Friday, December 14, 2007

The Chirstmas Exodus

It has begun with a rather poignant sting.

Today Natalie left for home. She and thousands of students are flooding out of Bristol, returning to the land of their upbringing, to spend time with family and friends. Many will successfully retrieve those hours lost, lost due to the excruciating study during finals week. Many will feast on home made meals, and recuperate from lethargy on warm cozy couches. Many will reunite with friends and speak of how it feels like eras since they'd last embraced. Many will snuggle up at night in a bed so familiar, in a room so uniquely theirs, in a home so loving and safe.

Here in Bristol, this concrete box, this shell of a building called 115 Queens Road, isn't a home. I could leave the building today without reservation, for I haven't any attachment to its premises. It is the people I have lived with whom I could not leave so easily; they have made this a home for me.

In particular, my inexpressible gratitude goes out to Natalie. She has given me so much, and in return, I have provide so little. She always let me come to her room whenever I was bored or lonely. She put up with my incessant forgetfulness and the resultant collection of my things in her room. She was patient with my exuberance, and always teasingly brought me back to reality when I would fly off on a tangent. She would do the crossword and sudoku with me, and humour me when I needed my coffee fix. Natalie made Queens Road a place I wanted to be, and her departure today was like a jarring transition from some pleasant warmth to a frigid torrent.

I dare not say that I'm feeling her loss the most; all those who remain in this cinder block abode are shuffling their feet and mumbling about how odd it feels without her here, as if something was taken from very air we breathe. We miss you Natalie, if you ever read this, we miss you.


I was speaking today about how I don't like change, which spawned a flashback to my youth when my parents, unbeknownst to me, removed an institution in my life I lovingly remember as "The brown couch". I wept and wailed for days crying "how could you!" and throwing myself dramatically down upon my bed. That memory was meant to reinforce my statement about change, but even as the words "I don't like change" rolled from my lips, my mind was quickly beginning to contradict itself. I took a moment of silence and reevaluated the statement then proposed an adjustment. "It's not that I don't like change," I said slowly, "it's just that I don't like change I can't control." I felt that was a much stronger statement and was fitting for my memory of the brown couch as well as my knowledge that I commonly seek change, so long as it's a conscious choice of mine to accept the change.

That was just a thought.


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