I feel fucking dorky as hell writing about how OMG MARCHING BAND CHANGED MY LIFE FOREVER!!! but the sentiment’s only truly stupid if it’s a lie, and it’s not, so there’s that.
Whatever the case, some time in the third quarter of our season-ending rivalry game (which we lost, but like that’s gonna keep us from shit talking everybody come next year), I had one of those freaky moments of clarity, when it feels like multiple layers of time are blending into each other and then bleeding into the present. The people standing around me weren’t the same, the game was different, the stadium was different, and yet I looked onto the field and I felt three years of blood, sweat, and tears slap me in the face.
Last night, some of the freshmen were asking me about what I was going to do after graduation. I gave some faux-confident bullshit answer, about how things would work out and how I had some prospects lined up or I was actively working on shit, but how can I give any kind of answer when every time I look back a year, hell, even a month, I have no fucking idea how I got from point A to point B, only that somewhere along the way, things changed and I changed with them.
In a year, I could still be here, but I’ve got an itch in my gut that tells me that that’s probably not the case. I’m already fickle enough when it comes to something as superficial as my hair, so when it comes to something like my living situation or my relationship/lack thereof bullshit or my place of employment or my geographical location or anything that actually matters, my internal doubts fizz up like water on a hot pan, and the uneasiness, the wishy-washy “What ifs,” take over, and more often than not, I’ll flow with whatever inclination of intuition wins out, and find myself making impulsive decisions, as if impulse somehow works independently of what I actually want.
It’d be scarier if I weren’t so used to this now, this weird in-between of self-assurance and soul-sucking fear. But I keep looking backward, and as more and more past weighs in on my mind, the more it’s just like, holy shit, time is INSANITY, and I can track my growth with words and photos and loves gained and lost,
but, without thinking, when I came home after tonight’s game, I moved to put my marching shoes in my closet instead of my gig bag, and there’s no uniform hanging on my clothing rack, and there’s no helmet perched precariously on my luggage case, and there’ll never be any of this again, and sure, the world’s a mysterious place, but I’m certain that this is the end of all this for me, and that realization is both a relief and a goddamn sorrow.
I don’t know how many people actually read these posts, but if you’re reading:
TO THE UNDERCLASSMEN: There are things about band that I’m not sure will ever be real again, and you might not ever understand them or want to understand them. I get that, but please don’t let that cloud whatever you want band to mean to you, and don’t let politics/drama/bullshit get in the way of enjoying every goddamn moment of this. You might have some inkling of how fortunate we all are to have what we have as an organization, but the best is yet to come.
TO THOSE WHO CAME BEFORE AND THE TAS: Thanks for putting up with my stupidity and taking the time to coax me out of my shell. I didn’t know what I was getting into when I first joined, but it sure wasn’t this… and I’m so grateful that that’s the case.
TO SERGE AND ORTAL: You’ve been my mentors and leaders these past few years, but more importantly, you’ve become my friends, and I’m choking on the sap in those words and I don’t know how everything or anything happened at all, but things just clicked into place, and wherever we all end up after this year, we can always, always, come back to this.
TO CHASE: I’m so sorry that I’m leaving you, the last of our class, but I have no doubt that you’ll not just shoulder these new responsibilities, but you’ll do so with an aplomb that wasn’t there when we first met, but which really, really suits you. Kid, you’ve already come so far — and you’re only gonna go further.
I’ll see you all at banquet. Until then, it’s time to toast to the future, whatever it holds…