In about two hours I will physically be an ex-Techer.
For the last time I will hear the buzzing grass trimmers and see the hallowed halls of Lloyd House. (I never did get to paint that mural, but I suppose if current Lloydies wanted to do the hieroglyphics themselves or change the idea completely I wouldn’t mind. I’m an ex-Lloydie, after all, and ex-anythings usually don’t have a right to dictate what to do. The yellow wall , though, seems appropriate somehow–the very basics of the basics, yet unfinished.) Today is the last day of last days where I see students hunkered down on computers playing the latest game or the Southern California sun spilling down through the line of olive trees. It’s the last of many things.
Yet I don’t feel sad.
Perhaps I’ll feel fonder of the past four years the further I’m away from them. At the moment, I’m not sure how I feel. It’s all a muddle of ambiguous impressions that are so intertwinned and mixed that I can’t sort them out at all. When I say, I don’t know, I don’t mean that I’m apathetic or that I can’t make up my mind. I just need distance and time to stop me from thinking of what could have been.
As for what will be, I’m excited and nervous. Scared. Don’t let anyone tell you that chosing a path at the crossroads of their life is a piece of cake. It’s hard to be sure and confident once the path is chosen. It’s not that I regret saying, “This is what I want to do” or even “This is what I’m probably going to do,” but it’s terrifying to realize that the course has been already plotted through the desert and there’s no more leeway, at least for the next couple hundred miles.
It feels like it was just yesterday that I checked into Caltech at the housing office, the gruff woman at the desk slapping a tiny envelope into my hand that contained a room key. And when I opened the door to the room, I had realized that my very first roommate was a disaster–underwear and clothes draped everywhere, pots and pans on bookshelves, and the books on the floor–and when I was heading in to attempt to clear a space for myself, she was heading out with her new friends to buy $200 worth of make-up at Macy’s.
And now, my last roommate has headed off to boot camp before she enrolls in a military medical school in Maryland. The rest of my friends have mostly scattered, some staying in California, others also heading out east. No one in between though (making me wonder if middle America even exists). If anything, living in SoCal has made me realize that I could never be truly happy here. It’s not my irrational dislike for palm trees or the weather or the insane working conditions. When I first arrived, I thought I could fit. But it’s only been a “sort of.” I can wear the sparkly silver shirt if you asked me, but it wouldn’t be me.
My singular piece of luggage is impossibly heavy. I’ve packed too many things. But I’m going. Going. Gone.