Thursday night. Last night in the dorm, last night living the school life I’ve grown so accustomed to. Many things will be the same in August, when school begins again in
three short months. Mar and The Jen will still be two doors down, The Neighbor still between us. The four lovelies at the end of the hall, Nelle still in the middle. Things will be different, too. The Roommate’s an RA now. Two floors down is not far, but it’s not my room. New roommate, new floormates. New faces, new hearts, new stories. New sisters.
The last night of the school year should be memories, reminiscing, cherishing, we say to each other. But instead, the hallway is lined with boxes and doors slam shut as we rush up and down the crowded hall: it’s Room Check Night. Leaving tomorrow? Room must be spotless tonight. Packed, cleaned, as if you never lived there. But we did live there, and I paid $10 for the chipped paint above my bed, Mar another $10 for the unidentified black spot on her carpet.
10pm, Room Check Time, ticks closer. I throw extra bits of garbage into the near-bursting bag in Mar and Jen’s room. The Neighbor, pushing box after box into the hallway, calls my name. We work together to seal her storage bins: I sit on them, fighting to keep lids down, she work fast, hurriedly taping them closed, both of us praying that they stay shut.
Even at 11pm, when cleaning checklists have been completed and fines have been doled out, still we work. Boxes downstairs, garbage to the dumpster. Then it’s midnight and this last night, four of us sleep in the hallway-end room, on beds, on the floor, on cushions pulled from the lounge couch. Friday morning, I wake up to three alarms, none of them mine. We start awake, then sleep again through Mar’s, then Jen’s. Ellie Rose has the Newsboys as her alarm, and I jump awake, and stay awake this time.
Enthusiastic wake-up call aside, Friday morning feels funny, sluggish almost. I shower, with a borrowed towel because mine’s already at home, and then ride the elevator down to street-level. Yesterday, the elevator was slow, full. It’ll be busy later, too, but this morning, I ride by myself. Outside, the air’s beginning to feel warm, and a man in a flooring company truck yells good morning to me as I wait to cross the street. I’m tired, yet content, and I wave, smile, as the truck drives past.
There is more, of course. Friday afternoon, barely 24 hours after my last final, finds me curled up on a Megabus, off to Michigan for my first adventure of Summer 2013. I’ll tell you about that sometime, I’m sure. Before that, though, there are goodbyes, see you laters, hugs. We stand, four of us, in the hallway, suitcases and bags all around. We are quick, short even, maybe. We’ll see each other in August, we say. We’ll be in touch, we wave our phones at each other meaningfully, smile.
And the school year ends. Slowly, but suddenly. And the classes are no more, even though I find myself, often, thinking back to assignments due, project completed. I begin to remind myself, make a mental note, only to remember that there is no homework right now. I’ve thought, today, that the school life feels like the normal life. Classes, homework in the afternoon, open doors, calling for friends up and down the hall. That’s the life that feels settled, routine, normal.
But the school year’s over, and I’m home now. I’m not unhappy to be here, not discontent. But it’s different, really, and sometimes, I’m not sure what to do, what is my purpose, my rhythm, my routine here at home this summer. I don’t know exactly what I’ll do, where I’ll be, who I’ll be with, talk to, befriend. But a summer is a big thing and God’s even bigger; this summer can only be good.