…but so is the beginning? Usually there’s a period there, to soften the blow of such a shallow nicety. An exclamation point is even easier to swallow: something’s ending but something else is beginning! (The assumption, of course, is that this “beginning” can match, or be even better than the ending).
I don’t want to move on to new beginnings just yet. I don’t want to mix excitement with sorrow. I don’t want to confuse anticipation with reflection. I want to have this moment–this Thursday afternoon–as a place where I can be who I am now, and who I once was. I don’t want to be future Connelly today. I don’t want to see my potential or plan for success. I want to be my futon, and PBR, and college. Don’t force “graduate” on me just yet.
Today I picked up my cap and gown. Thousands of people do it. It’s just a thing–go to the bookstore, tell them your height and your school. Leave. Go to your next class, go to the gym, go to your internship. Get it and go. My roommates and I didn’t want to just leave after we’d picked up our caps and gowns. We didn’t want to just go. We planned our pick up time, so that we could all go together. In Georgia’s car we blasted music. We used her “nice camera” to take pictures in the parking garage. Emma refused to put her gown on–bad luck or something. “Say yes to the gown!” we exclaimed as we twirled, made serious faces, threw our caps in the air. We stayed, for a few minutes, in the parking garage. Because when you go, you’re gone.
I don’t want to be gone. I want to stay in that parking garage for a few moments longer. When Georgia and I got home we played more loud music, opened our windows and doors, and took more pictures in our caps and gowns (fortunately Emma wasn’t there to cringe at all the bad luck we were shedding on the grass, the dried out shrubs, even the roof–props to Georgia for those shots).
“Well, what do we do now?” Georgia asked as we walked back into our living room. I hung up my gown, placed my cap on my dresser. What do we do now? We have a few more months before we have to put those pieces of the end back on. I’d rather not try to fathom any kinds of beginnings. So this is what I do–I record. I put this moment into words, so that I may linger in it just a little bit longer. Georgia edits the pictures. We have these words and images as a reminder of who we were on a Thursday afternoon. And for now, let’s leave it at that.