There are residents just outside my door. They parade up and down past the thick wooden barrier, the one that boasts Disney princess placards--Belle and Jasmine, to be exact--with "Dawn" and "Eva" curvaciously written on them, respectively.
Just outside the door, the residents are boxing things up and rattling carts carrying their belongings up and down the hallway. Doors slam. Carts bounce off the wall. Laughter. Parents yell at their grown children. The grown children yell back. Sometimes siblings who are decades younger than their college-aged brothers and sisters race past the propped-open doors and out to a sedan that may or may not hold all of a student's belongings. Friends hug goodbye, wish each other a "good summer." "See you in August!" The voices echo about the L-shaped floor.
Beds, dressers and desk scrape across the floor, and the uneven rumbling of heavy furniture wakens me in the early morning hours. I hear people--Can I use the vacuum cleaner/Where are my black sweatpants/I have to sweep/Pick that up/Can you carry this for me/I'm sorry/Excuse me/I have to shower/One last one time/Sorry/Can you move/I'm leaving/Sorry/Oops I dropped it/Hello/Here is the vacuum/Goodbye/Where is my key/Goodbye room/Thank you/Goodbye. All on the other side of the door.
Inside the barrier, in a room darkened by unopened windows, I type. Hans sleeps, his breath rattling. A terrible sore throat plagues him, a cough awakens him. I hand him a bottle of water and watch as he tips it to his mouth. Licking his lips, he nestles back beneath the sheets, eager to drift off amid the chaos just beyond the door.
We have not left yet.
Classes have ended, and many of my peers have celebrated the conclusion of finals with shopping, endless movie-watching and/or binge drinking. As for my celebrations? It's difficult to manage, because I have more than one thing to celebrate. In fact, I have three.
First, I am graduating in one week. In one week, I will don my third mortarboard and strut across the stage at Elliott Hall of Music. Secondly, it is my birthday on Monday. I will be turning 23. At first, Monday was only the day after Mother's Day (which my mother conveniently hates), and 23 was only a prime number. However, I will now be celebrating my prime-numbered birthday in Indianapolis with friends. Thirdly Hans and I marked our second anniversary a few days ago with a dinner date, also in Indy.
Within ten days, I will have marked an anniversary, celebrated the day of my birth and graduated from college.
I am not ready to be an adult.
Ten hours and 600 miles away, my cousin is hosting a graduation party today. She is graduating from high school, and I regret that I am unable to join the festivity. I am jealous of her--she is able to see our family and laugh with them. Talk with them about her future plans. Joke with them. Tease our grandmother. Dream about the future.
I am jealous. Her fresh face is eager to begin college, and I envy her enthusiasm. In August, she will be another student who will move her things into a residence hall. She will "exchange words" with her parents, my aunt and uncle, who will begrudgingly unpack her belongings from their sedan and roll it into her room via a noisy, creaky cart. Out of my way/Move/Sorry/Excuse me/Get your stuff/Do you have everything/Move/There is one more load/Anything else/Let's Go/Goodbye/I love you.
She is 18. She is a freshman.
I am soon-to-be 23. I am a soon-to-be college graduate. I am an adult.