To a bittersweet graduation

Bryant Loney tucollegian | Collegian

College, where weekends are too short for sleep, and sleep is the only thing I stay awake for. College, where life happens so fast — and by the time you feel settled, they ask you to leave.

Well. I won’t miss the class discussions. The exams and the essays and waiting anxiously for the instructor to grade them and the worrying and attaching my sense of worth to whatever they thought. I won’t miss falling asleep at five in the afternoon and then waking up at midnight to read and study and eat nothing but baby carrots and hummus for a week straight. And I won’t miss the professor spending the hour lecturing over pages five and six of the book’s preface that wasn’t even written by the author. Words are just words.

However, I will miss the look on Hannah’s face when she successfully hosted her first college party. The scripts we wrote. Scribbled thoughts. When I was late to class because a sorority girl tried to get me to join her charity Zumbathon. Kept calling me John. I think she was drunk.

I’ll miss sneaking around the water treatment plant and wondering when we’d be murdered. Taking a shot whenever the art history prof mentioned Crystal Bridges. Ranting about No Child Left Behind and men’s bathroom etiquette on more than one occasion. Ice skating. Homecoming. Snow angels. Netflix marathons and Candyland naivete. How love manifests.

Ireland with Diane and her car, Iceland with Jess and the black lava fields, the pink skies. New Year’s Eve with the high school friends and Nick’s mom asking if champagne expires. Catching up with Carlos and finally having good news to report. Reading Raymond Carver for the first time, the neon of the city, those years of self-discovery.

Or when I asked her on a date and heard that enthusiastic yes. The date itself — the one with the dead spider in my hair and the horrified expression on the waiter’s face. Miniature golf and dancing. Wet with sprinkler dew. Mint chocolate chip. When she kept her Converse on.

Capture the flag in front of the library with the boys at one in the morning. Dinner with the visiting author and her family before the reading. Selfies. Bonfires. Concerts. Weddings. Complimenting her so effortlessly. Romantic idealism. Watching “500 Days of Summer” from Summer’s perspective — wait, no, that never happened.

Sleepy English majors. Grey Goose with pineapple juice. Sangria by the rooftop pool. The idea of soulmates, when we could fantasize about everything. Sensation, flirtation, narration: wine nights, cooking nights, cab lights, by night, by mistake. Writers bound by sentimental braids. Brown eyes. Orange sunsets. Sexy Halloween.

Goodbye to the roommate who wore the same four pairs of boat shoes even though the state is landlocked. Goodbye to the girl with the answers, in a floral dress and wedges. This was January, at a house party. She and I spent half an hour talking about Emily Dickinson and feminism before her friends pulled her away. Never got her name.

And the country, angry as ever, beat on while we stayed put. Bless their rampaging wild hearts. I didn’t take photos. All in the letter, imperfect but true. Yes. In this mundanity, we find epiphany.

Post Author: Bryant Loney