Friday, December 21, 2007

The Real World

I'm cleaning out the overflowing canvas bag of things that used to belong in my school locker and I'm sad.
I've left the bag sitting in the corner of my room for over a month, delaying this eventual sorting and discarding of the last two years of my life, and now that it's being done I can't help but feel overwhelmed by this familiar, lonely feeling of loss and mourning. It hadn't affected me that much up till now - my leaving the course - not in such an absolute and final way. The day I cleared out my locker I walked through the school on my own, for what I knew was the last time, and allowed myself to indulge in some melancholy sentimentality. But it wasn't a new feeling. I'd felt it before, at the end of my first year, and also during the last few months of second year in preparation for the inevitable; I wanted to spread out the sadness.
But this is different. This is just me and my stuff and a low ache of regret; for my decision to leave and then my decision to stick to this decision while others are fighting to stay.
Have I done the right thing? I know I have, 100%, but I'm the one who cried every year when the annual 24hr Appealathon fundraiser ended on TV, or when I’d finished a novel, or when a long-running sitcom aired its final episode. I'm a sentimental, maudlin kind of person (although I try to hide it), and I'm simply not equipped for coping with endings and goodbyes.
So now all that’s left at the bottom of my oversized camping bag are a bottle of witch hazel, deodorant, a Beethoven CD borrowed from a classmate for Abstracting, a red square of towel from a first-term face washing ceremony, and some salt sachets. And as I look at these things, leaning on the edge of my bed with my cat and puppy for company, I realise it’s not the institution, or the building, or the curios I will miss, but the 28 or so people I shared it with, day to day, for over 45 hours a week.
And I don’t feel quite as sad anymore. Because they’re still available to me, I hope, and whether I had two or three years of stuff to unpack, the feeling of loss at losing my connection to those people in that context would probably be exactly the same.

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