The Museum as Place

I’ll start with a confession: last month, in New York City, I visited the Whitney Museum of American Art and didn’t pay close attention any of the art. It’s sacrilegious, I know—especially for a member of the Princeton Art Museum Student Advisory Board. In my defense, while I was in New York City, I also visited the Neue Galerie and went to the Met twice. Those times, I did pay attention to my glorious surroundings. I even read the placards. So why am I here now, writing about my experience at the Whitney rather than my—perhaps more, ahem, intellectual—experiences at other museums? Because there was something about my visit to the Whitney that was so much more striking. It showed me the value of museums as spaces for personal experiences.

It was my last day in New York City. The Whitney closed at 5 o’clock and, as a result of bad planning and late subways, my boyfriend and I only got there at 4:30. We had managed to conquer public transportation; we’re both art lovers; we didn’t trek all the way there for nothing. We still bought tickets. And I decided I still wanted to see everything.

We started at the top: the 8th floor was home of the outdoor terrace whose breathtaking view of the Meatpacking District I had seen countless photos of. Then we ran through that floor and all the floors below it (by “ran” I mean a breathless sort of fast walk—had we actually run, the security guards would have hated us even more than they probably already did). We were on a mission, surely—to take in as much of the Whitney as possible. It was a half-hour full of glimpses of beautiful art that my mind remembers in swirls of color and brushstrokes. It was doors that led to stark white staircases with drop-dead gorgeous views of the city I loved. It was a race against time; it was a scene from a John Green novel (though that sounds so painfully cliché to say). I wish I could personally apologize to the artwork—I know it all deserves to be stood in front of, pondered at. But the experience itself was art. It was the most powerful dosage of aesthetic I could take at once (and I can take a lot of aesthetic).

My experience reminded me that museums are not just vessels for art. They are living, breathing places themselves—places where magic can happen. Just take some of the yearly events at the Princeton Art Museum, for example: the Nassau Street Sampler, the Student Advisory Board Gala, Failed Love. I’ve heard a few of my peers worry about how they think people don’t pay enough attention to the museum’s artwork at these events. My response: maybe they don’t. But for everyone at those events, whether or not they spend enough time looking at the art, magic is happening. And that magic is an experience within itself. (And it will probably encourage them to revisit the museum later so they can give the art the attention it deserves. Like how I want to revisit the Whitney one day. And actually look at the art closely. Sorry about that again, Whitney.)


For more posts from the Princeton University Art Museum Student Advisory Board, visit


The Phantasmagoria Night Fields


There’s an elevator in your room one-fourth the size of a cardboard box

That takes you to the black-grass phantasmagoria night fields

Where you want to watch the stars and I say “this is a nice place to watch the stars”

Immediately trying to reel the words back and swallow them

In a little star-shaped pill that burns my esophagus

And leaves a fiery celestial trail down my throat


I can stare at the sun for maybe a minute

Before fear of being blinded pulls the ecstasy away, away, away

I can’t pretend I wouldn’t like to go back to the other three-fourths

Of your cardboard box room

And watch the hem of your grey hoodie sway from a hanger

When the windows are open



Never Land


Note: this poem is inspired by “Straight On ‘Til Morning,” a work of fiction I wrote for my creative writing class at Princeton University. I did not post it on Curyosity for length reasons, but contact me if you would like to read it.


They said Never Land was somewhere we could

Close our eyes and never feel anything again

All these lights strung together could build

A ten-mile wide city but that’s not enough

For you, not enough for me


We need to escape


In a back alley in the black of night

Or a room tucked in a forgotten corner

Of your maze-house

Where we lay languorously on golden chaises

We let reality fly by like it never even existed


What’s real? I touch you but feel nothing

There’s no magic in Pixie Dust save for the magic in our minds

But our minds are cages for shadows

Your shadow so intertwined with mine

I could never find it if you asked


You raised a glass of stars and said

“Here’s to never growing up”

And all the boys and girls who are lost cheered

I looked up at you like you were made of magic

And brought my glass to my lips

I’ve felt old, so old, ever since


hour twenty-five



they nuked new york city

when i say they i mean west america

our uncontested enemies, yes, but

an unexpected test of strength from

a place where we once thought waves

were all that moved in gloom of night


skyscraper tops scarcely stay clear

of the dirt’s deepest layer

now they build these buildings underground

(when i say they i mean architects)

because it’s harder to get us here

we are so heavily guarded


only on your sixteenth birthday can you see the sky

i’ll get to that later


there’s no sun or stars or moon but there are lights

lights like you have never seen lights from every window

lcd—neon—bulbs—thousands of thousand-watts

twinkling lights not-twinkling lights constantly overcompensating

for the darkness inherent in our surroundings and heads


instead of rain, money falls into millionaires’ outstretched hands

as they stand on their balconies and enter their bentleys

like a suffocating sea of black suits

and manicured jeweled fingers that operate

golden cages that seem glorious from afar


(her rubied hand rests on his thigh—he looks down—feels sickened—why?)


when you’re sixteen they let you go up for twenty four hours

to a desolate field where you can feel the death of the old city

everyone carves a short story into the metal carcasses

i know of one


my friend julius owns an aston martin

and the largest inheritance in east america

he said he’d be up for a few minutes at most

but the sun and the stars and the moon

and the reds and the blues and all the other hues

cradled him with the comfort that some things he could never have


he went overtime and was dragged out at

hour twenty-five



something tells me so


i don’t want to see the city i love

if it’s not through your eyes

the streets you own, the gate to your home

your old school’s red little door that tells me you’ve adventured

before I was at your side


the rows of dark houses

echoing my dreams back at me

the chill I feel isn’t from the cold but I

grab your waist anyway


“you make me feel euphoria”


are we euphoric in the taxi cab you kiss my forehead in?

in the invisible night park

where we count

the million bright lights shining for us

in our sky?


you’re made of these places

the sparkling energy in the air—the same as

the electric current running through your skin


our dreams are bigger than others’—

they dream of seeing us in a cage

or feeling special for a few hours

we dream of a lifetime of looking up at the stars

and never worrying


some paths were meant to cross and

some paths we’re meant to be cross at

i wonder what would have happened had you asked

a week earlier, back when I would have had to say no

would we still be here drinking vanilla milkshakes

in the diner you’ve been going to since you were born

would we still be hugging each other’s side down

quiet city streets

something tells me so


Album review — I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it


Image from

Go down
Soft sound
Car lights
Playing with the air
Breathing in your hair
Go down
Soft sound
Step into your skin? I’d rather jump in your bones
Taking up your mouth, so you breathe through your nose.

—”The 1975,” The 1975


I didn’t think anything could beat The 1975’s first, self-titled album: a masterpiece devoid of filler tracks, whose every song was a tightrope-walk between bleakness and hopefulness. And so far, I was right. The band’s new album I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it (which I’ll henceforth refer to as I like it when you sleep) didn’t beat The 1975. Nor did it even meet its standards. But I still enjoyed I like it when you sleep—to the point where I play its best songs on repeat constantly. And I know I’ll look back and consider it one of my favorite albums of the year, even though it fell short of my expectations.

I like it when you sleep sounds happier than the rest of The 1975’s music. It’s a synth-filled, lyrically poetic stream of songs that at times bursts with exhilaration—before tracks that are mellower, like “A Change of Heart,” pull the album back to a moodiness that fans of the band are used to. I had always pictured driving down lonely night streets in my head whenever I listened to the band’s older stuff. With this album, I picture lonely night streets awash with a bright glow. Fittingly, that’s the aesthetic The 1975 is going for now. The promotional pictures as well as those in the album booklets depict abandoned nocturnal scenes with pink neon signs that spell out the song titles.

The album is on the experimental side, and though I applaud The 1975 for stepping out of their comfort zone, the more experimental songs sound like filler. Namely, the last four tracks on the album fall flat. “This Must Be My Dream” and “Paris” sound like contrite bubblegum pop, and “Nana” and “She Lays Down” are acoustic in a way the band just can’t pull off—these last two songs are far more boring than even their slowest synthy ballads. However, there are many songs on I like it when you sleep that are worth a listen—at the very least, “The Sound” and “The Ballad of Me and My Brain.” Tracks like these can stand against the best of the band’s older songs and lead me to believe that, no matter how discouraging it sounds, The 1975 should stick to what they’re best at—indie-electronic songs crafted with complexity and full of energy and emotion.


For this and more posts, take a look at “What We’re Loving – Spring Break 2016” on the website for the Nassau Literary Review, Princeton University’s oldest literary magazine:


princeton art museum // medieval art gallery // me

As someone who has loved art history and art museums my entire life, it excited me to no end that I would have a free museum with Monets and Warhols at my doorstep. I’ve gone to the Princeton University Art Museum more than your average student has, since I was in a freshman seminar that took place literally within the galleries during fall semester. I’ve wandered through all the displays, gazed at all the artwork on view (and some pieces behind-the-scenes). But my most magical moments at the museum have been in the Medieval Art gallery.

This gallery looks markedly different from the others at the museum. The stark whiteness of the room immediately strikes you. It reminds me of what believers imagine heaven looks like—full of light, demanding reverence. The decorative marble staircase, the arched stained glass windows, the elaborately carved columns all bring back an era of romantic artistry. There’s devotion in the religious panels that give splashes of color to the walls. There’s mystery: the tomb sculpture of a Spanish knight of unknown identity. And magic: the two painted sculptures, a monk and a knight who have a gleam in their eyes like they’re about to come alive.

It’s December, and I’m at the Student Advisory Board Gala at the art museum. It’s themed “Salon Cezanne” but here I am in this room—in the Middle Ages, far from the abstractions of Cezanne. I’m in a black lace dress and heels and I sit down on the old wooden bench for my friend to take a picture. But there shouldn’t be a camera, and I shouldn’t be in these clothes. I feel my mind slipping away. Now I’m wearing a gown woven with the greatest intricacy, in a dark-paneled room lined with tapestries, in a castle full of marble staircases, in a world resounding with the clang of swords and the tales of knights and the prayers sent up frantically to God.

I sigh as my friend and I join the rest of the crowd in the central gallery. The real world, where schoolwork and stress await me once I get back to my dorm. But it’s reassuring that behind me is a fantasy world I have always dreamed of entering—one I know I can always return to.


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see this post and others at the Princeton University Art Museum Student Advisory Board website



My Final Night in Neverland (Updated)


I was always the child who wanted to grow up—who dreamed of having boyfriends and SAT books, of walking through pristinely green Ivy League lawns, of looking important and wearing heels while taking on a bustling city. Hardly did I ever find time to slow down, as busy as I was with making small-time fame at my Orlando elementary school. Every spelling test, every art contest, every math equation existed to prepare me for the future that, I was convinced, shone brightly ahead of me. I tried to be a super-kid. But I was still a kid—one who cried out in happiness whenever my family went to Disney World on the weekends. There, I did not have to impress anyone, not even myself. There, it was as though the seconds I willed my clock to tick away suddenly stopped.

It was our last night ever at Disney. We were moving in a few months, to Virginia, away from Orlando. I was happy about it then—Virginia had better high schools. It saddens me to think about now, though.

The park extended its hours on certain days, and we decided to stay at the Magic Kingdom until it closed. I remember standing in line for my favorite ride, Peter Pan’s Flight, bathed underneath pink and blue and orange light that made everything in the night sparkle—my mom’s eyes, my sister’s tennis shoes, the princess pins on the rose-colored lanyard around my neck. It was ten-thirty, and hardly anyone else was waiting to hop on one of the big purple ships to Neverland. It was just us, and Peter Pan watching us with a twinkle in his smile from the sign above.

The cheery instrumental of “You Can Fly” played in high, carnival-sounding notes from above our heads. I filled in the lyrics in my mind:

“Think of all the joy you’ll find/When you leave the world behind”

To this day I still have dreams about waiting in that line—the sky a sleepy black outside, the lights dizzying and cotton-candy-colored inside, my head full of pixie dust and visions of my animated childhood crush flying to my window and taking me to a fantasy land.

We got in our ship and flew to Neverland. My belly went cold every time we dropped in chase of Peter’s wayward shadow, but seconds later the ship would soar again, up toward the sparkling artificial stars, leaving a gray and miniature-sized London further and further behind.

When I stepped back into the black night I wished I could return to the ride, zoom past the mermaid lagoon again, defeat Hook a second time, extend my hand out toward the red-rimmed volcano that had been just out of reach below me, the chill of the ride sweeping forward as though I actually were in a flying ship. But there were other places I wanted to go one last time.

We left the Magic Kingdom and took the monorail to the Grand Floridian hotel, a stately palace flooded with chandelier light and smelling of cleanliness and magic. I have always liked to imagine what it would be like to stay there—not just to visit its lobby and shops. Seeing the large, gold-handled doors that led to deluxe suites made me think of wealth, success—the things I wanted to have in my future. But we bypassed the inside of the hotel tonight.

We snuck into the concierge lounge and surreptitiously took the soda and desserts they were giving to hotel guests. With a Sprite and a beautiful mini fruit tart in my hands, I felt like I was truly a guest at the Grand Floridian. We walked out, past the gushing fountains, spray hitting my face and sparkling like crystals in the night. I could smell the magic in the water, as though each droplet had just been made by a fairy.

We reached the dock that extended over the lake facing the Magic Kingdom and sat with our legs dangling over the water below. There, we ate our pastries and drank our sodas while we watched the fireworks over Cinderella’s castle. Reds, greens, golds—bursting in the sky with the symmetry of snowflakes, the timing of a musical maestro. The lights reflected in my eyes, washed over my wonderstruck face.

“Think of all the joy you’ll find/When you leave the world behind”

With the fireworks show’s grand orchestral music still ringing in my ears, I followed my family onto the Friendship, a steamboat sitting in the lake in front of the hotel. The water was black under the night sky, save for the moon’s reflection, lapping lazily in the waves. The lights strung on the sides of the boat and hanging from the ceiling gave the vessel a dream-like glow. In my memories, it drifts though the lake just as peacefully as the pirate ship in Peter Pan drifted through the sky, taking Wendy back home to London. At the time, it was my transportation to the parking lot, where I would leave Disney World—my Neverland—for the very last time.

Since that night, I grew up as quickly as I had wished. My childhood slipped from between my fingers like a handful of pixie dust.  Never did I return to Disney; instead, I spent my weekends writing and pouring over homework and books. I still do. But if Peter Pan were to show up at my window in a big purple ship, his eyes gleaming and his hand outstretched, I wouldn’t hesitate to follow him back to Neverland.




Update: 3/5/2016

Turns out my final night in Neverland wasn’t my final night in Neverland.

I went back to Walt Disney World last August with my parents—a trip to let me feel my childhood once more before I left for Princeton. I was seventeen, but felt happier at the resort than I had when I was seven. Seeing Cinderella’s Castle before me still gave me a flicker of excitement. I wanted to ride all the rides—plus some that I had been too scared to before. I wanted to eat all the Mickey-shaped food items I could, to trade my old Disney pins for new, exciting ones—preferably of Peter Pan. There was not one day where I took my sparkly Minnie Mouse ears off my head.

It wouldn’t be too much of an exaggeration to say I was literally raised in Disney World. But it took going back to the resort as an (almost) adult to see how much of a mark it made on me. The little things brought back years’ worth of nostalgia—the signs that lead up to the parks, the clean smell of the water in the rides, the background music that had played over and over again in my dreams once I moved away. It’s hard to articulate, but going back to Disney stirred something within me. In the mornings, when I would lie down in a hammock underneath the palm trees and intensely blue Florida sky, knowing I had a full day of magic ahead of me brought me absolute bliss.

That summer I was propped up between the medals and cords I had worn at high school graduation and the black and orange that marked my next four years at Princeton. But I didn’t care about any of that. At Disney, I’ll always be the happy kid who just wants to catch a glimpse of Mickey Mouse before hopping into FastPass line for Jungle Cruise.

Oh, and I still think Peter Pan and I are meant to be.



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a voice as decadent as the final drops of life

before the ultimate goodbye

inflections in gold

chipping away


a cry

i need





a dream in which she floats to me

in a white dress that trails

across the dewy night-darkened grass

she holds my shaking hand

and leads me to my own mausoleum

angel, thank you for the






i don’t mind minding as you misbehave

and sticking a cigarette in the little dent

your tongue makes when you fold it up

into a clover

am i lucky or am i dead

your curls caught in my fingers

shiny shadow traps

for my ghosts





it wasn’t me who tried to kill you

you accept that so surely

it scares me

let’s sit and count lightning strikes

while our best friends who haunt us

and our spirits who lift us

wonder how a girl who fears purgatory

could fall in love with a murderer





you told me that when you first met me

you felt like a moth

because my eyes are the color of fire

i wonder if you still felt that way when you

watched me shoot my best friend

we’ve been everywhere together, you realize—

new orleans, new england,

the last judgement, the boarded-up bakery on the

corner of the street where i grew up

i’m dying now

and feeling again all your leaf-rustle breaths

against my fading



What Awaits



Jane St. Vince saw the ghost every Sunday. She would sit in the Princeton Battlefield, her bare calves tickled by the warm grass, her back cool against the marble colonnade she always leaned on. In her hands she cradled a book, the pages of which her long fingers turned gingerly as her eyes scanned the words in small print. Too often, she would look up and rest her gaze upon him—the ghost. He would be tucked away in the shadows, behind a column at the opposite end of the colonnade. She saw him like one saw a fading dream in their head—with a blurry sort of beauty you feared would disappear if you looked away.

Edgar Briar—as she would later come to know was the ghost’s name—sat like a statue, like an extension of the marble memorial around him. He set his chin upon his fist, and his elbow upon his knee, and stared out into the road with scrunched eyes Jane St. Vince imagined were once sharp, piercingly dark. His mouth was fixed into a sad frown. The wool brown coat of his military uniform, dating back to the Revolutionary War, was battered and unbuttoned; a dishearteningly dark stain spread on the cotton shirt underneath, on the left side of his chest, near his heart. His hat sat in tatters at his feet.

Edgar Briar had been an American soldier in the Battle of Princeton. Jane St. Vince was a graduate student in History at Princeton University.

One Sunday morning, as spring gradually sweltered into summer, Jane St. Vince realized she was remarkably excited to go to the Princeton Battlefield—an excitement that had nothing to do with the thick history textbook she would read there, or with the delicate April blooms she would feel underneath her fingers. What she was doing, or where she was, hardly mattered. No, it was what was before her eyes. The wonder of someone so intangible, of a clear tragedy that trickled down into her chilled bones. Jane St. Vince’s heart fluttered for a man who wasn’t truly there.

It was on this day that she stayed in the battlefield until the sun set—half reading her course book, A Colony of Citizens, half memorizing the hazy angles of Edgar Briar’s face. He did not acknowledge her presence in any way; he only gazed into the lush green in the distance. As the sky slowly darkened, and Jane St. Vince had to strain her eyes to read, he remained there still—staring off at the shadows, his face growing more contemplative. More sad. Jane St. Vince’s heart sunk at the thought of leaving him once night fell.

But the stars blinked into shaky existence despite her wishes. She resignedly slid her book into her JanSport backpack, smoothed her skirt, and left.

As she walked along Mercer Street, she found her thoughts drifting back to Edgar Briar. She wondered what would happen if she touched his face. She imagined her fingers slipping past his immaterial cheek as if he were made of air. Would it feel like ice? Would it feel like nothing?

She wrapped her arms around herself. Suddenly she felt cold. For no real reason other than instinct, she turned her head back. There, outlined by the yellow-orange light of a lamppost, was the ghost Edgar Briar, following Jane St. Vince home.

A soft gasp escaped her lips, although it was not fear she felt. Rather—the unexpected pleasure of seeing him outside of her head.

He regarded her with an unsaid question in his black eyes. Can I continue to haunt you? Jane St. Vince gave a little nod—I’m not scared of ghosts. She wanted to walk beside him, to watch the way his translucent form rippled into sight under every street lamp. But she didn’t want to spook him. Instead she turned around and continued walking toward the Princeton Graduate College on the shadowy, empty road. It was just she and Edgar Briar, whom she could not see, but felt acutely.

Soon the mass of Gothic stone buildings that marked the college became discernable. As they approached nearer, Jane St. Vince could pick out the rows of chimneys and the lit up bay windows; the pointed archways and the ivy crawling up the walls. The occasional turret made a gentle attempt to shoot up toward the sky, but none did so on the scale of the Cleveland Tower, which rose up dramatically toward the heavens with tapering spires that nearly dared to touch God.

When she looked back to make sure Edgar Briar was still there, she noticed he looked more in place in their surroundings than she, with his breeches and turned-up hat and his musket in his hands. She pictured him, weapon at the ready, running into Nassau Hall, where the British cowered from the American army before surrendering. She wondered how he had died in battle.

They walked through an arch and entered an outdoor corridor surrounding a darkened courtyard. Jane St. Vince’s dorm was through one of the heavy wooden doors here; she pushed it open and took the staircase up to room 202, where she lived alone and generally kept things neat, other than the multitude of books strewn upon her floor.

As she stood in front of the entrance to her room, she knew Edgar Briar was closely behind her—if he were alive, perhaps she would feel his breath upon her shoulder. She closed her eyes and pulled on the doorknob, uncertain of what was coming next. This was the first time she had invited a ghost to her room.

Edgar Briar followed her inside, seeming mildly confused by her furnishings but mostly tired. He set his musket down and sat with his legs crossed upon her floor. Jane St. Vince doubted ghosts could sleep, but he looked like he needed two hundred fifty years of rest after nearly that many years of haunting the earth. She gestured for him to lie down beside her in bed.

At first he looked hesitant, but after a few seconds she was pulling the covers over the pair of them. The fabric instantly fell through Edgar Briar’s form. This made him frown a little. He shifted his body an inch closer to her.

The two of them did not speak, did not move except for when she tentatively reached out and touched his cheek. It wasn’t cold, but it felt like nothing. Or perhaps like air that had a bit of electricity running through it.

Outside, an owl hooted. The laughter of graduate students rang in softly from time to time through the open window. And there, in room 202, beside the awake yet tranquil body of Jane St. Vince, a ghost closed his colorless eyes and slept for the first time.


The next Sunday, Edgar Briar silently followed her home again. He began to appear in her room nightly after that. It surprised her at first, to see him lying in her bed on a Monday. She wondered if he had walked through her wall or somehow just materialized. But quickly it felt natural, having him there. At the end of each day she longed to return to her room, to see Edgar Briar in his beautiful translucence, to lie down beside his immaterial body upon her bed.

She had loved him since the curious instant she saw him on the battlefield. But she had not noticed her own sentiment—he was, after all, a ghost. Now, there was no way of denying the way she felt.

Jane St. Vince was in love with Edgar Briar.

One day she asked the question that had been lingering in her mind: “What is your name?” The words felt odd floating around the pair of them—they, who were so silent with each other, who used their tense proximity to communicate instead.

His voice was low, yet hoarse and wispy, as though it were coming from somewhere beyond his throat. “Edgar Briar.” He cleared his throat. “And yours?”

“Jane St. Vince.”

Tears began to well in his eyes. “That was the first time I’ve ever spoken—since… the end.”

Gently she held her hand just above his cheek. Not being able to touch him frustrated her—she wanted her fingers to feel something other than air. He looked at her with wet eyes, and there she saw a softening—a deep-rooted sentiment she had only glimpsed flickers of before.

His shimmering tears vanished as soon as they fell from his face. He brought his ghostly hand up to hers.

“Do not look at me with such sorrow. What awaits me, Jane, does not await you. You will not have to live this drawn-out fate that God has chosen for me. You will not leave this life before your time, wanting for something you departed too young to achieve. No, you will die old, and satisfied.”

Here she drew a shaky breath—she, too, had begun to cry. “How could I ever die satisfied if that means I would have to leave you?”

He looked pained. “Because I would leave you before you left me,” he said, glancing away. His face had become as thoughtful and sad as it had been in the Princeton Battlefield. “The prospect of a life unlived will not haunt you. You will find love—normal, mortal love. You will find fulfillment, even if that means I must get away from you.”

A little, hurt whimper escaped Jane St. Vince’s lips. “What are you talking about? What we have is strange, beautiful. I would want for you endlessly if you were to go away.”

Edgar Briar shook his head. “I am merely a ghost. You would forget me with ease. And my cursed fate does not await you. Is that not far more beautiful?”

Jane St. Vince imagined what it would be like to be a ghost. Would she be able to touch him? Could her hand lock with his?—when night fell, and they ran together through a dark, lush grove until the end of time.

She was not afraid of ghosts. She was afraid of an eternity without one.


The Cleveland Tower was most breathtaking in late afternoon, when the sun’s slanting rays made glorious the warm brown stone of the surrounding university, the emerald green of the golf course facing the Graduate College and the leaves of the summer trees.

It was here, at the very top, that Jane St. Vince stood, feeling the light May wind tousle her shoulder-length hair. The dizzying height to which she had climbed did not faze her. In fact, she pictured herself taking flight and remaining suspended there, in the clear blue sky until it deepened purple, then to the black of night. She wondered if she would feel weightless, like Edgar Briar must feel as a ghost.

Jane St. Vince had always been in the habit of imagining these things. One thing she could not imagine, however, was heaven. Was it a gilded land in the clouds, where everything you wanted to happen happened as long as God gave His seal of approval? Or was it a vast field you followed Jesus around? She could not see the appeal of entering the gates of heaven if she could not enter with Edgar Briar—cast away to earth for all eternity.

It was perhaps more comforting to think that when you died, all went black. For at least that way, when her wrinkly corpse was in a box under the ground, she wouldn’t be cognizant of her being forever separated from him.

But she thought of leaving him behind—of his ghost roaming the world aimlessly, alone. And she thought of him leaving her behind, so she could grow old and resign herself to satisfaction.

She leaned forward, against the intricate stone wall that stood between the sky-reaching spires. She fancied she could see the rippling form of Edgar Briar below her, on a bench overlooking the rolling hills of the green that stretched out to Forbes College.

The tower on which she stood was one hundred seventy three feet tall. There were an infinite number of moments in which she would have to be without Edgar Briar if one of them let the other go.

One hundred seventy three was far less daunting than infinity.

♦                  ♦                 ♦

Whispers tell that, if you look carefully, you can see the ghosts of Edgar Briar and Jane St. Vince on Sunday afternoons, on the Princeton Battlefield. They sit upon the marble colonnade—he, leaning against a marble column and looking down fondly at her. She, lying in his lap while she holds open a history textbook above her head. His tattered, eighteenth century hat sits on her white Keds. The dark stain over his heart has dried.