For as long as I’ve resided in this field, I’ve heard the same hangout plans from a new group every day: “Let’s have a bonfire next week!” or “Are you going to the bonfire later? They’re providing free food!” At first, I was intrigued by the idea; a warm way to end a stressful Friday night, a chance to connect with some of your future best friends and worst roommates, or even a magical means of starting a relationship (at least according to Elliot Barker, who allegedly “got it in” for the first time after he and Jenny attended one as just friends). With every inside joke I overheard and the new friendships that formed among glowing faces, I got more and more excited to finally be part of one of these notorious events. I waited patiently for people to see just how perfect I was for the event.
My excitement grew when I overheard Jay Fallor talking to his buddies about having their yearly kickoff bonfire right under me. He talked about how the grass was the perfect spot to lay back, and how I was the perfect candidate for “tree streaking,” whatever that was. They put together who would bring what, and I counted down the days until I would experience my first bonfire in all its glory.
And then last night happened. And it was disgusting. Jay and his goons came and gathered under me like a rabid group of drunken barbarians, whooping and hollering, as if they had just been released from their cage. The energy was tolerable at first, and I tried my best to absorb their chants and obnoxiously loud greetings. And then they started the fire. Who was going to tell me that it would be unbearably hot?! Everyone would talk about how faces light up at the fire, but I didn’t know they were that serious about it! And the fumes! My god, the fumes. The blazing fire was one thing, but the black clouds that emanated from it? I felt my autumn leaves char to a crisp with every passing second. My glorious leaves! Burning away and falling far too early! I didn’t even know I could smell, but after last night, I don’t think I can anymore. Every puff of air and gust of wind made the burning sensation radiate through me.
Oh! I also learned what their made up “tree streaking” game was. At some point after wondering how this hellfire could get any worse, a pair of sweaty feet and thighs climbed me while screaming strings of curses at the crowd of hooligans below. I tried my best to stay calm. Being shaken wildly by the clammy… everything… was one thing. But I had had enough when I saw that he was handed a flaming piece of wood while everyone chanted, “Yield the torch!”
Bonfires are overrated. My bark hurts. These ignorant humans need to go back to playing video games or hazing people at frat houses or something, and they need to leave me alone. Forever.