As a year, or at least the length of time uni has deigned to give us and call it a year ends, I find myself sitting in my room on my own, in a bizarre reflection of my first week here. Outside, the sun is bright, boys walk wrapped up in their shorts clad not quite grown women, there's an air of frivolity, but also finality and I can't muster the mood to match the weather.
People laden with boxes stagger to their cars, and I'm wondering what the things that I'll carry from this year will be.
People for one. I feel a bit like a jeweller, presented with a box of someone elses jewellery. There are those pieces I immediately desired, their lustre, size and boldness dazzled me, but now I've polished off the surface, I can see the flaws, the shiny gold is cheap metal and the design has been stolen from a million better places. There are the smaller pieces, which linger in the mind, but never capture the imagination. And the hidden gems, maybe tarnished, or with a clasp that sticks, but having worked with them, I can now see the beauty. I am weary of wearing some of my jewellery, the pieces I have worn for years are losing their appeal, they don't suit me anymore, but equally, I worry that with other, newer ones, that my initial valuation will be disproved, or over the long four months to come, I'll lose them. And then there are a few pieces I've picked up on the way, that I still don't know the reality of, and the closing of the year means I may never get the chance to see if they fit.
I'm going to leave behind many of my fantasies. Rolled up and hidden in the backs of drawers, for next year's fresher to put on, and naively wear, maybe for them, it will be the year it was meant to be. May they find themselves, find eternal friendships, find passion, direction and love. But for me, I now expect to have to search those things out for myself. A moment in time can echo the portrait of this year you had ready, a moment outside on a sofa at a seedy bar, where a connection can be made, and then snapped short days later by just the passage of time, never quite knowing what may have been, and wondering if you handled it wrong. But knowing the limitations of such a lovely moment is necessary to move onwards.
I'll spend four months, in the tiny village where I've lived out 14 years of my life. I'll visit the same places, stand in the same skin, in the same well loved clothes. I'll go in the sunrise to my favourite place, look at the world falling below me, but will I dream the same dreams? Am I the same girl who wrought such romances of her future as the curly haired child who stood in those shoes a year ago.
I'm afraid for the answer to be no, but in my heart of hearts, I know that child has moved on, vanished inside that which I have become. And while I can miss that, it is the woman who will stand there a year from now who I need to try and reveal.