A beautiful mess of sunsets and a blur of individually wrapped mints


Alexis Nieves

One of my many senior photos taken in the middle of a field right before it rained.

Senior year has been a blur—a blur of pastels and convoluted greys and thinking that it’s still September. A blur of brown couches, individually wrapped mints, Avery, Nat, and blue walls.

Preparations for my future, driving home barefoot, and screaming different lyrics while my windows are down. Being told I give off “Hobby Lobby mom” energy at lunch, falling out of love with my favorite jeans, and accumulating more cardigans than I’ll ever wear.

“Down” by Oh Wonder, scattered episodes of New Girl, and the notes written on construction paper that are taped around my room are to thank for feeling stagnant—stuck in an in-between.  

Caught between independence and being dependent on those around me. Getting lost somewhere between enjoying the moment and missing it before it’s even over. 

Neon lights that burn my eyes and illuminate the sidewalk below my converse-clad feet and notifications that my screen time is up 12% from last week. Pleading with time to slow down while updating my Christmas countdown and rushing past fall.

Buying more books to add to the stack next to my bed but falling asleep before I can crack the cover open. Buying plants and repotting them at 1 a.m. for something to do during the hours when I can’t sleep and the pile of books haunts me.  

Time is simultaneously moving too fast for me to keep up and too slow for me to pay attention to it. 

Senior year has been a mess—a beautiful mess of sunsets and more Chai Lattes than I care to admit. Sinking into the comfort of my bed and combing through my family’s library that lives in an unused linen closet.

My days consist of college visits and discovering new favorite artists and begging for warmer weather.

Saturday mornings picking glitter from my scalp and rinsing the remnants of school spirit from my face. Spending the night on friends’ couches after falling asleep to Dance Moms—presentation nights and pumpkin desserts.

I’m enjoying every second of growing into an extroverted introvert, of having my schedule packed with car rides and library trips and getting coffee. 

My days consist of college visits and discovering new favorite artists and begging for warmer weather.

Senior year is flying by—we’re a quarter of the way done. 

A quarter of the way through early mornings categorizing different rocks and evenings spent on math homework. Updating my Goodreads account and over-watering my plants. 

Realizing I have no more Homecomings to look forward to and waiting for my last Halloween in my childhood home. 

I’m stuck between wanting to be eighteen, wanting to vote, and wanting to move out into a place of my own and wishing I was still twelve. 

Reminiscing over old photos tucked away in drawers and smiling at the Polaroids on my desk. Looking through old journals in my closet and throwing away old art supplies.

Using these columns to decompress and using these columns to process my senior year that has been a blur, my senior year that has been a mess, my senior year that is a quarter of the way done.