The “last” anything is such a strange moment that I never know how to navigate properly. You know you’re supposed to feel some sort of sentimental closure, a sort of emotional exhale; something that signifies the end within you. But in the moment it’s simply a continuation of something that by its nature is the same, another basic iteration of the same routine. It never feels real to me in the moment. In the same way that I get really sad the night before I have to say a hard goodbye, I see the end of things and places both before and after they occur, but never in the present (except on a few rare occasions that are burned into my memory). I don’t think the end of this term will hit me until:
-My family is asking me to show them around London and we pass by LAMDA like tourists.
-I’m back at Gordon and someone asks me “how my semester abroad was” as I walk to class or make them a drink at Chester’s, as if nothing is different.
-I’ll reference an inside joke that only someone who’s lived in Ravenscourt, or had Robert direct them, or been to Spoons, would know, and no one around me has a clue.
(Let me take a moment here to say that this still isn’t the end for me, at least in terms of writing. This isn’t the Goodbye England post. I still have much more to say about all that LAMDA has taught me so far. This is just my thoughts on the fact that I should have more thoughts. Right?)
Tonight was the school-wide Christmas party. I danced with old friends and new, and had great conversations and it was lovely. By all accounts, just another grand shindig with the same swell pals. Then the music stopped, people grabbed their coats and hugged each other (more than usual, of course), and we vaguely scattered into the “cold winter’s night” (a reference to our BOMB carol we performed earlier this evening). Nothing was different, but I had to keep reminding myself that I would never see some of these people again.
As we skipped home through the frosty, lamplit alleys that have become so familiar that we can feel our way home- even in the dark- without thinking, it felt like just another Friday night. We were laughing, and eating handfuls of cold french fries, like always.
But suddenly, it didn’t. All the windows looked darker. The streets seemed emptier than usual. Our shouts of laughter echoed starkly off the buildings, and I felt as if we were the only people left on earth. The rest had gone, and we were meant to be gone with them. But instead we had clung to each other and this our faraway home, in some last glorious act of rebellion. We were still here, in spite of some mysterious outside force. It was lonely and secretive and freeing. Suddenly our shouts seemed empty and too loud, as if the harder we laughed, the easier it would be to push back the deep current of sadness flowing through all of us.
We felt it. But nobody was saying it. I didn’t feel like pretending, but to truly stand in front of each other and face the end of this little life together felt impossible too.
So maybe that’s why I want to hide. Because I can’t do either. Nothing feels right, or enough. I don’t feel finished.
See you later, I guess.