I just completed the final stage of my school years. The year 12 formal was on Thursday (it is now Saturday), and initially it really didn’t bother me. Finishing school, whatever, exciting. It’s cliche to say that ‘they were the best years of my life, everyone told me that and I didn’t believe them’ – but it is true. I guess I just didn’t really realise I was ever having fun, or rather because school brought my friends and I together, removing it from the picture… leaves a big empty space.
They showed a slideshow at the formal, and it was kind of annoying because of how biased it was; one of the popular girls made it, and wouldn’t let anyone help, so all the pictures were the same people over and over… but it did drive home that this was kind of the end.
Ryan got into uni as did Connor and Nic and Samuel and Ashlee and Emma and… the list goes on. We’re a bright bunch, but you know most of them are going straight to uni without deferring so next year so many of them are moving 45 minutes away… it doesn’t seem like a big deal except that I know that suddenly I won’t be seeing them every day. I’m really going to miss that… and then I look at all these photos from the past few years and think; damn, I’m really gonna miss him/her. I don’t delude myself, I know how easily and quickly people can lose contact with each other, and I recognise I’m probably never going to see or hear from these people again. People with whom I grew up with and celebrated with and made jokes with and loved.
It’s frightening, and the strangest feeling not being expected to do anything during the day, or to actually be aware that I’m not procrastinating on an assignment when I write on here or check YouTube… and with all my friends getting right in I feel kind of unaccomplished. I still work at a certain pizza place where I am comfortable, even though I hate the work, and I know the people well. I’m a little scared I won’t leave; that can happen, I know, when you’re just too comfortable where you are.
It brings up all these memories I thought I had forgotten. There are recent ones, from presentation day and muck up day and slave day, and memories from my 18th when all of us sung the entire song from Portal – you know the one, Still Alive? – in the middle of dinner. There are older ones, when I taught Lizzy the Llama song at tennis in year 8 and we used to sit and toss the ball under the net since we dismally failed at playing, or when I made a bomb shelter plan with Nicola in year seven as part of a project, where as long as we solved the major problems we didn’t have a theoretical budget limit… or in year 9 when Will knocked me off my seat in science, and in year 7 I found out about Connor’s trip to New Zealand…
In the library earlier this year, debating republic vs the monarchy with Lucy… bitching about our English teacher in a private room upstairs with Lizzy and Emma or Ella or Chloe… mourning the loss of Dave’s football to the roof, our mascot Larry the Scrub Turkey… playing lions in the infants with Elena and Geordie… spitting out the grass we were dared to eat and being horrified because Elena ate it… the snow trip, where we built a snow fort, and fought another school in an epic snowball fight… canoeing at Bent’s Basin and sharing a tent with Elena, and it was so hot… being too scared to absail…
And memories not really related to school too, just times throughout my life that I feel are kind of over now. Well, they ended a long time ago I suppose, but now these people have grown up and it’s just… different…
Like when we were kids in the ’90s and my sister and cousins and I were all obsessed with The Spice Girls… haha, I remember they learnt the songs and pretended they were different members of the band. Even though they didn’t have ‘Ginger Spice’ they wouldn’t let me be a part of it, until I cried and begged, and my brother was the ‘manager’… and roller blading for the first time. I didn’t do very well. One of those cousins is married now! Another has a baby.
Or my sister learning to write in Elvish and writing my full name on a piece of paper that she burnt around the edges for me… or getting Simba, my cat… pretending there were foxes living under the house… my brother convincing me that the huge mound of dirt in our backyard was a volcano because I wanted to be an archaeologist when I was little, and getting me to clean rocks with a toothbrush… my sister and brother teaming up to persuade me that it was called a cake of soap because it could be eaten, and both being disappointed when I didn’t burp bubbles… then both of them pretending one of my toys hatched from an egg… my sister teaching me that it was good manners to wait for an invitation before going to someone’s house… my brother cutting my dreams of archaeology short by telling me if I did that I’d have to be like Indiana Jones… Pizza Hut birthdays and McDonald’s birthdays and getting stuck on Hayley’s cubby house roof, and telling ghost stories one rainy day in my parent’s bay window and swimming in the dam and finding a leech stuck in my shoe…
Learning how to ride a bike, then riding the bike path near the dog run when my mum took the dogs there, singing in the rain, tending pop’s veggie garden with him, reading to mum, listening to dad read to me, crying because of the voice in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets…
Memory after memory after memory present themselves for examination and it makes me so sad and happy at the same time. I really miss those days and those people… and I know that it’s ending now, and it’s a new life altogether. I don’t want to lose everyone. I just don’t know what to do with myself now… and all my friends, because I can’t stay with them all, you know? A lot of rites of passage have happened all at once and there’s all these things that need resolving… so now I’m looking at photos, recent and old, and one image will conjure up all the memories and sights and sounds and smells that came with that moment… and I’m reading the messages everyone wrote on my bear and in my 18th book for me last weekend… and these people really love me, you know? And I love them. It seems a bit late to realise that.
What to do now?
I think it’s time to give that some real thought. Love to you all, and to the past, and hope for the future… everyone’s future.
Music: Graduation Song (Friends Forever) – Vitamin C
Reading: Inheritance – Christopher Paolini