From the backseat of my car, yet another goodbye


JT Zawacki

Rylie and I in Orlando for spring break watching the sunset

This column was suppose to be about how, for the last few weeks, I’ve felt comfortable.

It was going to be about how I’ve been accepting the change that is happening in the present and processing it before shoving it out of the forefront of my mind and being present; for once in my life, I was trying to live in the moment and actually felt like I was accomplishing it.

I was proud of myself.

Because I was going to write about how, for the first time, I got to play the interviewee last week. Lauren sat me down in the hallway and asked me questions about myself that I’ve spent the past three years asking others, questions that took me three years to perfect, and she’s already got it figured out, a natural at turning an interview into a conversation. 

This was going to be about fitting nine kids into a singular car all spring break long, eating pizza in a friend’s bed on a random Monday, the tornado that is my table mates in AP Lit, the girl I’ve spent every weekend with that reminds me of pandas and bunk beds and soft things. I wanted to write about how I’m learning Polish on Duolingo and how I thought I was going to die while in the backseat of Avery’s car and how I’m handling the countdown to graduation gracefully.

But, I’m not anymore. 

And I’m mad at myself for it. Mad that I’m no longer in the sunshine state, mad that I can’t get past the beginner levels of Polish, mad that I can’t spend every night in the same bunk bed I’ve spent my weekends in since fifth grade.

When I wrote in my first Editors’ Column and said that my head and my heart would be at war, I thought I was being dramatic.

Now, I’m listening to an Olivia O’Brien song with a swear word in the title on repeat while I get mad at myself for grieving, for falling apart, for not being ok. Now, I’m trying not to cry in my own backseat at my brother’s soccer practice because I’m an angry crier and always have been. Now, I’m no longer comfortable with the place I’ve put myself.

I’m mad because I have only so many days of school left, and I feel like I’m not doing enough, and I’m mad at myself for doing too much and not giving myself enough time for myself. 

And now I’m mad because I don’t have any more words to express my anger, and I’m sad that I’m almost at the end of my high school experience, thrilled to be done so soon—at war with myself. 

When I wrote my first Editors’ Column and said that my head and my heart would be at war, I thought I was being dramatic. 

I’m sad that this is a waste of a column, my angry ramblings spit onto a piece of paper, but I just counted, and I only have three left, and now, there are no words left in my head. 

I’ve spent the past year grieving everything before it ended, and now that it’s an appropriate time to do so, I don’t know what to do with myself.