Home, Away

What do I see? A giant mess. There’s clothes everywhere; a pair of pants by the TV stand (which is cluttered with various knickknacks like a calculator manual and a trophy from a bygone era), a heap of jackets on the back of a boxed down (as in a box is holding it in place) chair, a shirt with its sleeve just clinging onto the corner of the couch. Shoes everywhere. Books, everywhere. Two guitars and a road hazard sign and Romney Drive.

And it’s all going to be gone soon, tidied up and shoved into boxes and suitcases and crates and trash bags and cars, sent down the street and across the country.

My friend Becca and I made a 12-minute long documentary (to use that word loosely) this semester about lucid dreaming. During the screening for it and the four other films made by the people in our class, I tried to thank her by quoting the following “Girls” line: “A friendship between college girls is grander and more dramatic than any romance.”

I remembered the first half and then drew a complete blank after “college girls,” so I stopped talking and threw my arms around her in a moment of utter gratitude, relief, and joy. But that quote… whatever else I might think about Lena Dunham, she understands what the twentysomething female dynamic can be, both at its best and its worst.

And when I think about my closest female friendships and the moments that have transpired in the cluttered mess that is our apartment, memory knocks the air out of my lungs as I desperately try to name all of the everything and nothing and in between that has been B112

and fail, not because I lack the means to define the past year, but because doing so would strip away the illusion of forever, the ephemeral sheen of present time becoming nostalgia, the heady rush of unadulterated dreaming.

After my housing arrangements fell through last spring, I tagged along with a group of three young women who have known each other since freshman year. I moved into my current apartment knowing one of the women pretty well, one of them as more than an acquaintance but less than a full-fledged friend (she’s going to say “Hey!” when she reads this, and I know now that it’s become a sort of running joke between us, but I stand by what I write here), and one of them was someone I’d only met once or twice before.

The last one moved out halfway through the year to go study abroad in South Africa, and then my current roommate, who’d been apartmentmates with the two other remaining roommates last year and was basically a stranger to me (she might take issue with this description too), moved in.

And now… I look back at this year, and I remember debating the pros and cons of immortality as the night whiled on and screaming when my roommate scared me as we walked past our housing complex’s dumpsters and watching hours upon hours of children’s animation in various states of disorientation and talking shit and arguing as a means of coping with the various unsavories who have hurt us and crying at the foot of my roommate’s closet as she hugged me and meowed

and I find myself searching for the right things to say about the people who have occupied this physical space in my life and, as a result, have shaken and helped redefine my beliefs so deeply that I fear that disturbing this group dynamic will send my own self tumbling.

I didn’t ask for this. How could I have known? And while I couldn’t be happier about the way things ended up panning out, now we’re all scattering to the winds like ashes for a burial rite, and though the separation is temporary, this arrangement has come to its end,

and I don’t know what to say.

(Image: Self-portrait by Rebecca Mock)


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