Dear reader, I hope you weren't holding your breath.
I've been wanting to publish something here in this small space. May was a lovely month: the weather was gorgeous; I went to my uncle's cottage and saw the Super Moon rise over the lake; my sister came to visit me and we ate delicious Italian food and shopped until our legs turned to jello and watched bad romantic comedies over cheap bottles of wine; I was there for the rooftop birthday party and at Christie Pitts when we set off the fireworks, and I was there at Detour, an alleged hidden gem in Kensington Market, and served Wild Turkey on the rocks in a reusable plastic cup. I ate Lebanese food on a patio while catching up with a new friend, and laughed with another over plates of duck confit at Table 17, a real hidden gem. My hard drive crashed. My cell phone died. I ate homemade banana frozen yogurt. I enrolled in correspondence classes. I saw a naturopath for the first time.
And then I read Marina Keegan's final column, "The Opposite of Loneliness," in the Yale Daily News regarding the impending graduation of the class of '12. Keegan died recently in a car accident after returning from spring break; she was 22.
It's been a few years since I last graced the grounds of my college campus, but her words resonate within me. A day here in Toronto is spent hurriedly getting to the next: washing dishes, throwing together meals, reading, running errands, finishing up the last jar of the organic Coral Star peaches I bought last year at the Brickworks Farmer's Market in August, a batch of seconds no one would buy because no one in their right mind would willingly turn on their gas stove in the wild, damp heat of that afternoon to preserve a batch of the sweetest fruit. The days felt longer back then somehow, as if the magical evenings we spent at the Dominion House sipping on pints, shouting and discussing literary criticism made time stand still. I remember trudging back to my apartment across the grass with such optimism, moved by the prospect that I had my entire life ahead of me to make a mark on the world.
My experience with my classmates certainly was as Keegan states: "not quite love and not quite community." But our lives were certainly interconnected. Being in graduate school was like living on the inside for the first time. I met a group of likeminded people who felt equally strange and who had the most interesting things to say. Leaving that web wasn't easy; nothing, no great city or perfect spouse or ideal career, can replace what connection does. I was lucky to have found it once, to have found it again in Tallahassee, and to have come upon it in happenstance when I started working in catering twenty-two months ago. "Why work a full-time job and a part-time job?" I've been asked, understandably. Part of it is because I'm from Windsor. That's what we do. But mostly I want to say that it's because this is rare, this sort of thing where we can pick up where we left off, where we support each other in our endeavours, where we laugh and laugh and laugh.
You were correct, Marina; they are not THE BEST years. They are the beginning of THE BEST life. And thanks to your wisdom and foresight, so many people will take a chance and live it.