Written by: Kelly Chia, Staff Writer
I sighed, placing a stick of scholastic burnout between my teeth and taking a long drag.
I had come a long way from the academic ingenue I used to be. She would scoff at my numbness. I may be the best detective in my field, but as an academic, I find myself unable to process anything longer than 200 words at a time. And yet, some small part of her must be beating in me, urging me to pick up this report again.
The case was the definition of hopeless; it was only a few months old, yet it had already been deemed unsolvable. I scrutinized the profile: the girl on the file was me. Her picture showed a smile so bright that it seared. I held the report and read the familiar bold text: #500, “The Fucks I Gave.”
I cursed under my breath in my cold, concrete crime-solving room. Where indeed my Fucks went, I only wish I knew.
I paced, nervous and insistent. My designated crime-solving room, the fifth floor of the Bennett Library, was quiet, perfect for my moods. Equally broody students leaning over textbooks judged my pacing as I clutched the report. I told myself that they just could not comprehend how one girl could lose all of her Fucks.
The case report stated that my will to live went missing at 4 a.m, on a cold Sunday morning. The location it was last spotted in? My own bedroom.
I’ve played over the memory a thousand times. I had burst into the room that evening in a cold sweat, but I was too late. The Fucks were gone. The scene of the crime was a disarray of strewn sweaters and empty teacups. I feverishly tossed book after book onto the floor, searching in my closet, under my bed, anywhere.
I couldn’t even bring myself to care about the midterm I had the next morning.
I remember how it used to be when I was in possession of Fucks to give — I was a somewhat mentally stable student in their first semester. I fondly recalled how I colour-coded my notes, and planned out my outfits… But it was no use. Those Fucks were gone.
Right before they went missing, my Fucks were what kept me going during hard times where I thought I couldn’t write another page in my paper. My Fucks were with me when I tore through those first 20 pages of my readings, only to realize I had 40 more to read. Even then, it wasn’t until I calculated my GPA after the mark I was hoping to get that it completely ghosted me. I felt the emptiness bore in me now as it did then: how on earth would I possibly give a Fuck ever again?
I tried to talk to people about it while we lamented our lack of motivation, but they were ultimately too invested in their Fucks to care about mine. Some said that my Fucks had drifted off down the mountain, melting with the February snow. Others speculated that the self-deprecating language I had seen my fellow students adopt as a coping mechanism had scared my Fucks into accepting mediocrity.
I gulp down another London Fog, the bergamot burned. I held the file tightly because for the first time in months, I had received a promising tip that could clue me to my Fucks’ location: the reality check of the Fall term. I had heard from the anonymous tipper that there was a particularly stern TA that would brush me up to shape. I can only hope that it will be there that I find my Fucks.