Scattered moments and memories that’ll be left behind


Emma Zawacki

a picture I took on my way to target this past weekend

I scratched my name into the walls of a pizzeria last weekend in Chicago.

We had taken refuge from the cold at a table just big enough for the six of us and talked about our shopping endeavors as the air that smelled of pizza filled our lungs. 

And my mom, being the one that never seems to be embarrassed by odd requests and asking for pictures, asked our waitress for a Sharpie. The black pen gracefully glided over the bumpy walls as all six of us took our turns sliding into the booth next to us to write on the wall already covered in names. My sister and I signed the date of our arrival as my father wrote a love note to my mother and my brother wrote a reference to his favorite inappropriate TV show. 

I’m no longer in Chicago. 

I’m sitting in my math class writing this column after taking a Trigonometry test, but my name’s still on that wall in one of the busy cities I hope to one day end up in.

A city full of people living out my dream.

But instead, I painted a ceiling tile this past week. 

We painted Koi fish for no reason other than we thought they were cute, and we thought they’d be easy to draw.

Us seniors gathered in the lunchroom after school, and I snagged a table with my best friend since elementary school. Together, we mixed paints, and I sketched out our image so it would look perfect when we stood in the hallway and craned our necks to stare at it during lunch a few days later. 

Our ceiling tile

We painted Koi fish for no reason other than we thought they were cute, and we thought they’d be easy to draw. The blue of our tile stands out from the sea of orange it’s been wedged between, and our initials are signed in the corners on top of painted lily pads to identify our tile.

I spilled blue paint on my favorite pair of shoes. Not only will I be a part of this school after I leave, but my tile will be a part of all my outfits till my mom makes me throw away my Converse that are no longer white.

I adore the idea of some part of me becoming some part of this school even after I’ve left, whether that’s in the form of a ceiling tile or the walls of Room 139.

As the semester is coming to a close, I’ve put a lot of thought into what I want my brick in Mr. George’s room to look like—a brick that may quite possibly be painted red in a few months.

All I know currently is that I’ll take a lot of time to carefully sketch out my design and paint within the lines only to hate it upon completion regardless—that’s how all my artistic endeavors seem to work themselves out. 

Avery, Nat, and I have had our names scribbled across our four tiles for months, putting thought into the order we wanted them in and where our combined editors’ brick should lay; mine gets to rest in the middle, directly between Nat and Avery just like where I’ve sat this whole semester. 

It’s comforting to know that in some capacity, I’ll never quite stop being wedged between the two of them, between my constants in a sea of change.

And even after we graduate and have lives of our own, some part of our souls will still be here, stressed over stories and editing and rubrics, but as seniors, nonetheless, soaking up their last year at home before leaving and making our marks somewhere else in this world.