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Open Letter to a Graduating Friend

Open Letter to a Graduating Friend

Dear friend,

The last time I saw you was the morning of the last day of the semester and the morning sun was blinding. All week the weather had been a pendulum, swaying back forth between the pure gold of 80 degree sunlight and the damp gray of 60 degree rains which was a fitting way to sum up the pendulum of emotions that I was feeling.

A few days later I googled it and did you know that there is a million articles on what to do after graduating and hardly any on what to do when your best friend graduates and you still have a year to go. To say that this wasn’t helpful is something of an understatement. Afterwards, I wanted to scream. I wanted to grab the computer and shake it. I wanted to say, “What do I do now? You’re supposed to know. Tell me.”

My friend, there is one thing I do know. I am only beginning to realize how different things will be without you. Things I will miss: Late nights and dinner at The Kitchen, shared milkshakes and “clearly it’s about coming-of-age” in regards to that strange, abstract painting over our table. Random chats on Picasso and Star Wars and queer theory while watching the rain and “We always have such eclectic conversations” and dear god do you have any idea how much I will miss this?

The day you left I spent all morning rehearsing my goodbye speech but ultimately words failed me because I wanted to say “Thank you” and “I love you” but there was too much and those sentences felt so incomplete. How to say thank you, thank you for opening up to someone you barely knew and making me feel a little less alone. Thank you for the late night conversations and always making me tea and hugging me like you were trying to hold me together especially when I was falling apart. Thank you for wearing a cardigan the same shade of blue as the couch that I used to hide under because I now see the color and I don’t think about dust and fear and “I can’t breathe” and instead I think about Chopin and chai tea and what it’s like to feel safe. Thank you for sitting with me when I cried, when I had panic attacks and when I couldn’t sleep because the monsters in my head were just too loud. Thank you for always protecting me, even when it was only from myself. Thank you. I love you. Goodbye.

Written by an Empowerteen Creative Writer Student Intern:

Lilia Watt (Senior at Willamette University, Creative Writing Major)

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