Wednesday, November 10, 2010


M -

This Friday already feels very much like when I landed in Germany this summer. I could not believe I was finally there, finally, but there was something out of joint. Something missing.

It is (and was) as though another history is playing out, an incessantly imagined future of the very recent past, where things were so very similar (Germany, graduation, school, work) but everything had shifted.

The last time I was in Convocation Hall was over two years ago, and it was to watch someone else walk across that stage. And here I am, about to walk across that same stage, closely retracing those steps (too closely, perhaps).

How different things were two years ago! My graduation, two years away, was anticipated as the final destination of a journey I had started far too long ago, but which was finally on my horizon. Now, I do not know what to think of it.

I did not see it then - that graduation was as pure a celebration of life and accomplishment as there could ever be. I wore a linen suit, this magical suit that made me look far more attractive than I really am. I remember not wanting to take a picture of my friend crossing the stage, in part because I didn't want to ruin my experience of this moment, this moment of transformation, by putting something in between myself and the event. What we gain in a photo and its permanence, we lose in our experience of the moment. Instead of looking straight ahead, we look through something else, preserving the moment while losing our moment to time itself.

I see now just how tightly everything had been bound up even then, my entire life a ball of yarn that had been wound so tightly that one touch with the dullest knife and the ball would explode, threads everywhere. Even worse when the knife is sharp, and wielded with both skill and rage...

So I sit here now, tying knots, but trying not to wind things too tightly again. I know that some of the threads I am joining anew are not the same ones they had been wound into, some of these threads will never find their way back to that moment in the loom when they had been spun into a long, thin and strong line. Even the strongest thread, under enough stress, threatens to break. You and I know this all too well, M.

But I will cross that stage on Friday, and it will have been worth it. I only wish I knew what the "it" was now. What I do know is that I will see those footsteps that came before me, wishing their eyes were there to see me retracing our path.

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