It’s a rupture in time — a sunny day, that is. It enters our timeline, uninvited and sudden, and catches us off guard, momentarily distracting us from the continuous, unrelenting pulse of the quotidien.
The rays of sunlight break through the grogginess of our winter cloaks and reveal our radiant colors, which were temporarily dimmed during the dark, cold months.
You know the tell-tale signs: books left haphazardly across dining hall tables, problem sets dimming away on forgotten laptop screens, Spotify music left on play with no one around to listen.
It’s a magical thing — a sunny day is. All it takes is for the clouds to subside, and everyone is instantaneously mesmerized by the warm, inviting sunlight. As people dance to no music, chat without checking the time and doze off on the freshly cut grass that still bears the stains of morning dew, the stiffness of our winter bodies mellows, the tiredness rolls off our faces, the sighs and yawns and sneezes replaced by chuckles and deep inhales and — well — sneezes.
We become slightly better versions of ourselves, as if the light activates some dormant force inside of us. For as long as we bask in the sun, we discover a newfound appreciation what really matters. We find comfort in one another’s arms, sprawled across colorful throws, in groups that grow and grow and grow, spilling over the frills and into the paved sidewalks and damp grass.
We make plans for crazy parties, and quiet hangouts and wild adventures. We fondly reminisce on the silly mistakes that we’ve made — forgetting, for once, to check our texts. We skip our section to finish a debate the merits of “Parks and Rec” versus “The Office.” We look at each other with new eyes, allowing the sun to melt away our grudges that froze during the winter, becoming stiff and impernetable.
As I approach the checkout point of my college experience, I realize that the memories that have become ingrained in my brain are not the ones I could have predicted. As I look back, what stands out to me are the late night Disney dance parties. The illicit cigarette breaks outside of Toad’s. The Berkeley lunches, where tables had to be continuously joined to accomodate a group that never seemed to stop growing. The painful conversations that took place by the Women’s Table. The dependable dance partners who always catch your eye the moment you turn your head to look for them. The feeling of falling in love with a song the the exact same moment as your friend does. The aggressively competitive card games. The sunny dinner parties in the Morse courtyard. The insane rituals and tear-jerking laughs hosted in a cramped Davenport double. The heartfelt chats on the elevated twin beds, separated by a sea of chaos.
These are the moments that I have come to cherish the most. The ones that take you by surprise, that are unplanned and unpredictable. The sunny days that mesh together, bleeding their details and coloring one another until they become one big, indistinguishable bundle or soft-spoken words, echoing laughs and tangled feet.
Sitting on cold concrete table on a chilly April evening, cuddled into the stolen jacket of a temporary roommate that smells not of me, I feel like I can almost reach out and grab these fleeting moments. I want to hold them tight and weave them into the tale of what it means to be where we are: no longer young, not yet old.
The intermediary stage where tax forms are still insurmountable but cartoons are slightly out of sync for you now, the joke a little too obvious, the dialogues a tiny bit predictable. It’s the unique time in your life when your mouth tastes of cigarettes but also of ice cream, when you read Hannah Arendt but also “The Little Prince,” when you fervently claim your independence and maturity, plan trips with your friends on your own dime — but still turn to the familiar comfort of your mother’s arms as soon as things turn awry.
As you sit in your poorly lit dorm room and wonder if you should have asked the number of the boy with the beautiful eyes and the inviting smile, take a step back to look at where you are. Remember that this instant is the time to learn and to question and to be angry and to fight for what you believe in; but it’s also the time to lie lazily in the grass on a sunny day. To take an impromptu trip with no destination. To stay up abhorrently late laughing way too hard at something not that funny.
Try to memorialize the transience of this chapter of our lives, the non monetizable worth of your present, the quenching bliss of being young. Remember to pause and listen. Listen to the sounds of chatter outside your window, of awkward, shy guitar strokes and brave, intoxicated confessions. Because this moment will — as moments do — pass. But you’re lucky enough because, at least for now, you in it. And, at least for right now, you are it.
Sophia Catsambi | firstname.lastname@example.org .