It’s Sunday evening. Curtains up: Cue me, in a cardigan and sweatpants, dark hair tied into a loose bun that screams “this is my last week of classes ever.” Yesterday’s mascara is making a sad attempt to keep me looking awake. Somehow my bed is neatly made, but there’s a half-eaten chocolate bunny at the foot. My thesis papers and reporter notebooks are everywhere. I have a final-round job interview first thing in the morning. Sheesh.
My inner monologue is something like this:
“I don’t want to write my senior column.”
“I’m not going to write a senior column. I decided.”
(Note a series of texts to friends who I try to convince that I am correct about not writing one.)
“Well, I’m sitting here writing it.”
“I still don’t want to write my senior column.”
“Why don’t I just leave a blank box? It’ll be funny.”
“Nobody cares what I have to say.”
“Do I care what I have to say?”
I had a draft of my senior column that I wrote and emailed to myself to make sure it was saved sometime back in February. Ahead of the eight ball, right? Nope. It’s gone. Poof.
I took that as a sign from the universe that I shouldn’t be writing a column at all. I wrote one letter from the editor at the start of my tenure as Editor in Chief at the on-set of junior year. I have successfully dodged writing one since then, with last-minute letters to the editor and simply reassigning my place in the column box. Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown, I guess.
Fast forward from that point in September 2012 to this Sunday. I feel like I have only blinked that bright-eyed morning to end up here.
For transparency’s sake, our fantastic sports editor here at The Setonian is also my fantastic boyfriend. We were in the car earlier and I had assumed the safest cuddled up position I could think of, tucked under his right shoulder as he drove.
He acknowledged my tough week with a peck on the forehead, and dutifully he brought up what I didn’t want to talk about. “You have to write a senior column.”
My silent refusal was pebbled with snide remarks about nobody caring what I had to say. I was met with nothing but a type of supportive disappointment, a kick in the rear that I needed but absolutely didn’t want. The great thing about significant others is that when they do their jobs correctly, they tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear.
I interrupted my begrudged column writing to go to 8:00 p.m. mass with my roommate. It was especially lovely.
The communion hymn (which everyone knows plays about 15 times in a packed church so that everyone can receive communion) was How Great Thou Art.
My mind throws me back almost exactly a year. Sunday was the 27th.
That hymn is one of my favorites. It always sneaks up on me – the first verse is so nice, and as the chorus rings closer, I remember the words and become overwhelmed with emotion.
My best friend of nearly a decade lost her father after his two-year battle with melanoma on April 28, 2013. Best friend is a light term for her; she is my sister in nearly every sense, and her father was as much mine. I was as much his daughter to the point where he would tell strangers at dinner that I was his stepdaughter. His funeral was that Friday, May 3rd.
And the hymn he chose to have his aunt sing for him at the funeral’s end? How Great Thou Art.
I am someone incredibly guarded, but that song does not let me hold back my tears. I thought I was hiding them well as everyone ahead of me was occupied with communion, but clearly my room- mate (our managing editor) knew something was amiss. In her role as my right hand lady, she placed her hand at the crux of my arm to remind me that I would be okay.
I got home and texted my best friend that the song had played. She responded briefly.
“Bruce did that for you.”
I often reflect on the less glamorous parts of my life during college. Sure, there have been plenty of stressful, upsetting or tragic moments along the way.
Underneath it all rests a ton of happiness and blessings that would make me selfish to overlook.
Just today I clearly got the sort of poetic justice that I am lucky enough to have column space to retell. I am thankful for the people around me, even on my toughest days.
From the incredible memories with the best friends I acquired from doing the newspaper to the amazing career opportunities I received over my four years here, I have so much else to be thankful for.
I think I’m glad I wrote my column. I’ve realized that I care about what I have to say.
Charlotte Lewis is a senior journalism major from Verona, N.J. She can be reached at email@example.com.