I’m sitting on my bed in the apartment. I’ve just pulled brownies out of the oven (it’s our Christmas party tonight), and I’m trying to make myself pack because tomorrow, I go home for Christmas break. I think that if I start packing, it’ll really hit me, and I’ll be a puddle of emotion, so I’m writing you instead. I don’t know if you need this, but I do.
What’s frightening about packing is that I’m very aware that this is the last Christmas break I’ll be packing for. That I’ve just completed my penultimate semester. That there are only a few more months to go before it’s all over and suddenly I’m you, six months or six years into the future and wondering just how I got there. I crawled into bed last night and wept. I’m not ready to leave. I don’t know if I’ll ever be.
Packing, you see, is just the first step. After packing comes looking for jobs, for internships, thinking about that scary thing called the Future. And I don’t know where you are right now. My hindsight is twenty-twenty, but foresight is a gift I don’t have. You could be sitting in a New York coffee shop, drinking tea while you scribble notes into the margins of a manuscript; you could be sitting in the armchair of your parents’ house, rediscovering this entry as you peruse the internet; you could be in a downtown apartment of your own, curled up on the couch with your laptop and taking a quick break from that grueling task we call editing. And you’ll be reading this and laughing. Laughing at me for being so afraid when everything was going to work out fine.
Or you could be reading this and still feel that fear. Still not know where you’re going or what you’re doing or what’s going to happen. You could be staring at an empty suitcase, like I am, dreading filling it because you know what it means. You could be on a train or in an airport terminal, on your way to an interview for a job you’re not even sure if you want but it’s something. Maybe you wear red lipstick now. Maybe you finally learned how to do eyeliner on your top lid (and if you did, can you please teach me? With the wing and everything?).
I don’t know where you are. But I know where I am. I’m at a place where what I do controls where you are. And because I owe it to you to do the best thing for you, because, damn it, you work hard and you deserve a little luck now and again, I’m going to make sure you get wherever it is you’re meant to go. Even if it means scary empty suitcases that need filling or red lipstick or airport terminals. Even if it means swallowing that knot in my throat right now and pushing through everything. Even if it means I end up crawling in to bed tonight and weeping again. It will all be worth it, because it means I’ve done something that makes your life better.
I hope I’ve done it. And if I haven’t, it just means I’m still trying. Hang in there. I always come through.
Good luck out there. And nice job with the eyeliner.
I have packing to do.