Cardigan, F21 | Button-down, thrifted Ralph Lauren | Dress, Kohl's | Boots, Tommy Hilfiger | Necklace, Macy's
Photos by my brother
The sad music was too much to bear.
Amid the hum of bustling travelers, animated conversations, and enunciated flight announcements, all I heard was the melancholy tune playing in the background. I couldn't quite catch the words, but I got the idea--it was something about loss and love.
With my head nestled against my boyfriend's shoulder, quiet tears began slipping down my cheeks. We were sitting together in relative silence, cuddling--one last time.
"Why do they have to play such sad music?" I asked, barely holding myself together.
He looked down, noticing my tear-stained cheeks for the first time. When my eyes met his, I began sobbing.
"Lily," he pulled me closer, "Try not to think about it. Think of all the happy moments."
I hugged him tighter, attempting to quell the brewing maelstrom of emotions. I followed his advice. I thought of our sunrise expeditions, our piercing banter, our food dates. I remembered our multi-phase quest to complete the 36 question game. I remembered laughing over funny films and episodes of classic TV shows. I remembered looking into his joyful eyes that were the color of the night sky, and seeing my own reflection. I remembered our late-night conversations about everything. I remembered waking up in his arms, doused in the sun's morning glow.
My breathing became controlled again. The flow of tears ran dry. We sat reflectively until it was time for him to board.
In the quickly-dwindling line, we embraced. I didn't want to let go, but it was time. With a kiss and one final "I love you," we bid an indefinite goodbye. As he entered the jetway, he turned and waved. I waved back, mouthed goodbye, smiled sadly. And with that, he was gone.
I'd long since dreaded the end of spring semester. Discovering that I'd been accepted to go abroad for my entire junior year was such a bittersweet blessing; on one hand, this was a dream come true, but on the other, this meant leaving my friends become family in the class of 2017--possibly for good, as they would've graduated before my return. My boyfriend was no exception.
According to social psychology, we often overpredict how upset we'll be after future negative events (you can read more about affective forecasting here). I wished that were the case here. For the next few days, I was an emotional wreck, triggered to tears by the most irrelevant happenings (thanks a lot, aggressive lady at a retail store).
For years, I've dreamed of having a cohesive group of friends. For as long as I can remember, my closest friends never meshed, sometimes actually disliking each other. For years, I've dreamed of being in love. For as long as I can remember, my sentiments went unreciprocated.
This year, I found just what I had always dreamed of. And I left it--because I dream of more.
I'm leaving because I dream of attaining a degree of fluency in French that requires immersion unavailable in the US. I'm leaving because I want to discover even greater academic challenges at Oxford. I'm leaving because I've always wondered what else is out there. I'm leaving because comfort stifles growth, and the intimidating welcomes it.
I will miss my crew. I will miss the deep warmth of being with someone. I will miss the year where Amherst finally felt like home. I will remember it all fondly, holding it close to my heart as I embark on my next adventure.
These goodbyes may be indefinite, my sophomore year may be over, nothing gold may stay--but the resonance will continue to live if we fuel it. One chapter has closed, and it's time to begin living in the next.