a fleeting premonition (july 13)

#1: there’s no such thing as a perfect piece of writing, just as there’s no such thing as perfect despair
 
and so I walk the familiar roads leading me home. home-home; my black jeans absorbing every ray of sunshine that lund has to offer at 8am. yet again another goodbye, yet again another ”i’ll see you soon”, but with a promise so loose it no longer carries meaning. heavenly tweed and matias’ guitar plucking piercing through my headphones, every note slowly finding its way into my heart. a 2:32 masterpiece and glossy eyes that turn the world moist and shiny every time i close and open them again; like the tears make the world glisten but my heart is heavy. 
 
somehow i always end up in situations like these. ”why do I keep surrounding myself with such intricate people?” i ask carlie. i think about dry piles of saliva and cries of despair in the music room; kotch thudding in the background. i think about sleepless nights holding someone else's hand; about the longevity of the night and the frustration, the anger, the anguish. but first and foremost: the hopelessness. the 3 am despair and waking up with a feeling of excess. like there's something already dragging you down although you haven't even gotten up from bed yet; the still sun sending its stark shine through the curtains. and then carlie's soft voice interrupts my course of thought as we get off the train in malmö. "well, you could view it two ways, really. intricate or self-absorbed. i guess one is more positive than the other, but often times they mean the same thing”. maybe she’s right. i hope she is. at the same time, i hope she’s not. 

-

"why should you apologize for having a big heart?"

lack of compassion 

/

i always envy the dreamers ;

”?”

"People with dark hearts have dark dreams. Those whose hearts are even darker can't dream at all".

-

and so I dream for the first time in a long time. of the lips of old lovers and the laughter of old friends. i think i have forgotten and so my memory brings it back in the most vivid of forms, the most vivacious of sleeps; the ones where i open my eyes to cloud the real world with thoughts from my imagination, ideas from my illusion, reflections on a delusion. most times i can’t separate right from wrong; tangible from intangible; real from fake. it’s confusing.

-

when I lay in ladbroke square park with e it feels like nothing else matters than him and me and us and the little blonde naked boy running around on the grass around us, his father shouting ”you’re disturbing the lovers!” just to let out a self-satisfied smirk at us; our tangled legs on the grass in the daze of the afternoon; the sun kissing our bare arms and e's soft lips against my forehead. i’m picking at the grass, pulling the straws off the lawn with closed fists. mostly without realizing but also as a distraction; to defy reticence; because i need to keep myself occupied to keep my mind from wandering too far too deep too remote. and so i pull the green straws out of where they belong, out of their home and into the warmth of my hands just to get tossed away an inch away, ripped apart from everything that they were and turned into nothing. and so ”stop destroying the grass!” e chuckles and grabs my hand. ”here, fidget with my hand instead”. 

and so we lay there for five hours. maybe six. we lay there until the sun sets in a pale blue and the screaming children have been replaced by wine drinking parents and beer drinking businessmen taking a breather before returning back to their stressful lives. maybe. i wouldn’t know. all i know is that i have my head on e’s chest and my fingertips against his bare skin and his arms hugging me tight and warmth in my heart and his soft lips against my skin.

i fall out of reality and into love too quickly. what a wonderfully painful unfamiliarly familiar feeling.

-

#2: chapter 23

"[...] the process of thinking about people's raison d'être produced a strange frame of mind, a kind of obsession, in fact, that compelled me to convert everything in my life into numbers. This condition lasted for about eight months, during which I had to count the number of people in the car the moment I boarded a train, the number of steps of each staircase I climbed, even my own pulse if I had the time. According to my records, from August 15, 1969, until April 3rd of the following year, I attended 358 lectures, had sex 54 times, and smoked 6,921 cigarettes. I believed in all seriousness that by converting my life into numbers I might be able to get through to people. That having something to communicate could stand as proof I really existed. Of course, no one had the slightest interest in how many cigarettes I had smoked, or the number of stairs I had climbed, or the size of my penis. When I realized this, I lost my raison d’être and became utterly alone."

#3: the ocean in my head

carlie and I were playing the sims a couple of days ago and "your eyebrows are quite arched actually" carlie says as she curves the hairs on my sim. i laugh. "haha, i look so angry!". "yeah, sometimes you do actually. i was thinking about it today on the train because you got this little wrinkle between your eyebrows and you just looked kinda bothered".

/

querulous. that’s the prettiest synonym i could find for ”annoyed” in the thesaurus. i’m querulous. the crease between my eyebrows having appeared so much throughout the day that my head feels weird. so much that it’s not until i actually think about taking a deep breath and relaxing that i realize that it's there. i hate that crease. my mother gets it whenever she’s bothered; a sign of panic, fear, annoyance. that something has gone wrong, or at least not according to plan. most often it’s a misunderstanding on her part, a misinterpretation or a misjudgment. and every time it is, i feel a little embarrassed. still remember that time at the parents meeting where she couldn't understand what someone was saying and the wrinkle between her eyebrows just kept growing and my teacher got so confused because my mother looked so worried and angry about whatever nice news she was telling the rest of the parents.

for me, the wrinkle is not a reaction to surprise; not a shock nor a panic. it’s a long-lasting nagging, a deprecatory force, a scathing voice inside my head. it’s a lump in my throat and breathing becoming ten times harder; the world turning glossy and bon iver on repeat over and over again.

i yell at my dad for being impatient, for being too set in his views. i yell at him because i'm impatient too. and so he laughs at me; just like how hard it used to be to sit through a scolding in class without bursting out into laughter. i guess laughter is the best way to cope with pain, after all. 


#3: p. 88-89

She was the one who broke the silence, pounding her left fist into her right hand again and again until the palm was quite red. She stared at it with dull eyes, as if she'd lost all interest all of a sudden.

   "I hate everybody." The words hung in isolation.
   "Even me?"
   "Sorry." Blushing, she returned her hands to her knees, as if trying to pull herself together. "I don't hate you."
   "Not so much anyway, right?"

   She nodded and gave me a faint smile. When she lit her cigarette I could see her hands tremble. The smoke rode the ocean wind past her hair and vanished in the darkness. 

    "When I'm sitting alone, all these voices start speaking to me," she said. "All sorts of people—ones I know, ones I don’t know, my father, my mother, my teachers.” 
   I nodded. 
   “Most of what they say is awful. They tell me to drop dead, or say really filthy things.” 
   “What kind of things?” 
   “I can’t repeat them.” 

   She crushed the cigarette she had just lit with her leather sandal, and gently pressed her eyes with her fingertips.

   “Do you think I’m sick?” 
   “It’s hard to say.” I shook my head to show her that I really had no idea. “If you’re worried you should go see a doctor.” 
   “Don’t worry—I’ll be okay."

She lit a second cigarette and tried to laugh, but couldn’t pull it off. “You’re the first person I’ve ever told about this.” 

   I took her hand in mine. It was quivering, and a clammy sweat oozed from between her fingers. 
   “I really didn’t want to lie to you.” 
   “I know.” 

   We fell quiet again, listening to the soft sound of the waves lapping against the pier. Time went by, more time than I can recall. 
   Before I knew it she was crying. I traced the line of her tear-soaked cheek with my finger and wrapped my arm around her shoulder.


#4: facebook messages in despair

sent 6:58: "I feel so helpless"

sent 6:59: "I know it's not my fault but it feels like it 
still, you know?" "I hate it so much. it just takes up a lot of head space"

sent 7:09: "i love you tons"

sent 9:25: "Láz I miss you so much" 

-

"Need is a warehouse that could accomodate a considerable amount of cruelty"

it was nothing, but still, it was something.

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i tried to figure out a good title but i couldn't

#1: on writing
 
i've been feeling awfully inspired lately. like i'm itching to write and am full of inspiration yet nothing ever produces itself in words; nothing is wailing to be captured; everything just circulates in my head, formulates itself through vivacious dreams that i later find myself looking back on when i sit in the garden during bright daylight as if they actually happened, playing out small scenarios in my mind over and over again, the wave of creative flow not having yet hit, although i'm already wading knee-high in new found incentive and inspiration and insight. how strange it is sometimes to spend time drowning in excitement and consuming new experiences but not fully processing them in any way that seems even the tiniest bit productive.
 
i've been trying to write for so long, trying to craft short stories, letters, well thought out facebook messages, phone notes... anything with a stream of consciousness that i can put down in words-- but nothing. i find myself writing, and then erasing. writing, erasing; writing, erasing. it's tiresome and it makes me disappointed in myself. i often wish i could pursue writing in its purest form with all its vigor, but often end up feeling restricted and limited by all writing's rigor (hahahaha nice rhyme i'm a #jokster). but really. all i know is how to write here, and all i know is to pour out all my emotion and thought; writing simply. no restrictions, no guidelines, no nothing. just me and this empty white box that i'm trying to fill with every tap on my keyboard. and some times i just wish i could pursue that pure form of writing; that stream of consciousness. sometimes i wish that it would just... be validated, appreciated, cherished and admired, by someone else. that i could reach out to something bigger. but in the end it's just me, me and my thoughts and my emotion and stream of consciousness that finds its way through my heart to my fingertips, tapping vigorously on the black keys of my keyboard as i lay in my bed at 9 pm at night, trying to do something productive. it's a shame i can't pursue that because i really wish i could. i just don't know how. but this is what i truly love doing. writing. in its purest and its simplest form. unstructured; unforeseeable; less thinking more doing.
 
#2: homecoming pt.1 (new york city and its grandeur)
 
i guess the biggest thing that has happened since i last wrote is that i'm back home, in lund. my surprisingly big (110k) hometown that still feels like the tiniest thing in the world with its tiny pastel houses and rusty bikes-- even compared to the trifling 12k that las vegas had to offer, and the what? 500? that inhabit(ed) the greens of montezuma and its lavender skies. my 'middle of nowhere' as i like to describe it to people. in the middle of pine trees and prickly pears and tumbleweed on the highway.
 
; but before that, new york city. i spend ten days living in my brother's apartment in the middle of manhattan, a three minute walk from times square. new york city used to be my favorite city in the entire world. in an email from andrew he writes "My time [in new york] can most vividly be described by that loud buzzing sound a light bulb makes before it pops. There was so much electricity, humans, and energy. The sensation of being both enamored and disgusted at the same time consumes me in big cities. I took every opportunity possible to get away and hunt for details [...], and that constant buzzing sound created by all the unstoppable motion around me". in my reply back i write "I totally get what you're saying about being enamored and disgusted at the same time, I've definitely come to feel the same way. I used to love it here, similar to you devouring the pulse of the city, and all its unforeseeable force, but as I've come here more often the city has come to tire me out a little bit. [...] also ONE avocado is $2.69 and a dozen eggs is like $5.99 and I miss the $0.49 avocados at walmart. Plus people walking slowly on packed streets makes me want to slowly drown myself in a bathtub". 
 
josefine and grace and benja are in the city for a couple of days, so i spend some time with them. i go to brooklyn with grace, taking refuge from the pouring rain in a coffee shop by brooklyn bridge park. i play chess with benja in the apartment while josefine takes the wrong subway four(! i'm not even exaggerating) times, and i brunch with josefine at an australian place in the middle of china town. it's nice to see them outside of the context of uwc. it's fun because it seems so normal to meet up in a different city, and it's nice to transition slowly. it makes me hopeful for the future. we simply didn't plan to all end up in the city together-- it just all kind of happened; me being there because i always stop there before flying home, josefine coming there for the first time before going back to denmark, benja traveling with his family, and grace having an 18h layover. and then we were just all here. and hopefully that'll happen somewhere else in the world at some other point in time. that we'll all just end up somewhere, somehow, life working its mysterious ways. 
 
other than that, i spend most my time reading and climbing. i buy haruki murakami's new short story collection (men without women) and finish it in a couple of days. i go bouldering at long island city with my brother's membership at the cliffs every other day. one of the times i meet ashima shiraishi in the changing room, her eyes staring right into mine as she walks past, catching me completely baffled as i am pulling out my climbing shoes from my pack. as she's on her way out i realize it's actually her. "guys i just got eye contact with ashima shiraishi???" i write in our rock climbing group chat. what the fuck! one of my biggest role models just looked me in the eyes in the changing room of my brother's local climbing gym. and then she warmed up on routes that i was projecting, to which andrew writes: "It's pretty awesome when you see someone you admire in real human, especially when they dump all over your projects in the gym!". hah.
 
#3: homecoming pt.II (lund and catching up with the familiar)
 
coming back to lund was... interesting. i hauled my bags to the train station at cph airport and instantly saw someone i recognized. she ended up tapping my shoulder as we got off the train, exclaiming a "hi!!! are you back from the US?" to which i replied "oh wow hi!" like i hadn't seen her before (but i had), and continued with "yeah haha time flies" and let out a perky smile. most of all that whole interaction felt uncomfortable. not because i have anything against her (she was my best friend in kindergarten!) but because i somehow find myself dreading the familiar. this is exactly why i can't return to lund. this is exactly why i chose to continue my education in the states. and then, when i got to lund central station and got on the bus to go home, i ended up seeing one of the bassoon players in the orchestra i used to play in. he ended up retreating back without seeing me, but when i caught his eye on his way off the bus he glared at me with a pair of surprised eyes before hurrying off the bus before it closed its yellow doors again. and then i got off at the next and was in empty yet familiar walls once again, making myself my first knäckebrödsmacka (with real cheese) in a long time, managing to take a nap before the rest of my family got home, making the normal feel a little bit more normal again.
 
i meet my trusty ol' friends that night. or at least four of them: linni, sara, freja, and malmer. they bring me pink flowers and we sit down at the dinner table and talk while snacking on my beloved swedish chocolate (that i'm finally reunited with). "it doesn't feel like we haven't seen each other for a year, i've gotten used to this already-- it just feels like you were always here" says linni after an hour of catching up. i can't do anything else than agree. it all feels normal. except it's not really that much of... catching up. we lead such different lives now and it's something i'm sensing this time more than ever, but at the same time it's the same as it's always been. it's the same lame inside jokes and the same talking about everything and nothing, yet so much has changed. it makes me feel really distant, but in a way that i can't really pin down. i don't really know how to describe it, except for that i feel really really young. they've all been on gap years, working and getting into serious relationships and looking at getting their own apartments. and i just graduated high school. at the same time, i feel more mature now than ever, but in a way i can't pin down. i'm still trying to figure out how to come to terms with that, and how to formulate exactly what it is that i'm feeling.
 
i talk to elliott about that one day. he was in the class above me at my old high school but we talk for the first time over coffee at ariman two days ago, and we bring up a mutual friend, erik, that used to be one of my closest friends, and that i saw just two days before that. and he started asking about him and it caught me off-guard even though the question was literally posed in the simplest way ever: "what's he doing now?". and i just realized i.. didn't really know. "uhm.. he's studying at king's. and he grew his hair out" is all i can answer back. it's silly because i hadn't seen erik in a year, yet when we met up that day with all of our old friends from high school it just didn't seem like a thing to be talking about what we'd all been up to. it just never came up in conversation. we just hung out the way we'd always done. like nothing had ever changed, except i'd just gotten back from two years in the states, ran is moving to stockholm, johan and august are moving to paris, and erik is studying in london. we were just all there, making quesadillas in my kitchen and jamming out on guitar hero like we've always done, although we probably haven't gotten together, all of us, in at least two years. maybe three. 
 
other than that, my summer's been pretty bland. my friends are working, so i spend a lot of my time alone. i've been climbing a lot, doing push-ups in my room and pull-ups from the staircase when i can't get myself to the climbing gym. i've also been reading a lot, finishing the wind-up bird chronicle for the second time, except this time with a phone note of quotes and question marks trying to decode the novel with them, and with the annotations that doug left with the copy he gifted me (now one of my most valuable posessions). and then i've been itching to write and pondering my inability to do so. maybe now that i'm finally writing i can focus on something else.
 
#4: on sweating in the gym and no hands knee-bars 1000ft off the ground (and feeling more inspired than ever)
 
i've been watching so. many. climbing videos. countless. it all started with selina subscribing me to the epictv climbing channel and me starting every morning with watching their climbing daily episode (released...daily). and then it just spiralled from there. and then the climbing world just hit another milestone as alex honnold free soloed (i.e. using no ropes and no safety gear) the 3000ft granite wall that is ~*EL CAP*~ (INSANE) like a week ago, which inspired me immensely, and so i flicked through all of the documentaries he's featured in (reel rock 10 is sick. also el sendero luminoso. also some video on youtube called like 'alex honnold's vegetarian diet' or some bullshit like that), and then i borrowed his book from the library (alone on the wall) and finished it within a day and now i think i'm in love with him and his goofy awkwardness at the same time as i aspire to reflect more of his 'ideals of simplicity, frugality, and efficiency'. his outlook on life and total devotion to climbing are so inspiring and whereas my dad simply shrugs off his free solo of el cap as something 'idiotic' since he was 'risking his life' and 'could die at any moment', honnold's approach to soloing seems so much bigger (yet also, simpler) than that: "It's an amazing feeling, the 100% certainty that you will not fall off that keeps you from ever falling off. That's when it all of a sudden becomes peaceful. It's so free to climb that way" as he says in the documentary version of alone on the wall, before doing a "no hands kneebar, baby!", a thousand feet above ground. crazy. watching videos with him always make my palms sweat.
 
aaand alex lives in a van (there's a 3 minute clip on youtube that's called like 'alex honnold's adventure van' or something. alex is the most #wholesome thing around i promise) so i've been very frustrated about not having a driver's license then. both because the majority of summer jobs require it and because it hinders me from driving to crags to go climbing. plus thinking about why the dude failed me last year (because my mirrors were tilted a little too much to the left?) just pissed me off. racist and prejudiced asshole. such people just shouldn't have such a determining role. anyway. i wish i had a driver's license and could drive off to crags. or live in a van and just take a year off to go climb. but i can't. so that's kinda sad.
 
and so i've been spending my time being a gym rat instead, or as andrew would call it, spending time in an "#urbanprison". i never fully understood the looking down on gym climbers (funny because i also overheard a conversation in the gym where this guy was all like "oh i went on the climbing subreddit, by the way, and there is real hate towards gym climbers i just don't get it like why?") until i just suddenly did while i was climbing at the cliffs after a year developing the wifi crag in our campus backyard. there's just so much to blame in a gym. blaming the routes being reachy. blaming the routes being slabby. blaming the routes being overhanging. blaming the routes being crowded. blaming the routes being harshly graded. all these things. it's kind of tiresome. just climb, dude. honestly. and if you hit the pad, get stronger and get better and then come back crush it. there's no one else to blame than yourself.
 
i'm trying to battle that myself though, ending up in the new bouldering gym in malmö with almost solely male climbers around me, and them being a like 6ft average. suddenly, the grading feels very harsh, and blaming the routes being reachy suddenly becomes very appealing. then i decided that's petty and i should probably just become more flexible instead. except i literally cannot even reach my own toes so idk how that's gonna go. it's in times like these that having role models like ashima come in handy because we're literally the same height. except she's like four years younger and climbs V15 and would crush any problem at klättercentret even though they're set for 6' guys. i just gotta become more like her. 
 
see -- feeling super inspired!! it's so exciting to be so excited about something again. i tend to get really obsessive over some areas of interest, but i haven't felt this way for a very long time, to be completely honest. in many ways, climbing has come to be a very empowering thing for me-- from being so insanely intimidated by andrew (our coach) in the beginning of last year, to him wearing one of my favorite t-shirts (acknowledging asian stereotypes in western societies -- although i'm hoping he's actually gotten some insight from conversations we've had, instead of thinking feminism is 'whiny') and drinking espresso from his adventure cup; from being afraid of failure to itching to perform well in front of others; from climbing being something i was curious about, to it developing into one of my biggest passions. and feeling myself getting stronger and seeing myself making progress really helps too. it's like success is so tangible and so within reach if you work hard enough-- and there's no end to it, like there's just endless things you can climb, endless ways to challenge yourself in new ways. a constant craving for more.
 
climbing has helped me in so many ways. its romantic portrayal as a dance on the rocks pushing me out of my comfort zone, but also being the root of a changed mentality and a lot of new found friendships. take selina, for example, and how much i miss her? our friendship was in many ways unexpected for me, and something i also often found other people unable to grasp as an admiration from afar turned into one of my purest friendships -- or so i'd like to think. selina and I aren't the conventionally closest of friends, but somehow it feels.. pure. like it's built on what a friendship should be built on; no expectations, no pressures, no judgements; a feeling of liberosis. just us, and the rocks. spending my days alone in the gym makes me miss her immensely. i miss figuring out beta with her and sunbathing on top of the 'such is life'-boulders of montezuma.
 
and the mentality, too. i don't want to say i used to be a quitter, but let's just say i don't have a lot of patience. i don't like failing, and i really don't like failing over and over again. climbing forces me to do that as i hit the pads beneath me several times before i send a project; working separate parts of the climb over and over again. even a single movement, getting to a single hold, requires a lot sometimes. like how on that heel-hooky problem in upper wifi i practiced a single move for several sessions, until i finally did all the moves (but then ended up being unable to link them together anyway because i got pumped and tired out. still happy, though). haha this is starting to sound like some CAS bullshit, but i really mean it. in many ways climbing has shifted my mentality into becoming a more responsible and determined person, pushing hard to reach my goals. and not being scared of failing or trying new things, because you're going to fail on the wall, no doubt; but there's no one else to blame but yourself-- except when the limestone crystal you're standing on breaks off the boulder and you slide down a 15ft slab three days before grad. :)))
 
i'll stop rambling now. this became super long. sorry. if someone wants to come hang out with me in the gym this summer, send me a message. i mean it. i need a partner. (or even better, if someone has a car and wants to drive me to kjugekull, hit me up).
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may thoughts and may memories

#1: a phone note from a bus ride back from santa fe (may 4)

stars sprinkled on the canvas that is the sky; the world; cosmos. the moon shining its soft light on the clouds hovering below making them appear like little islands of cotton in the sea of unsaturated blue; yet promising another clear blue morning. the vastness of the universe flushes over me like a tidal wave; reminding me of the beauty of insignificance and the scope of the world like nothing and everything at the same time; like i'm prepared for its greatness but not really and so it hits with an incredible speed, an indescribable power -- as a reminder. of just how little everything matters, and just how beautiful that is in itself. 

i think about how much you have grown. both as a person, but also physically; your shoulders no longer narrow like a school boy's; your rugged hands showing signs of aging and experience, and what used to be a constant playfulness in your eyes appearing less and less. sometimes it feels like we lead separate realities now. an inability from both, maybe. and a renunciation; a rejection; a refusal,

to accept; reflect; intercept. 

the lights from the lamp posts next to the highway flash by every couple of seconds, shining their yellow light over my head leaned against the window, rotating around the bus like a merry-go-round. if someone would have turned around everytime the light flashed its shadows all around me maybe they'd notice the light reflections of wet cheeks and glossy eyes. sometimes i wish that someone did. eternal loneliness.

i think about how much me and my friends have grown during these two years. maybe myself not so much. almost the oldest yet feel the youngest. with my crooked teeth and narrow hips and naivite and ignorance. i need to get out of school for a while. 

the distinct turn onto the road to the po. the lights from the castle shining like a bustling city in the night. and i guess it is, in its own way. 

 

#2: during a moment of silence (may 7)

everything seems to flush over me in instances of silence; pausing; stepping back. tonight it hits me in lázaro's arms, our breaths in sync and our co-existing in silence, just for a little while. "i'll miss you, láz" i say under my breath and i grab his hand in mine as my voice starts to tremble. "i'll miss you too", he says and sandwiches my hand in-between his. i hold my breath not to reveal the lump in my throat but my eyes can't stop my cheeks from getting salty, drip drip drip into his gray pillows, just like drizzle has hit the tin roof outside my window every afternoon this week. i close my eyes and let my mind wander and all i can think about is the little to nothing i have left to contribute at this place. the little to nothing i seem to have left to say to the people i love and the little to nothing i seem to have left to enjoy my last few days here. 

i feel eternally lonely. all the time. "i'll just never reach the same level of emotional intimacy as any of my friends have with each other" i tell lázaro. sometimes it feels like i have only him and i hate myself for that, hate being clingy, and hate forcing myself as someone's company. 

this place is just a dark pit of emotion and i can't breathe.

 

#3: saying goodbye (may 20)

pre-bus:

i'm alive on five ibuprofens and 4h of sleep over the past 48 hours. my eyes are swollen and my cheeks puffy and everything in my body hurts. i listen to blonde with elias one last time. on the same speakers but the opposite side of the room this time, and my head on his shoulder instead of against dewey's pillow-chair. and then jak comes in and we go to linda's house for "last chance pancakes", or "last chance cakes" as jak calls them. it's crowded and loud and so we go to the art room one last time. us, and mihir and libbie. and then bela and keegan come and it turns into a space of inside jokes that i can't relate to. i have my head on mihir's chest and sit silent for a while. and then i retreat to find avital for our last moments together.

i get stuck in MB courtyard and the last four square game of the year. i sit next to hugh as we talk about sentimentality and all that this day has had to offer. shoulder to shoulder and he tells me that he just hasn't gotten mushy yet, still keeping his emotions in check. i myself have been crying almost constantly since noon; hugging people goodbye as they've been leaving throughout the day; the space between kili and denali now forever cursed with heavy emotion and dragged out goodbyes. i envy hugh for not feeling, but i also pity him because what more is there than the beauty of emotion right here and right now? how amazing is it not to feel everything oh so deeply? 

and then avital comes with a napkin of pancakes and i share them with anchor and libbie. and then panic hits and i suffocate. tears come up to the surface of my eyes and "i can't be here anymore, i need to leave" i say as i determinidely walk towards my room; kili 204 with its blaringly empty walls and emptiness echoing from the shelves. kili 204 where i sat on the blue carpeted floor with simen and sudddenly asked "wait, what room are we in?" because now all rooms look the same again; as if stripped of personality. as if we were never there to begin with. anyway, at this moment in time kili 204 although not my own anymore, seems to be my place of retiration. lázaro runs after me and soon puts his arm around my shoulders and lifts me up in an attempt to cheer me up. i smile through the tears but retreat into my bed as soon as we reach my room. i capitulate. i don't want to do this anymore. i curl up and lázaro curls up next to me, spoons me for one last time, his arms hugging me tightly. i cry into my own pillows this time, feeling everything and nothing all at the same time. we fall asleep for a while and mihir comes in and sits on the chair by my desk. he reaches out his hand and i hold it tight in mine. at 11:37, lázaro rises. "i need to get something for libbie, i'll meet you there" and mihir and I carry my bags out to the buses. my heart is heavy.

the first one i hug is selina, which is terrible because it means instant weeping. i hug her for a long time before letting go. i'll miss this girl so much. i'll miss our afternoons climbing and her giggles brighting up my days; our friendship pure, like there's nothing clouding it. no judgements nor expectations; just us two, and the rocks, of course. 

and then josefine and anchor and nacho and benja and grace and chloe and andy and simen and kadin and carlie and my buddy and elias and even josh and of course my tiny bean avital. all the people that i'm going to miss endlessly. and hugging mihir over and over again, my best friend and my brother. and lázaro and his yellow john deere hat. i sob in his arms.

i see doug in the distance and embrace him in a long hug. my arms reach just around his waist, my left hand holding tightly to my thumb. i cry in his arms for a long time while he murmurs his final doug-comments to me; the inspirational and motivational and sentimental ones that he always voices on the last day of class before break. "it's okay to be sad right now and it's going to be sad for a while but then it's going to be ok. you'll stay in touch with your friends, and you'll see them all again-- including me" and i can feel him doing his little indian nod with my head against his chest. "it's going to be alright" he tells me and kisses my forehead. "i love you girl, take care".

and right before i get on the bus, elias gives me one last hug. "i realized why it hurts so much to say goodbye to you -- it's like saying goodbye to a sister". i cry in his arms, my head reaching only up to his stomach.

on my last bus ride to sunport, i weep on libbie's shoulder. 

00:18:

and so we depart montezuma, but forever this time. i have never felt this empty in my entire life. 

05:56:

i say goodbye to hugh before boarding my flight to salt lake. he's in a heated discussion about...something, with pablo. i can't even recall what they were talking about, but i smile because it's so typical. i tap his shoulder and say that i'm boarding and he looks at his watch, says "really? already?" and rises into an embrace. we hug for a long time, his grip slowly getting tighter as he says his goodbyes. "keep yourself busy because you tend to overthink things. and that's coming from someone like me". small chuckle and i never want to let go. and then he says "alright get the fuck outta here" and shoos me towards my gate. "shut up" i say and hug him again. "i'll miss you, hugh" i tell him. "i'll miss you too, man". "thank you for everything" i tell him. he replies with his signature confident nod with a crooked little smile; the one that i would hate at any other point in time because it's obnoxious and prideful and because it screams of confidence and "hey, that's just what I do" or "i gotchu" but with the sun still hiding behind the mountains, it's just not as reassuring as usual. i'm on the verge of crying and i think he is too. maybe the mush is finally hitting him. i turn around with tears in my eyes. and then i realize that there is so much more i want to say; that i admire him so much and that i'm sorry about everything. at 7:41 i send him a message: "oh also-- promise you'll let me know when you're back in the states after your gap year and we'll go climb together:)!!" the smiley without space to the words nor the exclamation marks to signify that it's a careless message, that it's casual, that i haven't thought about it at all. truth is i did think about it a lot. truth is this boy is an asshole but i'll miss him endlessly. not seeing him for at least a year is a weird thought, and truth is i can't wait until we see each other again. he replies "for sure, take care this summer and go climb some scary stuff. scary is good sometimes."

i hope he's right. 

 

#4: on my final days, sisters, brothers, and gratitude (may 23)

i spend my last days in montezuma breathing in every moment with the deepest breaths possible. i breathe the spirit of love; devour the atmosphere of compassion; ravage the last moments i have with the people that i love. i breathe out anxiety; sigh out fear. it's so hard. graduation is making me so anxious and i'm so scared.

i try to make the most out of my last ten days. one day i go into the woods with adam, tessa, and lázaro. we eat buffalo pretzels on a blanket in the woods behind the dwan light. it's a nice afternoon.the day after that, i go climbing with selina and doug comes along. he's been wanting to 'check out what we're doing' for a while now so we invite him to our friday morning climbing session and show him upper wifi. i admire him a lot for coming with us; for being so open and honest in conversation, for being so curious, and for treating us as if we were friends rather than students, as if he could learn from us. selina and I climb some problems; the environmentalist, monday morning, and i finally figure out beta to the heel-hook problem and send it. finally. been working on it for a long time. after a while, the d-boys show up: kadin, hugh, lázaro, and jack. i love all four of them to bits. we chill out on the crashpad and the hammocks for a while, listening to doug's stories. it becomes one of my favorite mornings ever.

and the night after that becomes one of my favorite nights ever as selina, hugh, and i meet up in the fieldhouse right after check, grab the crash pad and venture out into the woods. my headlamp is weak and i stumble across the rocks but we hike faster than ever before; night pitch black but air t-shirt warm. selina and i take silly pictures at the viewpoint and hugh climbs problems without headlamps, trusting his instincts as he climbs up monday morning: a problem i freak out on even in daylight. i envy him. as we hike down from upper wifi for the last time i realize it's exactly a week left until graduation. "this time next week we'll all be on the bus to albuquerque. how strange".

on our last sunday ever, me and the girls decide to bike into town for brunch. little do we know that all the bikes are freaking broken. and all of us half-dead after our different adventures from the night before. we catch adrian as he drives up to the castle and i half-jokingly ask him if he would pick up some hitch-hikers and drive us to travelers. "sure", he replies to my surprise and we get in his van. traveler's closed. it's sunday. and mother's day. everything's closed. we wander down the strip and finally there's one restaurant that's open; new mexican. me and carlie split huevos rancheros and then we lay in the grass in a park somewhere where a kid's throwing a birthday party with bouncy castles and fancy food.

and then, after a week of freedom, studying starts again. i refuse to move into the cafeteria again, so i spend days leaving my room only to go to the bathroom. when i'm not studying, i write. i spend evenings typing up 8302 words trying to convey all the feelings i have in my heart for all the people that i love; 8302 words in memories and gratitude. i pour my heart and soul into these words; i tell people how much i admire them, how much i love them, how much they mean to me. to benja i write about our first conversation and stargazing in the pecos wilderness. to avital i write about the heady smell of lilacs on my art desk and the taste of gummy vitamins. to zsuzsa i write about our sunday evenings watching girls and to both of them i write about cohabiting, bathroom conversations, and collapsing on the blend of blue carpet underneath the yellow lights of the hallway on party nights. to doug and andrew i thank them for being role models and to my roomate i thank her for being her. to mihir i write about him becoming my brother and to simen and lázaro i write about how denali 212 became home; how my best friends were only a barefoot run away; eighteen steps over crumbly cement, balancing my steps to avoid small rocks piercing the sole of my foot. 2+4 and 3 and the sharp right turn and then simen's surprised-but-as-time-progressed-not-so-surprised-anymore face as i knock once and swing open the door. more a warning than courtesy at this point. more a saying ”hey, here i am” than asking ”can i come in?”. and then fairy lights covered with tiny lanterns and the little label saying ”laz’s life” on it hanging from the ceiling; the top ten canadians and the smell of his polo cologne filling up the room; occupying all the sweatshirts that i’ve stolen, a smell of safety and comfort and serenity that i could drown in. i spend nights carefully writing these 8302 words of feelings and memories and gratitude onto 20 swedish flags; the reek of sharpie lingering in my room.

two days before grad i write my final exam. it feels so underwhelming.

; and two days before grad i also sit in the hot springs with lázaro and i tell him "i hate this. there is just so much that needs to be done -- i need to pack up my entire room and i need to finish all my flags and there were exams until now and it's stressing me out" and he says "anneli, you've spent two years here and you've gotten the most out of every single day of those days. tomorrow's for packing, tomorrow's for being alone. tomorrow's for closure". and the day before graduation i spend alone. i spend it throwing away stuff i've accumulated over two years, packing down notes dear to me, writing by my desk, eating avocados for breakfast. but the night i want to spend with everyone else.

and so i spend it in the IT with the people that i love the most: my happy singles and the d-boys. i spend it hiding from security with karen at 1am in the morning, and i spend it freezing in the MB courtyard at 2. at 3, i'm spending it with tom and kadin and lázaro underneath the shine of lazaro's yellow ceiling light; his room painfully stripped from everything it used to be. at 4, i'm spending it losing my birkenstocks while dancing to paradise city, and at 5 i'm spending it in chum storage room with grace and zsuzsa, talking about things that hurt when they shouldn't. at 5:30 i'm finally in bed. i set my alarm for 8:15 but i wake up at 7:30, strangely awake for having slept only two hours. zsuzsa makes eggs for breakfast and we get dressed together and then we head out to the castle stairs for our class photo. and then we spend our last moments in the library, line up for grad, walk in, walk out, hug people, and then grad is over just like that.

and then two years came to an end, just like that.

and now i have my diploma and my studentmössa and a thousands of memories that i wouldn't exchange for anything else in this world. and now, three days after everything ended, i miss it more than anything that i've ever missed.

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