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Holiday

Sitting on the steps of the university center are three college-aged students. They are cold, with their breath visible in the air. Regardless of the cold, the three friends continue to sit on the steps, smiling and joking around. A fourth friend, who is freezing but refuses to wear a winter coat, approaches the group.

“Why are you all sitting out here?” She asks the group. “It’s freezing.”

“Because we were waiting for you, Bitch-ass!” the male friend of the group responds with a wide grin. The fourth friend smiles and puts up her hands in a fighting position. The male friend squares up as well. They start to play fight, as they tend to do nowadays, while the other two friends laugh at a meme visible from the blonde friend’s phone.

“Can we start walking now?” The short friend asks. With that, the party of four start their short trek to get food.

This particular group of four are rarely seen by themselves. They call themselves the Hive Mind, in reference to how they act as one when together rather than as separate individuals. Others around notice this pattern too. The Hive Mind creates a certain chaotic energy and whenever they swarm near, entertaining, happy times are bound to follow.

The Hive Mind walks in their clump rather close together, due to the harsh wind in the air this particular Monday afternoon. Every Monday, the Hive walk from the university center at 1:17pm to a restaurant off campus to enjoy a meal, usually mac ‘n cheese, in each other’s company. However, this Monday was the Monday before Thanksgiving, meaning it was their “Friendsgiving” meal. How special was this meal going to be, you ask? Very special, for the Hive was on their way to get bagels rather than mac ‘n cheese.

On their walk, the Hive make jokes, talk about how their day is going so far as well as their past weekend, and complain about what they are to expect in the upcoming week. This is the usual Monday afternoon banter.

“Ooh look at you!” the fourth friend says to the short friend, hyping her up. The short friend smiles and shows off her outfit. “I went shopping for my interview that I had this morning.”

“How did it go?”

“I think it went well,” the short friend responds.

“My mother is very excited about y’alls’ Christmas gifts, by the way,” the blonde friend announces to the Hive.

“God bless, Toni,” the male friend says. “She is such a quality mother.”

“I just love how she wants to give y’all gifts in the first place.”

“I am scared that she is gonna try to kill me with the gift she gives me,” the fourth friend says.

“Toni isn’t going to kill you,” the blonde friend replies.

“I don’t know. I did make her upset that night when the police came to our dorm.”

“Maybe you should have answered her calls…”

“She called you first!”

The blonde friend walks over to a neighboring building’s wall and makes a knocking sound. “UCPD!” she exclaims in a deep voice, imitating a man. The fourth friend laughs, as that is a recent inside joke between her and the blonde friend. They have been living together this past semester and the Hive plans on all living together next school year.

The Hive Mind approaches the street where they cross. The crosswalk has three seconds left. The female friends start yelling at the male friend, saying things like “go, go, go, go” and “you can make it!” The male friend makes motions as if he is going to run across the street with one second left, but then stops. The female friends then start to chastise the male friend for failing their dare. Onlookers stare at the Hive with strange looks, not knowing what to make of the chaotic encounter.

This is how the Hive Mind works. When one person starts something as simple as a dare or chant, the rest get involved and chime in or react to that statement. Most of the time, it does leave the common passerby perplexed. The Hive has that way about them. Each member of the Hive feeds off the energy of the other members and the group grows ever more energetic and confident every minute they spend together.

The Hive met last year at practice for a sport that they all did in high school. At the beginning of their season, the members didn’t really know each other well. The blonde friend and fourth friend only talked when they would walk to their dorms together after practice. The male friend then started dating the fourth friend. One night after a Thursday practice in mid-September, the short friend wanted to get food at the dining hall. She invited her team. The fourth friend asked the blonde friend if she wanted to go and then if the male friend wanted to go.

From that moment on after really connecting during this particular meal, the friends started eating food with each other after every Thursday practice. They called this Feast Day. Feast day slowly began happening after every practice. After a while, every day became Feast Day.

The Hive Mind was the first group to form in their sport. After a year, two more distinct groups formed. There is a group of four girls who call themselves the Sweet Cheeks, but the Hive refers to this collection as the Baby Squad. There is also a group of five that the Hive calls the Fab Five, but the Hive tries to distance themselves from this group as much as possible, for they create a negative, dramatic energy. The Baby Squad has the potential to be as close as the Hive, but they are still newly formed. The Fab Five cannot even compare their friendship to the Hive for they are a dysfunctional group that bonds over the shared dislike of the sport that they chose to be a part of. The Hive doesn’t appreciate this negativity.

The other groups as well as the members of their sport all crown the Hive Mind as the reigning group, for everyone knows that the bond that they have is inseparable.

The Hive makes it to the bagel shop.

“Can someone pay for me and I can Venmo you?” the short friend asks.

“I gotchu,” the fourth friend says, laughing. These two friends in particular always pay for each other. They order first, with the blonde friend and male friend in line after.

Usually on Mondays, the Hive takes their meal to an outdoor seating area or back to the university center but today, because they were celebrating “Friendsgiving,” the Hive decided to stay in the bagel shop.

“Quick, what’s my blood sugar at?” the blonde friend asks the group. This is a common meal time game that the Hive plays due to the blonde friend having T1 diabetes. The friends all place their bets. The male friend was the closest, so the blonde friend gifts him her apple juice’s bottle cap as a reward. He puts it on his head. Actions like this are normal with this group.

As the Hive one by one gets their bagels, they happily munch on their “Friendsgiving” meal. Both the fourth friend and the short friend got two bagels, considering they wanted to Feast like they did in the good old days.

The friends laugh and enjoy each other’s company while eating. When given the opportunity, the Hive can prolong a meal to last over three hours, in which they have done many times in the past. The Hive is known to play cards while they eat, as well as getting more food throughout their meals. Mealtime is very important to the Hive because it was during mealtime in which they first really bonded.

“What did we have last year for Thanksgiving?” the male friend asks the group.

“I honestly have no idea,” the fourth friend says. “I know we like, made food ourselves, but I can’t remember what.”

“Was it the time we made one hundred twenty cookies to split between the four of us?” the short friend suggests. The friends all laugh at the memory, but agree it wasn’t the answer.

“I couldn’t tell ya,” the blonde friend adds. “We spend too much time with each other.”

The Hive indeed spent way too much time with each other. When not in class, often at least two of the members of the group are together. What sets the Hive apart from other “squads” is that each member of the group has a unique bond with each individual. The individual webs that connect each friend give the entire Hive a strong, unbreakable bond. For example, the fourth friend used to date the male friend, and when they separated, their friendship became stronger than ever. The blonde friend and the male friend are both Gryffindors, so their chaotic energy tends to be amplified when they hang out with each other separately. The blonde also lives with the fourth friend, and the short friend spends time in the library studying with all of the friends or in the rec center practicing with her friends.

The short friend starts collecting everyone’s trash in one bag. She then passes the bag to the fourth friend, who passes it to the blonde friend, who passes it to the male friend. This is another meal time game the Hive Mind plays.

The male friend starts trying to shape the trash in a grandiose sculpture rather than something that is practical to throw away.

“What are you doing?” the short friend asks, judgingly.

“Making it better,” he quips back.

The short friend gives him a look. “Why?”

“You’re one to talk, Cup Crusher,” He says, causing the group to smile. “Remember the Highway 55 incident?”

The short friend made a towering Styrofoam cup sculpture at HWY55 after stealing every member’s cup when they were mostly done with their drink. She has been known to crush her cups for a while, but this ended up being over-the-top décor that was left on the table next to a large tip and a note on the cups “saying sorry for the mess.” This sculpture is another inside joke within the Hive.

The Hive has shared many inside jokes with each other, and they often look back on their past and how they’ve grown as friends over the year they’ve known each other. Each one of the friends can all agree that they have never had friends like this before they started college. It is funny how a group of very different people, who when they first met only shared the love of a single sport in common, became such an inseparable, homogeneous force. They give each other life and character, and their unique personalities blend rather than clash.

As the mealtime chaotic “activities” wind down, the friends leave one by one to attend to the next part of their day separately. The male friend throws away the trash and departs. The female friends exit the bagel shop together, but the fourth friend turns left to head to class. The blonde friend and short friend separate when they get to the crosswalk, as one heads to her apartment and the other to her lab.

As each one peels off from the group, there is often a loud goodbye that resonates so that way the entire world knows that the Hive is parting. The friends are together almost always, yet they still feel the need to prolong their goodbyes and get excited about their hellos. The Hive Mind is the kind of group that everyone wishes they were apart of. The love that they have for each other is immense, and each member of the group knows that. They all have other families, other lives, other relationships, yet they always end up together at the end of the day.

“The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb.”

November 26, 2019 19:55

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