It finally happened. The last ever English lecture, and it was an indoor garden party. My college is bonkers.
It started off nice and relatively sane; we sat down, we took down exam guidelines, the head of the English department made jokes and told tales and poked fun at his recently injured colleague (also in the room). Then they started the raffle. And handing out drinks. And...well...
We all received probably the most obscure books in history (except for the one girl who received a copy of Treasure Island.) For our part, we gave them chocolate and wine. We're cool like that.
This all followed a week of reminiscing about our four years in college. We had a lot of good times, and we all remember the first friends we made, the first time we arrived in our 1960s block of a building, the first time we hung out with each other outside of college, the first mass (we're that cool), the first proper lecture with the aforementioned head of the English department, about Walt Whitman, featuring a five minute rant about furniture, and all the little events over our little history in the college. All leading to a garden party that wasn't outside, wasn't in a garden, and didn't get us drunk.
We are truly living up to the stereotypes of college students.
We have one more day of lectures tomorrow (two lectures before noon... it's really only a half-day). Then that's it. Nothing.
We've gone from bewilderment in Liturgy in first year to this, exploring the history of the Church, all manners of Ethics, philosophers from as far back as Sophocles, the major world religions, the sacraments, ecumenism, death, death and more death, poets that wrote about politics and race and sex and anthropomorphised dildos, reduced narratives, epic tales, a confusion of tongues, the psychology of children and the development of faith; fueled by coffee and tea and chocolate and crisps, jambons, hash browns, beans, curry sauce, mash potato and gravy and an inordinate amount of alcohol; tearing through books and panicking in front of our first students and each other, reaching out in the country to teach, to educate, to inspire, and to flee before it all became too real, and lectures began again; with couples coming and going and staying and loving, friendships formed and forged and demolished and put back together again, small families gathered from all over this Emerald Isle and every one of them genuine.
We are not meant to forget these things. We are not meant to put it all behind us. All the good and all the bad and all the times we held each other together, all of it was part of what brought us through these years. This place, however dated it looks from the outside, however much we might wish to be rid of the building and the work, it is a home away from home, a structure of emotional gravity.
So we celebrate. We celebrate the brilliance of our lives having met and joined and become one, a mingling of souls. We celebrate with one last night together, meals out, garden parties, last plays, last concerts, last lectures together. We celebrate while the air is still clear enough.
This is our little history, all leading to a last day, and the start of something new. Terrifying and exciting as it may be, we do not embark on our journeys alone. Our past is behind us, but we bring those wonderful characters from our four-year chapter with us into the next.
The last day is upon us, and with it the rest of our lives together.