College Reunion

They'll give you your room assignment. Fourth floor of Brooks. You'll think, oh goodie. I'm coming back to college for reunion, but this time I have a husband and a baby, and still, no elevator. But then you'll climb those hallowed concrete steps and the smells will smack of RA rounds and all-nighters and microwave popcorn and homesick girls, their heads wrapped in towels, crying on cordless phones. This is why they put you on the fourth floor. So you could remember a thousand and one nights living in this building, with the ghosts of your memory playing out before you in between these pastel walls. You were so happy here. This is the place, this campus resplendent with charming brick buidings, rhododendrons, lamp posts that, when lit on a winter's night, make snow banks glisten. Friends all within one small checkerboard of space. A culture in which everyone was busy, engaged, but never too busy to stop and engage in talk of weekends and newspaper articles and which dining hall to avoid that night. How could you not be so happy here?

This is the place, this slowly sloping hill in this tiny little hamlet where you never saw such sunsets. This is the place where you awakened, where you, your gift, and the world's need seemed to collide. Where you decided, I have to be a writer or I will forfeit everything, or perhaps just forfeit this one small thing I have to offer.

You have so many souvenirs from this place, although the important ones are hard to hold in your hand. Some of them are too distant, some too abstract, and some are the fruits of other souvenirs. Fortunately, the heart is very big, which makes carrying them all somehow possible.

***

You will always be my first RA hall.

You will always be my first RA room.

You will always be my mailbox.

You will always be a postcard.

You will always be my greatest souvenir (and she will always be my best byproduct).

You will always be the happiest place on earth.

In