18 May 2009


It behooves one, as ends draw nigh, to reflect upon what is past, or passing (as Yeats would say). Because I am leaving Cambridge, and the U.K., on 22 June, now seems a good time to muse upon what I've done.  Therefore, a list:

  • I have made many useful professional contacts.
  • I have made friends.
  • I have (will have) completed a full-length book for publication.
  • Because in October the leaves on the great tree near my building turned yellow and dropped, I have in fact seen Goldengrove unleaving.
  • I have stayed up all night enough times, and happily enough all those times, to make up for my terrible birthday all-nighter last year.
  • I have arrived in the U.K. in love, had my heart broken, and recovered from heartbreak.
  • I have cried every day for months on end, and because of that, and because a change from that occurred, I have learned in a very real way what it feels like to become, and to be, happy.
  • I have been happy (something I seriously believed I might never be again).
  • I have cycled home in the damp evening mist, cutting air as silent and breathing as myself.
  • I have learnt the right dance.
  • I have sat on a bench in a private garden.
  • I have danced with a man who smells like comfort.
  • I have sat outside at night talking, and sat inside at night talking, and stood outside at night talking.  And talking and talking.
  • I have engaged in intimate relations.  Because I do not kiss and tell, I choose not to reveal if these relations were corporeal, or if the intimacy was of a higher sort.  Or both.  (If the construction of that first sentence reminds you, as it does me, of Byron's remark that "Bread has been made (indifferent) from potatoes," I leave it to you to draw what conclusion you will from that.)
  • I have become a cosmopolitan cheek kisser.
  • I have practised both wisdom and restraint.
  • I have told secrets and had secrets told.
  • I have unmade, and learned how to remake the unmade.
  • I have worn a pvc dress.
  • I have laughed more with other people, and at remarks others have made, than I had in the preceding three years.  I have known the pleasure of having others be funny, and funnier than I.
  • I have been a Pygmalion and a Galatea.
  • I have done things for which I give quiet secret thanks and smile.
I think we can agree, gent. reader, that that is quite a list.  And what makes it even better is the only thing that could make it even better:  although I am indeed leaving Cambridge and the UK on 22 June, I am returning on 20 August.  I WILL BE HERE FOR A SECOND YEAR.  I am not going home.  Or perhaps, rather, I am returning home.

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