I don’t really understand my life right now. Everything’s sort of in flux. I don’t know what things I’m going to apply for (if anything), I don’t know what exams I should be taking (if anything). I don’t know if I’m qualified to do anything beyond reading books, and I don’t know if I’m qualified, even, for that alone. The past few months have been such a murky mix of disparate elements and because of this I’m often confused and terrified.
But sometimes I have moments of staggering clarity. They occur when I’m most occupied and least expectant, like when I stepped off the airport bus on the 24th and onto a busy Oxford sidewalk in a startlingly cold wind, or the day a friend and I got drunk at a high table dinner and sat in the grass drinking Pimm’s mixed with lemonade in the dark afterwards, or when we lay on my carpet and stared at the ceiling and talked about the biggest question marks in our lives until 3 in the morning, or the night the same friend and I took a cab back from the hospital at midnight and I watched the dim shapes of college after college pass by outside the windows. There was also the afternoon I stood under a tree in the English countryside and took pictures of sunshine through its semi-translucent leaves, and the night at the theatre when the final scene hit and rain began pelting the stage. There were all the nights I stayed up talking to the slightly grainy countenance of my boyfriend on a bright computer screen, feeling that, despite the lag and the noise, I wasn’t alone in the room after all. There was the early morning it poured and thundered outside, and I left the window open just a hair so the smell of wet plants could drift into and fill my room four floors above the grove. There were all the hours I spent in the Radcliffe Camera, bent over a text on Evelyn Waugh and turning pages until I’d quite forgotten where I was sitting or what day of the week it was. And there was the night a few of us took a train into the city with our professor, had a wine- and cocktail-fueled dinner at La Chapelle in East London, and ended the evening by practically leaping out of a mid-motion cab to catch a bus back to campus from Marylebone.
I suppose that at this point the only thing that’s clear is that I want to keep reading deeply and feeling deeply and living in the work that I do — everything else is up in the air. But isn’t that how it goes?