Nine years ago.
It was a raw, grey and chilly day when our alarms signaled the start of our very last morning on that campus. The campus that had loved us and nurtured us for four years. The campus where we grew up into different versions of ourselves than we were on that sticky-hot August day when it all began. We knew we were better versions of ourselves because we knew each other now and we didn't then. And better in other ways too, we hoped.
We got dressed, not daring to look each other straight in the eye for fear that the tears hovering just below the surface all weekend would once again spill over, ruining painstakingly applied makeup. These were the kinds of tears that overpowered even the most waterproof mascara. The kind that once started, would never stop.
That we were mostly all moving to Manhattan at various points over the summer didn't matter. Once there, everything would be different. Some of us would have jobs, and some of us would be in graduate school. Some of us would live together, but some of us wouldn't. The days of classes and cafeteria meals all together were mostly over. Manhattan may be a tiny island, but on that particular day, it was feeling pretty big to all of us.
When the time came we said goodbye and headed to our separate department graduations. We walked across small stages and smiled for the cameras our parents couldn't seem to put down and accepted the diplomas that were a testament to four years of hard work and classes and studying, but also to friendship, fun, and unbreakable bonds.
And then we all gathered back together to line up to march into the gym full the real ceremony. We lined up and held hands and started to walk as the first strains of Pomp and Circumstance filled the air. And we sat down in the rows and rows of chairs and half-listened to a speaker that I'm sure none of us could name today.
And when the speaker was finished and the university president pronounced us the class of 2005 the balloons began to fall.
And through the sea sea of blue and white we smiled shaky smiles at each other, wishing for just a few more years, two or three at the most, on the campus that had become our home. That had given us each other.
Today, nine years sometimes feels like nine minutes, and sometimes feels like nineteen years. We are different people now than we were on that happy-sad day. We have careers and houses and husbands and kids and we leading lives we never could have anticipated or hoped for.
But lucky for us, we are still doing it all together.
|Nine years later. Still together.|