I’m drowning in the endings, the finales, and the absolutes


Emma Zawacki

The greenhouse in the Downtown Market as the sun was starting to set

We’re approaching a territory full of lasts, and everything in me is screaming to turn around, to run from the absoluteness of it all. 

To lock myself away so I don’t have to face any of these final bows, so the tears can’t catch up to me. Because what started as an email in a parking lot is ending on a brown, tear-stained couch, and I have so much left to say—so many words I want displayed on this site, but time isn’t on my side. 

There are no words to express how grateful I am for the blue walls and the people in them.

Those blue walls were a safe haven for me my sophomore year, a home my junior year, and my world my senior year. I grew into my personality in this room, like the buds growing this spring, and made some of my closest friends.

I have this site to thank for my college major.

And this will be my 249th story on this site, my second to last editor’s column, and I don’t think I’m handling it well.

Every single one of my editor’s columns this year have been about my hatred for absolutes and finales and endings, and now I’m drowning in them. 

We’ll make our last calendar, publish our last stories, and say one last goodbye to room 139/140 in just a few short weeks.

The three of us found out we were going to be editors 364 days ago. It was my mom’s birthday, and I was in the backseat of a red minivan when the email was sent, and my first phone call was to Avery from the school’s parking lot. And now, it’s coming to an end.

I—we—didn’t know what we were in for.

Maybe if I wish on enough stars and plead with enough saints I’ll be allowed to hold onto this moment forever, but the universe isn’t on my side, shooing me into a world I’m scared to be a part of.

But now we do, and I’m grieving this experience before it’s even over.

Because soon, there will be no more mornings squished between Nat and Avery and no more coffee runs to go on during hour delays. The stories in pending won’t be our responsibilities, and I’ll be in Missouri—hours away from the both of them. 

And I’ve grown accustomed to the safety and security that greets me when I walk through the doorway and don’t quite know how to function without it. 

And I’m terrified for what’s to come after I’m not posting three times every two weeks, terrified I’ll lose this skill I’ve treasured for the past three years, and with it, the only way I know how to emote.

Every moment since last March has been spent planning; we’ve organized calendars, Countless Thanks, Q&As, Valentine’s Day bake sales, a Senior Edition, and feature lists. And I’ve been able to plan every moment up until now, control the situation enough to satisfy my control issues, but now I can’t, and I’m being forced to process the tears as they fall down my face.

Our journey started less than glamorously. In a parking lot, and later, camped at Natalie’s dining room table, slaving over a calendar for August and September, only taking breaks to run to JoAnn’s and to work on our staff profiles before collapsing on her living room couch for the night, a cocoon of blankets and pillows and bliss.

Our journey is going to end in tears. 

I wrote a column to Nat and Avery at the end of last year, thanking them for dyeing our beginning blue, but now there are too many things to thank them for, a comforting presence within a constant sea of orange and noise and change.

But if I know one thing, I wouldn’t have traded the past 364 days on this brown couch with the both of you for anything.

Maybe if I wish on enough stars and plead with enough saints, I’ll be allowed to hold onto this moment forever, but the universe isn’t on my side, shooing me into a world I’m scared to be a part of.

I’m not ready to say goodbye, and I suppose this column is me easing into the idea of it.