By Laura D. Testino
Today was my last first day of undergrad at Alabama during a spring semester.
This semester will be the last time I’ll be a UA student getting excited for little bits of snow and school cancellations.
The last time I’ll head to a party for Martin Luther King, Jr. on a Sunday night and wear black and white and celebrate equality the only way theatre and dance kids know how.
And the last time I’ll get to look forward to finishing a semester and heading to summer break.
Last is a dirty four-letter word.
Today was the last time I’ll ever come back to Alabama for class after being at home for Christmas.
That trip made me think about all of this. How it’s the last of everything. I’ll be graduating in December, and then hopefully heading to a little concrete island in a year from now.
And it made me that kind of nostalgic sad you get when you watch home videos or look at old picture albums and see a younger version of yourself staring back with a toothy grin that hasn’t seen a ton of corrective metal yet and maybe you’ve got your hand around your chocolate lab and maybe your face is painted to match her species even though she thinks she’s a human and maybe you’re next to one brother and hardly have a clue that your other is going to exist or what that would even be like. And you just look at it and laugh a little and also wonder what it would be like to meet that littler version of yourself and see what they have to say about you now.
Now that you’re finally old and can do all the adult things like be tall enough to get your own jelly beans from the dispenser in the grocery store and see PG-13 movies alone.
Because if it’s the last time that I go back after Christmas, then I’ll have to start thinking about things like my own health insurance and a potential salaried job and whether or not I can buy those chocolate covered bananas because I’ll be a journalist who’s probably unemployed for a while and still has rent to pay. And then also things like why no one talks on the subway and how fast time is flying and how simultaneously young and old I feel, just at 22.
And I don’t especially want to think about those things.
So I vocalized my concerns to the beautiful people in my life who have a clue about the inner workings of my brain and still choose to stay around, and then I heard
Laura, stop thinking in lasts, dammit.
and then I had to sort of do some reevaluating about the way I was thinking about my life and realize that hey maybe this is why you don’t feel up to returning to school even though your football team just won the National Championship (RTR!!!).
So that’s where I am now. Because here I am and I’ve just done all of these things for the last time.
Like going to class.
Picking up my spring semester books.
Unpacking all of my stuff after making three trips from my car.
And, worst of all, using the bathroom at 7:16p.m. in the bathroom in my apartment on Wednesday, January 13, 2016.
Yes. The last time I will ever go to the bathroom in my apartment on Wednesday, January 13, 2016 ever again for my whole life.
That was the last time.
It was hard to handle. Because right after that I ate white bean chicken chili out of a red bowl with corn bread on the side for the last time on January 13, 2016. And then I stood up from my seat and washed my dishes for the last time.
And sat down to write the last blog post that I’ll write on any January 13 from the black desk chair in my Tuscaloosa apartment.
And here you have it.