It was only yesterday


Jessica Mix

Journaling over a clear pool in Oregon during spring break last year, only days after editor decisions came out. I think I like the person I am now better.

It feels like we started this all just yesterday. It feels like mere weeks ago that I saw my name in an email, the beginning of the fulfillment of dreams I’d held like something opalescent and bright since I was fourteen years old. And now, I’m nearing the end. 

I’m standing here on this sidewalk, in the shadow of all the lasts standing a couple cement blocks away. 

I did my second to last profile interview this morning, cross-legged on the floor in the hallway. As I walked back to room 139/140 with a 17-minute interview saved to my phone, I remembered my little freshman self, with her first interview ever—a stunningly short four minutes—and wondered how proud she’d be of me, because interviews like that are standard now, because I write profiles that tell stories. 

My next editor’s column will be my last. And only a few weeks after that, I’ll write my final column ever—a goodbye, if I can manage. I remember when I’d save column ideas to my Notes app, the days before I could so easily spill my heart onto the page.

There’s some number of school days remaining until graduation—a number that people keep repeating but I can’t quite recall because I’ve refused to let it sink in. I won’t let it sink in until too late I think. 

I worry it’ll be more than goodbye to four years of zero secrets; I worry it’ll be goodbye to the girl who didn’t want to keep those secrets.

Because it feels like we started all of this just yesterday. It feels like I have more time—that the end can’t possibly be so soon. I have to have more time. There are four years of words etched onto this site, and yet, it’s not enough—not enough time, not enough words. 

My mind is overflowing with everything I need to tell you. For four years, I’ve been giving you all of my words, embracing and exploring the world through them, and without that, I can’t help but worry I’m going to lose a piece of myself. 

These words, though I’m not sure what they’ve done for anyone else, have given me everything and more, everything that I consider to be myself. And when they shape themselves into a goodbye, something suffering under too much pressure to say everything I have left to say, I worry it’ll be more than goodbye to four years of zero secrets; I worry it’ll be goodbye to the girl who didn’t want to keep those secrets. 

So I’m crying on this couch—and I’ve become so comfortable here, my tears joining all the others that have soaked into these golden-brown threads. Next year, I won’t have this couch. I won’t have this space for my words. I won’t have the same proximity I’ve never second guessed. 

My feet will stand on new earth. I’ll see new sunsets, experience even greater love. Maybe life will unfold more of her secrets to me. But you won’t be here for me to tell you about it at all. 

In fewer weeks than I can stand, I must take these roots, the ones that extend so far beneath the lines of every column on this site, and plant them elsewhere. In fewer weeks than I can stand, this site will no longer show who I am—only who I once was. 

I’ve found a million different phrases to try to placate these racing thoughts—a million different patches for the holes this fear is tearing through me—but my heart isn’t in it. I trust for a moment, and then I fall again. I’ve always been flimsy, and now, as often as I feel inexplicably alone, I can’t stand to have only my own erratic hand to hold—can’t stand to depend on the whim of my own emotions.

Four years ago, I would’ve tried to give this a happy ending, something to make this seem less hopeless. Four years ago, I would’ve been scared to share something so direct—so vulnerable. I still resolutely believed that The Central Trend was not my diary. 

But it’s four years later, and I don’t have a happy ending. I have more questions than I have answers. It’s four years later, and vulnerability is almost comfortable now—my fears are greater giants I can’t face. It’s four years later, and I have so many different diaries—notebooks everywhere, poetry saved in different apps on my phone.

It’s four years later, but I blinked once, and it was over. We started all of this just yesterday. I’m not ready to say goodbye yet.