The last of a student’s souvenirs

_MG_9927I wanted to write about a bathroom. Wandering around a few days ago, I shocked myself by spontaneously snapping my camera shutters open in a really nice bathroom. Empty, but for me. Walking into that bathroom, the architectural enchantment I had felt years ago – the attraction for space and light, for material and mood, the attraction I thought had burned out over the past few years of study – came flooding back as if a pipe had burst.  The lights flickered on at my entrance, signaling the reawakening of something dormant.

This is the last post I will write as a student. Aside from a few sentences for an upcoming presentation, these will be the last words I will ever write as a student. Make ’em count, Kev – don’t write about a bathroom!

But what to say? My fingers shake above the keys, though not from the small cup of coffee still left at my side.

Barely more than a week left. One more class (a field trip at that), a small set of technical drawings, a couple of large-format images to print, a few minutes presenting – and I’ll be done. After a final semester that felt barely more than a blur, after three-plus years that left me barely financially solvent (thank you, credit card) – and I’ll be done.

But what do I have to say?

So many events in just a few months: A thirtieth birthday, an ended relationship… The death of my second-generation iPod Touch, whose corpse lies in my pocket still… Plus an upcoming graduation? My shoulders slump under so many momentous changes.

And yet I have nothing to say.

I can’t help feeling a little underwhelmed by the palpable lack of content to write about. Shouldn’t I have something more important to remark on than the way light can make stone glow like a soft invitation? Shouldn’t I offer some scrap of prophetic wisdom? Some advice for those recently admitted into a Master’s program of their own? Maybe writing about the bathroom would have been better, Kev…

To quote Billy Joel, whose Famous Last Words loop in my ears, “These are the last words I have to say. It’s always hard to say goodbye, but now it’s time to put this book away.”

Maybe I just don’t know how to say goodbye, how to close this book and happily put it to rest high on some dusty shelf. Maybe my stomach churns at opening a new book alone, unknowing what the first words to grace its pages will be.

Or maybe I’m finding too much time to think, and maybe I should let my hands write for a time without any intent.

I think of the words I’d give to anyone facing a major life change right now, the words I might be wanting to hear right now. Don’t be afraid of an end. Enjoy what happened, enjoy that things happened. Enjoy that new things will happen.  Just let them come.

A bathroom might have been the better and more relevant subject, after all, than a tenuous farewell to studenthood, essentially the only stage I’ve known in life until now.

I’ll let Billy Joel speak a bit more to fill my lack. “These are the last words I have to say, that’s why this took so long to write. There will be other words some other day, but that’s the story of my life.”

One thought on “The last of a student’s souvenirs

  1. Wow Kevin, Your last writing as a student is a powerful one! It brought tears to my eyes. Oh hon, don’t be afraid of an end because the new beginning is an exciting (and a little scary) one. But it IS new: new beginnings, new life, new happenings, new journeys and adventures~ just exactly what you have worked so hard for all of these years. Grab this new start with both hands, hold on tight and run with it! Enjoy the ride along the way!

    We are so proud of you Kevin, and look forward to flying out Thurs. for your graduation! See you soon! Love always & forever, Mom

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