This column was published as part of the Commencement Issue for the Class of 2015.

The long table of Saybrook College has seen much in the last few years.

It watched at freshman dinner, when Dean Paul McKinley and Master Paul Hudak ushered a group of unknowing teens into college life. It watched again, four years later, when Dean Christine Muller and Master Thomas Near bid farewell to the same group of students now brimming with wine-induced smiles. It supported stacks of books and caught tears, but mostly served as a place for procrastination and food.

The long table of Saybrook College usually sits regally beneath high ceilings of vaulted timber. In April and May, sunlight filters through cherry blossoms that wink and sway in the spring breeze.

But the first months of 2015 have been hard.

It now stands on a concrete slab after flooding and asbestos disturbed its peace. Its leader, having lost his battle with cancer, no longer sits his plate on its firm surface. It is alone, as the friendly portraits that normally dot the walls went on temporary leave months ago.

It has served as a source of stability amid changes in external circumstance. The clinks and slams of utensils and cups. Freshmen sitting with seniors. Somehow, there’s always enough space.

I approach the table with caution despite our years of friendship. I touch the wood and feel its dimples, formed over fast meals and long conversations. I notice that it is not just a generic “brown” but contains countless marbled hues. I press my weight against it. It seems sturdy but also tired.

I tell the table I love it and ask if it loves me, too.

But “love” is such a clumsy word. We have stretched the term so thin that its effect is blunted, conveying only general emotions of positivity. I love my mother and father. I love my friends. I love arepas.

The long table of Saybrook College is much wiser than I am and wouldn’t dare use such a generic word.

It speaks quietly, and I have to bring my ear closely to its surface to hear it whisper. It is unburdened by the constraints of English idioms. It fuses the inflections, tones and phrases that have floated across its width in gossip and laughter. “I am dyed in your color,” it replies, remembering a saying in Hindi a student murmured across its surface years ago.

Its wood did not cease to grow the minute the axeman felled its precursors in the forest. It has evolved every year, soaking in the colors of those who came to it to eat. It will continue to grow as we vacate its seats and build our own tables in faraway homes. Its color will change perpetually.

When the busy days of Commencement end, when my voice stops echoing in the walls and across the tables, what will I have left behind at Yale?

Which color, if any, is mine?

I scratch the top of the table, trying to draw some of it under my fingernail. Walnut and hickory, carob and mocha, chestnut and brunette, even streaks of black. It is dyed not just in my color but in yours, too. All of our colors in a single object. And its colors in us.

The long table of Saybrook College has seen much in the last few years.

Kyle Tramonte is a senior in Saybrook College. He was a staff columnist for the News.