Look at you with your adorable academic buildings and columns. Your little pedestrian-friendly cross walks all over campus. Your beautiful, graduation-ready grass. Your bronze statues of important historical figures that mildly drunk people can stumble upon and take irreverent pictures with…
You are the prime example of what a college town should be.
There’s a good mix of both liberals and conservatives, with a sprinkling of farmer’s markets plus organic stores for hippies and just a dash of excitement when it’s election time because in a swing state, your vote actually counts. There’s a club for everything – hey, we even have a Quidditch team, though I hear that’s a rather common league in the universities these days.
You and I have had some good times, Columbia. Some really, truly good times.
Remember that time that we were all dressed up for formal, in these short, skimpy dresses, and it started snowing? So what did we do? We got out and took pictures of us in formal dresses…in the snow. At Tiger Plaza. Remember when it happened again at Beetle Bailey for ResHall Ball?
Speaking of snow, remember the first time that I ever saw real snow and my suite-mate and I danced around in it in our pajamas? Remember when I spent an inadvisable number of hours out in the 3.5 foot-deep snow my sophomore year? For that matter – remember the time I spent a ridiculous amount of time waiting in line to see Obama? Worth it, in case you were wondering.
Remember when I took Hilary to the football game and my ridiculous coworkers lifted her over their heads? Remember when I discovered that I actually liked nature at Capen? Remember every late night I ever spent squeezed into a booth at the Broadway Diner? Stuff went down there, man…never let it be said that CoMo is boring in the wee hours of the morning.
All the memories weren’t of good choices, of course. I’ve made a lot of foolish decisions as well.
Remember when I saw Thank You For Smoking at midnight the night before my Geology final? Remember that insane night that I was on call for Halloween? Remember Cinco weekend my senior year? Good, I’m glad someone does, because I sure don’t.
Remember the time that I drove through that blizzard because I was so anxious to leave?
I had no idea how much I would miss you one day. I should have waited out the storm, but I was just so blind. I was so ready to get out of dodge five years ago, and all I wanted to do yesterday was stay forever.
These memories of good and bad decisions will always be there, even when I’m old and gray and I don’t remember much other than my name, I’ll live in those memories. The teeny, tiny part of me that isn’t terrified of growing old is excited about spending all my time remembering my misadventures.
Of course, our relationship is more than just the memories. Right now, for example, what is most important (as with any relationship) is how you make me feel.
You make me feel like I can do anything.
Like I can be my own person, and be happy with who that person is.
Like my life has purpose.
Columbia, you make me a better person.
You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.
You’re my knight in shining armor.
You….complete me. (Do I owe Tom Cruise a royalty for that?)
But sadly, our love is not to be. This whole long-distance thing…it’s just not working out. I mean, yeah, I can see you through the internet pages of the Missourian. I can check out books from your library and mail them back when I finish them. And our visits have always been enjoyable. But Caitlin’s moving away, which means that I don’t have any real, legit reason to frequent your wooded hills anymore.
And let’s not forget the biggest problem: we’re changing. The both of us. We can’t pretend anymore.
I, for example, and getting too old to get psyched for laser tag or midnight premieres. And you, well, you’re undergoing a lot of physical changes. How do you think I felt coming back to discover that not only was my old ghetto-fab home renovated and fancy now, but also that my first home in CoMo, good old Mark Twain, had been completely stripped bare?
That’s just not right. And the changes extend beyond campus. It’s just not the same anymore, Columbia. You’re not the same.
Mind you, I had a great time visiting this weekend. I saw all the normal sights, had one last trip to Trops (which I tormented T-ho with), ate one last cup of the only ice cream I like in the whole world, and today, I had one last slice of Shakespeare’s Pizza. And now, it’s time to let go. Because, as they say, if you love something, you should let it go.
You’ve lost that loving feeling…but no amount of serenading from the Penguin will be able to bring it back.
This is hard to hear, I know. It’s hard for me to say…or, rather, write.
Please, don’t do anything too desperate.
Don’t drink the poison from the priest.
Don’t fall on your sword.
And, for the love of God, don’t start listening to Air Supply.
I understand how you feel. I mean, when I left, I was scared of flying away from the state and never feeling the rest of my whole life the way I feel when I’m with you.
So I know it’s scary. I mean, it has to be to have me quoting Dirty Dancing. You know I hate that movie.
You have to be strong. For the future. There will be others, I promise you. In fact, there are a lot of others right now. Others who may be graduating this week will come back to visit for years. And just think of all the hot young things who are waiting anxiously to move into town in the fall? So many possibilities, so many relationships just beginning.
But us? Well, our day in the sun has come to an end.
It truly has been an affair to remember. And hey…we’ll always have Homecoming, right?
Here’s looking at you, kid-