I made it through finals! I’ve been reading so much about the benefits of oxygenating the system before mental concentration, so I went for a long run before the first exam.
I think it helped–I mean, I’m sure it did! I cruised through each test.
But by the end of the last final, I was bushed.
Then I got a text from Shannon, saying she was throwing a party and would I come?
Of course I’d come! I know Shannon doesn’t do goodbyes–or graduation ceremonies–so this would probably be the last time I’d see her. Of course I’ll be there!
I was so excited to see her that I forgot all about being sleepy while I rode my bike up the hill to her place.
When I arrived, I took a moment for all of it–the snow, the cold air, the feelings of anticipation, success, excitement, and tiredness, all swirling around. I’m a writer, I remembered. I may have just earned my phys ed degree, but I’m a writer! And every book I’ve ever loved has been made of moments like these.
Maybe these moments are what make a life. We store them inside of us, sensing their significance. Or maybe, compared to other moments, they really aren’t significant at all–and it’s only us, in our endless quest to make our existence mean something, who separate moments like this.
As I breathed the frozen air, I let the cold freeze this moment: I’d remember this and stick it in a book sometime.
I found Shannon alone in the kitchen.
She looked like she felt cornered.
“I’ve got to check on something,” she said.
I know how she feels about goodbyes. She doesn’t do them. I wouldn’t trap her.
I was so sleepy that I found the loveseat in the library. No one was there, and the lights were off. I shut my eyes. I could hear Shannon’s guitar from the other room, and I fell asleep to her music.
When I woke, she was playing something Classical, something by Granata, maybe.
I listened to her until after midnight. The roads were frozen, I was sleepy. I didn’t want to ride back to the dorm. I wanted to stay, spend my last night under the same roof as Shannon.
When I asked her if I could stay, she replied, “Sure! We’ve got extra sleeping bags in the closet under the stairs! Find a spot on the floor, and knock yourself out!”
No one was in the kitchen. I washed the dishes and spread out the sleeping bag on the linoleum. Shannon kept playing her music long after I fell asleep.
I woke in the silence before dawn. I rolled up the sleeping bag, stuffed it back in the closet, and headed out to grab my bike.
The strains from a Corelli sonata greeted me.
Shannon stood in the snow, playing. I listened and watched, from a distance. I knew she’d stop if she saw me.
She’d turn and head inside. She doesn’t do goodbyes. And this goodbye isn’t an ordinary one.
If we were to do this goodbye, chances are it would be the final one.
Let’s skip it. I realized she was onto something. We’d already shared forever. Why bother with a goodbye? It would only interrupt eternity.
I took a last look. I tucked this moment so deep inside of me, not even sharing it in this private letter can dislodge it.