(I’ve been listening to this song since I was fourteen years old.
I finally learned how to follow instructions.)
I’m sitting in my little sister’s dorm room right now. It’s an easy place to kick up my feet.
I went to this school, too, four years ago. I lived in a nearly identical room, with nearly identical white walls, and… if you told me that I was the one that put that long scratch into the speckled linoleum floor, I could tell you the story of the daring day that I bent the world to my will and slid all the way across the room on a chair that was never meant to slide. This place is familiar. This place is comfortable. This place built me, I built it, and it seems alive enough to call a very old friend.
It is a strange first stop on my way across the country. I don’t yet feel like I have left home.
I know I’m not going to be wandering back down the street I’ve lived on for fifteen years for some unknown number of months or years, but it’s a detached sort of knowing. I know I hugged my brother good-bye last night, and my mother and sister good-bye this morning, and it’s an ache that I can’t quite weigh.
I know that I have left things behind, and that I’m about to step into something very unknown, but it’s not tangible. I can’t taste it on my tongue, and if this is new air I’m breathing, then it seems to fit my lungs the same way the last breath did. I can’t point out the differences.
I saw my old Greek professor today. I passed her on my way to the library, and she was about to head home after a long day’s work. It might have been any day of my senior year. We smiled at each other, stopped and talked. She spoke with the same measured passion about rare languages and the pleasant bleed of ancient thought into modern literature. I talked about classes, and some wild, reckless hopes for the future.
“You haven’t aged a day,” she told me.
I think it’s the first time I’ve heard that said outside of a book, but the surreal nature of it seemed right, standing in a moment that I couldn’t pin down to a specific year.
And I believed her: nothing’s changed.
Yet. I only stepped away from home this morning.