I have been replaced. This is finally beginning to sink in. As I write in the lobby of the Zondervan library, I watch as tour group after tour group of freshmen files past. These shelves and books are theirs now. The DC food is mine to gormandize no longer. My dorm room in Gerig will be someone else’s in less than a week, with its broken desk lamp, scuffed tile floor, and frumpy mattress.
And I realize now that I am not coming back.
You can fool yourself for a summer; tell yourself that it is just another break, that in three months you’ll be sitting in classes, hanging out with friends, pulling all-nighters to finish eight-page papers…that everything will be normal soon. But as summer ends, the illusion fades. Normal is different. Normal is strange. Normal is new.
I’m living in the moment after changing speeds on a bicycle. The gears rumble and jangle and the chain threatens to leap off…and in a moment, it will find its stride, adjust to the new rhythm, and I will ride on as if nothing happened. But right now, I see the transition in full.
I wish I’d taken more pictures. I can only hope that my mental photographs do not fade with too much exposure to the sunlight. Still, if they fade, then they fade. The past is a nice place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there.
With apologies to Margaret Wise Brown,
Goodnight, Taylor University. Thank you for the hours of classes, which I did not truly appreciate at the time.
Goodnight, Gerig Hall. Thank you for the hours spent with friends. I will miss your twisting stairwells for their character, though not for the climb.
Goodnight, friends. Co-eds, coworkers, co-stars and cohorts. It’s been four excellent long and short years. I will see many of you again soon, friends now by choice, and not merely by circumstance.
Goodnight, baby steps and helping hands. Goodnight, gummy bears and picture books. Goodnight, homework and video games. Goodnight, stars. Goodnight, air. Goodnight, noises everywhere.
It’s been a wonderful childhood, but it’s time to grow up.