The world is graduating. Albums of pictures flood my walls of gowned, smiling former classmates, that one person I did a group project with sophomore year. Each of their heads boasting a traditional cap, as though it is anything but conventional, but rather extraordinary like a crown. Shouldn’t we feel like queens and kings? Even if only for a day where we forget how many times we’ve slammed books closed, cried over index cards, and founds ourselves mixing Kahlua with coffee to get through those before eleven classes. My world is a flurry of cap and gowns, of congrats, and the unfortunate: I’m going to miss you.
I wonder if the he girl at the coffee shop who is bouncing around; proud of her graduation, ever slammed a book closed in frustration. Did the young guy carrying the boxes up flights of stairs to his first apartment ever sit on the stairs out front of the library with a cigarette between his lips and wonder what’s next, what’s after college.
My best friend grabbed a pillow from my bed the day I was moving out and held it to her chest. She buried her head into it, hiding her eyes, as they grew pink, then red with tears. In that moment I’d write a hundred more essays, take every test again, if that meant more time with her. If only my friend’s hug was as steely as she had hopped it could have kept me prisoner for a few more days.
In the seven days since I left the campus I called home for years I’ve never been more thankful for technology. I’ve left a job after only working one day, and by a miracle found another. I’ve cried into my pillow in my studio apartment to the sounds of downtown. To the church bells ding, ding, ding, dinging to every new hour.
In seven more days will it still feel as though the world is graduating? Or will I be the only one letting nostalgia whisper into my ear.