Just Here Remembering

I’ve been here for awhile. Sitting on my bed, the lumpy purple throw pillow behind me becoming progressively flatter as I sink deeper into the school-issued mattress. I wonder, as I watch the cursor blink in the empty cavern of the WordPress box, what I will miss about this school when I leave. I sit, breathing the residence hall scent of clean laundry, ramen, and twenty-four different brands of perfume, and feel my mind wander, tracing the threads of routines, classes, and friendships through the past three and a half years.

Gazing with unfocused eyes out the window at the towering buildings across the street, their black windows outlined against the orange-gray background of light pollution, I follow the path my heart and mind trace. I think about the minutes between classes, the rhythmic clock ticks between the 50 and the hour. I think about the conversations I had even this morning between classes; words exchanged with friends as I shrugged my bookbag onto my shoulders, head-jerking my ponytail from its perpetual entrapment under the bag’s thick straps. I think about the settled feeling of familiarity that there is even in those moments between classes. Every week, every day, every hour. Finish the class, pack up the bag, take those steps through the door, down the hall. Moving from learning to learning between friends, beside friends, behind friends.

I think about the lunch routine. Moody’s dining room has a Twitter account- 2000 followers who check in every morning, noon, and night to see what delicacy they’ll be serving us next. Sitting in Romans on Monday, I pull my phone from the bookbag propped haphazardly under my seat, swipe through internet tabs to the food service page. Popcorn chicken and Mac n Cheese! Chicken noodle soup! Tortilla pie! I read to Sara, sitting next to me, her own bookbag drooping rather pathetically against my chair. And in those moments before class begins, the professor at the front of the class looks up from his powerpoint preparation, eyebrows raised, mouth furrowed quizzically, uncertainly. Are you ordering a meal? And I laugh and shake my head, waving my phone in explanation. And he nods, chuckling, as the clock ticks to 11am: the beginning of class.

I think about slipping quite obtrusively into a meeting just this evening. Twenty underclassmen of my own major gathered under the tutelage of the woman whose influence is seeping into every aspect of the education program here at Moody. I’ve interrupted, I know, and I’m about to wait in the hallway once more, but before I can tell her so, she’s there next to me, arm around me, both of us standing between forty eyes and the door I’ve just closed behind me. She introduces me and I feel my cheeks, my neck prickle with the heat of recognition, even as my heart swells with her kind words. I nod, smile, thank her, then slip back into the hallway to wait.

And not twenty minutes later, I’m back in the room, now empty of its underclassmen visitors. And even as she nods in approval of the project I’ve asked her input on, I feel again the shift, an ever-so-slight change in the winds of my footing, my place, my role. She packs her bag and I swing mine back over my shoulder and when the elevator’s dumped us onto the ground floor, we’re engrossed in an impassioned conversation on teaching, curriculum development, and books she knows I’d love, books we both can’t wait to read. And outside in the cold, she steps to the street and I move towards the dorms, my arms wrapped around themselves against the cold, and my parting words declare that I’ll come back to Moody- I’ll work to improve this major, teaching the things we both know need taught.

And we laugh, of course, because it was mostly a joke. But there’s a part that’s serious, a part of me that is passionate about this school and the students and the learning that fill its walls. And I guess, in the end, there are hundreds of things I’ll miss about being here, come December when I roll away, but who knows, who’s really the one to tell, if I won’t yet return to this downtown college?

Of course, God knows, God will say. But that’ll be in His time, in His way. And for now, I’m just here remembering.

~Natalia

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