Emily tells a joke, in her usual sarcastic fashion, and we all laugh hysterically. This exact scene has happened many times before, as if we are broken recorders. But today, I see it a little differently, perhaps from the angle of an audience member who happened to catch the crew backstage, moments before their big show. A flash of real emotion. A glint in our eyes—of what exactly I don’t know—perhaps anticipation, a little vulnerability, maybe even boredom.
Exact scenes like this have played out before me so many times before, to the point of feeling infinite. But I am shocked by all the things I had never noticed before. Everything comes to me in bizarre fragments.
“Dude Sarah, why are you spacing out?” Lucy jabs me in the stomach, not aggressively, but hard enough to jolt me from my state of quiet contemplation.
“I was having a moment!”
The others burst out into laughter again. I pretend to be pissed off.
But I’m sure we all know, on some level, that this moment of happiness is brought by ignoring our reality. We will soon outgrow our status as teenagers. A year from now, all of us will know the place we will spend the next four years of our lives at. If our current plans fall in place, this could be one of the last Octobers we will spend together.
In the not so distant future, it is very likely that these faces I have grown so familiar to will belong to strangers. Emily was talking about doing a fancy Balayage to her hair; I don’t tell her that if one day she actually went through it, I might struggle to recognize her. In my mind, she will always be that spunky tomboy with a flair for (occasionally brutal) honesty.
I know them so well and yet I have no way of guaranteeing that I will forever.
After eight years together, I can feel the strings binding us tugging at ends. Maybe I would be happy living this moment with them forever. But I wouldn’t be satisfied. Being together for so long brought familiarity but it also lulled us into a state of stasis; it was hard to reinvent yourself outside the confines that had already been established.
As supportive as we all were of each other, we had sent day-in and day-out with each other for eight years.
So much has happened. So much has not happened.
Such is life.
Emily wants to be a lawyer—she has a strong sense of justice, someone who is practical and matter-of-fact but also full of empathy. Lucy wants to be a nutritionist—the mommy of our group, she is responsible and protective and made us swear that during college, we will never eat fast food, no matter how stressed or we are. April wants to be a veterinarian—she has filled her entire camera with pictures of her dog, and he was all she could talk about for weeks. We haven’t gotten it all figured out yet but we’re ambitious. And we have dreams. And we’re young.