on best friends, bureaucracy and borderline breakdowns

it’s been the weirdest 48 hours ever. like taken out of a movie scene. flash flash flash scenes flashing before me, rolling faster and faster and faster and in the end it’s just one big blur of rolling film that just flashes in front of my eyes. it’s strange and i don’t like it.

it’s weird how fast things change around here. i’ve always said that if i could choose one word to describe the UWC experience with, it would be intense. it really is. ”highest highs and lowest lows”, i always say. it really is. a couple of day ago this community hit one of it lows, and I, one of my lowest lows.

one of my best friends left campus yesterday. it feels surreal. i don’t think i’ve quite grasped it yet. 

the morning everything is turned upside down, i sit at brunch stressing out over work. ”come visit ima crash for a little while again” he texts me. 20 minutes later i walk into his room and ”i’m ignoring work so hard right nooowwww” i complain. we talk about life. i lay down on his fleece blanket, the one he puts over his sheets so that no one’s dirt and germs ever get onto the space he sleeps in. no one has ever gotten to touch his duvet or pillow except for himself. not without the fleece blanket over it. last year he wouldn’t even let me up on the bed. not to forget the taped line he had by his door that indicated where you needed to take off your shoes before you entered his space. the afternoon after everything was turned upside down, i lie down on top of his duvet and let my eyes wet down his pillow. the fleece blanket is tucked into the corner of his bed, much like all his other things: scattered across the floor and pushed into places where they’ve probably never been before (knowing what a clean freak he is). 

”ahhh.. dewey”, like all the teachers say when you say his name. ahh, dewey. it’s been one hell of a ride. i miss you so much, already.

on the day that everything is turned upside down, i play ultimate frisbee. we play from 3:30-5. halfway through our game we hear the fire alarm go off. ”ahh MB’s fire alarm just went off!” someone laughs. i crack up. ”incense 2.0?” i yell out. think back of that one time dewey accidentally set off the fire alarm last year.

at 5:45 i’m heading up to the castle for winter concert rehearsals. i’m playing with the string ensemble. mozart and a capriole suite. i find him outside MB. one sentence changes everything. i give him a long hug before i have to rush up. ”i love you so fucking much dewey wtf” i text him. ”it was the unluckiest chain of events ever” he replies.

after the concert, i sit on the fleece blanket in his room. he tells me what happened. ”talk to doug”, i tell him. and he goes off into the dark. i sit in his room with elias. we listen to blonde. i think back to orientation. this was how we became friends, me and elias. i laid down on dewey’s floral fleece neatly laid across the bed, and he sat by his desk, and we listened to blonde together. where dewey was, i can’t remember. tears roll down my cheek.

the morning after the day that everything is turned upside down, i message him as soon as i wake up. ”any updates?” i ask him. ”i have a meeting at 12.15” he replies. i bring him a capri sun, and give him a long hug. ”i love you and you got this”, i tell him. he’s in his signature bathrobe. ”i’m so fucking nervous” he says.

i go to the village meeting we are holding in the auditorium. ”what are some of the happiest moments you’ve had here since you came?” the head of school asks us. a lot of people raise their hand. they all say the same thing: this community. 

we talk about how beautiful this community is. how strong it seems to be this year. how much everyone is looking out for each other and what an amazing support system exists here. when the meeting is wrapped up, it is wrapped up by the words of a promise: a continuation of growing stronger; together.

after the meeting i go to dewey’s room. he’s gotten out of his bathrobe and into a smart casual attire. and his signature salmon pink raf simons x adidas.

i go up to lunch. i don’t feel like eating anything, but i have a cup of tea. the rest of the time i sit in josh’s room in silence. when the little dot turns green next to dewey’s name on my phone, i text him. ”dewey?”. ”sup. come by” he tells me.

i run down the stairs and fly open his door. ”so?” i ask him. he points to the suitcase on the floor. ”no. no. no. fuck”. i embrace him and we cry together. ”it was bound to happen” he tells me. ”it is what it is”.

and the rest of the afternoon is one big blur of emotion. i can’t believe it is happening. 

when he leaves at seven, we all walk down to the welcome center in the dark. he hugs everyone, one by one. the lights glaring from the welcome center and the dorms. but never as bright as the light and love from our hearts. i sit in the end of the circle and i never want him to make his way around. i don’t want to get up and hug him, because i know that’ll be the last hug i’ll have in a while. i have hugged him infinitely many times that day already but i can’t let this be the last one. avital helps me up. ”annerii” he says. i hug him harder than ever before. ”i love you so fucking much”. ”i fucking love you too” he says. and then he walks towards the car and the MB boys embrace him one last time and i run up to grab my last hug too. another last one. ”i’ll see you on the airport on friday, okay?”. 

and then he’s off. 

the days that follow are the days that i live and breathe now. it’s been a hell-hole of emotion. the night he leaves i sit down in the hallway with zsuzsa, avital, and josefine. and then we sit in linda and naomi’s house and talk about mental health. this place is a dark place, sometimes. after check, othmane comes over with a slice of nutella pizza and we talk about change and revolution. i never finish my EE.

and i wake up the morning after and i don’t want to go to class. the bags under my eyes are darker than ever before. my face is red from the non-stop crying from the day before. i hand in my EE, 8h too late. ”The important thing is that you got this done” my advisor tells me. ”Take care and get some rest when you can”. 

i go to social A and sit down next to mihir. the seat to my left echoes emptier than ever before. i am still waiting for dewey to roll up with his unsustainable(!!) paper cup from the caf, not even filled with hot beverages but his signature mix of lemonade and juice. and the ice would scramble as he walks in three minutes too late. and todd would glare at him and he would smirk and sit down and say ”sorry Todd”. 

but that never happened that day. 

”still waiting for you to roll up to social A” i text him. tears roll down my face. ”I can’t believe you’re actually gone”.

we talk about capitalism and it’s so weird not having him besides me chuckling about what is being said. no more examples about capitalist dewey on wall street. no more jokingly demeaning comments from marxist Todd. it’s strange. just different.

we video call later. ”my heart just fucking stings” he says. ”it just hurts so much. my mental health is falling to crumbles. i’m scared i will actually crumble” he continues. ”i thought i’d become a better person at UWC. i definitely left that place as a better person than when i got there”. i nod. ”yeah, you’ve definitely grown a lot” i tell him. ”i’m just so worried about my future” he says. tells me he’s not sure what he wants to do will suit him, will be right for him. i don’t really know what to say but it breaks my heart. dewey has always known what he wants. he’s always been so rational and dedicated and set in his goals. he’s one of the most hard-working people i know. and his honesty is something he should cherish. not be upset about. or fear.

he goes to eat breakfast. ”go to class.” he tells me. i can’t focus.

it’s strange how fast things change here. dewey has always been one of my closest friends, but even more so this semester. on the day that everything was turned upside down, i wrote him a letter. ”you are like a brother to me” i write. ”i don’t know if i’ve ever told you that before but that’s really what it is. you’re like the brother i never had here. the one that does stupid shit and that you roll your eyes at because they’re dumb and you hate them, but you love them so much, all at the same time. you’re like the little brother that’s naive and annoying, yet the big brother that listens and understands and that is always there for you”. it makes me sad because in many ways i feel like i took that for granted. 

dewey for me was a person who’s door would always be open, and one of the few people i actually made an effort to visit and hang out with this semester. all the times i’ve given him fashion advice, and him showing me expensive online shopping and online poker and my social A revision companion and all the countless times lying on his bed talking about boys. i could talk to dewey about anything. no-filtered. i was never scared of bringing anything up because i knew he would never judge me. not for real. he is one of the most good-hearted people i know, and i’m sad because that’s a side not a lot of people see of him, and that’s what i keep telling people, over and over again. ”he gets so much undeserved shit”, i say, although, to some extent, i might be wrong. actually, thinking about it, it’s definitely deserved. only an idiot would get himself off campus. it just happened to be the most brilliant one.

and it pains me that this had to happen to our community. i thought we were left with a promise of continual growth. together.


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