The street is packed with cars and into the basement flows a stream of every changing college T-shirts worn by unbearably young, darling, newly-minted graduates who will very soon head to college.
Good luck. I'll miss you. Text me. Stay with me. Did you hear? They are going out. Yes, they broke up. Thank god for Skype. Nearly packed. Well, actually, not so much. I have tons of laundry to do. Can you believe it? We are out of here Wednesday. Illinois. Thursday. Hope. Friday. ISU. Next week. Rush? Yes. Maybe. Not for me. Next year. Gotta work. In the library, second floor. I'm thinking matching bedspreads, if my roommate agrees. (Now there's a girl conversation if I ever heard one.) Can I photocopy this picture of us? Thanks for the snickerdoodles, Mrs. H. They're awesome.
And I think back to my 100-year-ago college self and I'm remembering this: ready. And also this: joy, freedom, dizzying possibility. And there is Susan and Joyce and Terry, who will enter my world at school and stay foreverafter. All these years later, I cannot imagine this life without them.
Having danced the collegiate dance twice, I feel compassion for these kind and loving parents. They are a bit anxious, feeling a bit displaced on this night of tributes and well-wishes. If I could assuage their sadness, I would say: remember. Remember when we were them? How exciting that time was? All of those glorious possibilities just waiting to be played out?
It will be fine. They will be fine. We will be fine. I promise.
Meanwhile, pass the wine. I need a little uplifting myself.