"The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible." -Vladimir Nobokov

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Quote of the Day: Departure

Today was my last day of classes as a college freshman. No matter how many times I say that to myself it still doesn't seem real. So much of my week has been taken up by the weight of everything I have to do before I leave (turn in my last few assignments, study for finals, do laundry, pack), that I haven't had time to think about what it means. Leaving for the summer. Moving out of my dorm room. And then I discovered this quote:

"Packing up. The nagging worry of departure. Lost keys, unwritten labels, tissue paper lying on the floor. I hate it all. Even now, when I have done so much of it, when I live, as the saying goes, in my boxes. Even today, when shutting drawers and flinging wide a hotel wardrobe or the impersonal shelves of a furnished villa is a methodical matter of routine, I am aware of sadness, of a sense of loss. Here, I say, we have lived. We have been happy. This has been ours, however brief the time. Two nights only have been spent beneath a roof, yet we leave something of ourselves behind. Nothing material, not a hair pin on a dressing table, not an empty bottle of aspirin tablets, not a handkerchief beneath a pillow, but something indefinable, a moment of our lives, a thought, a mood. This house sheltered us. We spoke, we loved within these walls. That was yesterday. Today we pass on, we see it no more, and we are different, changed in some infinitesimal way. We can never be quite the same again." - Dauphne du Maurier, Rebecca

To me, this quote captures everything I've been feeling and then some. You might think it silly to mourn leaving a place that I know I'll be returning to in three months, but live for two semesters in the confines of a dorm room, and it becomes a home. Of course that's not to say I'm not excited about my living arrangements for next year, but I've grown accustomed to the slamming of the front door to my residence hall (my room is the first door when you enter), and the view outside my window, and the random bits of paraphernalia I have pinned to my cork board. So there is a sadness in the fact that a few days from now, among the chaos that is finals week, I will also be slowly disassembling my room: getting rid of papers, cleaning out drawers, rolling up the rug that I so clearly remember picking out at Ikea last August.
There is something mutable, too, about a dorm room. There will always be the knowledge that it has been inhabited by so many college students before you, and so many more to come. Somewhere out there there are people, probably even a few on this campus, who have their own memories of my dorm room. I think that's why I love the idea of a place's ability to capture "a moment of our lives, a thought, a mood." When I leave this room, I will be leaving behind pieces of freshman year. A year of firsts, and friend-making, and movie-watching. And next year, this room will be a clean slate, its walls bare for someone else to pin their memories to.

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