two hours belonged to the man in the dented hat.

The college student should have known that his right to deny search would, actually, amount to the right to say that he denied a search preceding the right to get handcuffed, then the right to be placed in the back of the car and, finally, the right to cry out to his family, over 100 miles away.

Anyone should have known what happened next: The man with a dented hat called others with dented hats to come on the scene, one of them contained a dog which, of course, was curious of what was inside so it told them men with opposable thumbs to grab the key to unlock the trunk out of the ignition and then told the people to take out each of the college student’s boxes- from picture books to picture frames- draw and quarter them, and- without the tape needed to re-assemble- left them exposed and laying around.

Two hours later, after the dogs and the hats were given time to clear out, the first man returned back to his own car, he knew that he couldn’t just leave it stranded alone in that dark highway, and by his grim look and stern tone, the college student should have been grateful to know that he’s been issued a warning and let go.

What the trooper wouldn’t have known was that this college student was the son of a retired judge, who- before returning to private practice- had served for 18 years, firmly reciting the do’s and don’ts of law well into the kid’s youth, inspiring him enough to peruse the career himself at the University of Arkansas School of Law, of which he was driving back from.

The trooper wouldn’t have known, couldn’t have known, that the man he pulled over, at age 32, was a third-year student. How could he have drawn such a conclusion when he saw the college student sitting- no, shaking in the back of his car weeping, “I didn’t do anything, daddy, please,” and, “Daddy, I don’t want to die. I don’t want to die.”

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thien mai
thien mai
26 jun

The Rice Purity Test is a 100-question survey assessing a person's innocence in worldly matters. Originating from Rice University, it's often taken by college students to compare life experiences and gauge their "purity." Lower scores indicate more worldly experiences. Website :

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Dimitri Pollich
Dimitri Pollich
13 jun

Jaela Horton's poignant narrative "Behindsight" sheds light on the harrowing experiences faced by a college student, showcasing the intersection of systemic injustice and personal resilience in the face of adversity. basketball stars

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