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in the bitter mid-december, my father and i drive half-way across the country to collect the contents of an abandoned dorm room. i do not know it yet, but this will be my last time on the campus for the foreseeable future, the most vivid memory of which will be melting my bike lock open with bare hands in the minnesota cold. on the way home, we will eat indian food at a truckstop somewhere in the vast expanse of nebraska. despite the ghee and the coriander, the saag will taste like sawdust. 

to compensate for the loss, for the lack of goodbyes and good graces, i will knit innumerable hogwarts house scarves and give them away on every applicable winter holiday. (it will be the third scarf - the second hand-knit - i will have given my best friend in two years.) i will stymie my frustration with every stitch.

a visit in the weeks before new years will result in a multi-month identity crisis, and in my attempts at clarity, i will feel starved while drowning in alphabet soup. i will be reassured that this normal.

the time that follows will be characterized by monotony; also, statistics. i will be one of twenty-seven to take a mathematics class at a local university. i will be a part of the two point three percent unemployed. i will join approximately six million others in a yearly visit to california. later, despite the flaws of my gpa, i will be accepted as one of approximately twenty-eight thousand undergraduates to study three hours from my hometown. (i will be relieved, if vaguely disappointed.)

in the interim, i will take the summer to escape, tumbling off the grid into a quaker summer camp, where i will hike countless miles to destinations unknown and swim in a dozen frigid mountain lakes. i will relearn my laugh and exercise it often. i will remember how to eat three meals a day, if only to set an example, and when my mind begins to unravel, i will discover that the greatest gift of friendship sometimes takes the form of a pillbox and the patience to listen to my babble while doling out a week’s worth of medication. i will leave exhausted and proud.

nine months into the year, i will move into a one-bedroom apartment a few blocks from a new campus with my partner. we will adjust to each other’s ticks and twitches - mostly. we will visit his family for thanksgiving, and i will survive the event. meanwhile, i will be put on a cocktail of prescriptions - seven pills a day - that miraculously works. i will take a partial load of classes and succeed. i will feel an unfamiliar optimism. 

there will be christmas, then the new year. i will make no resolutions but to live.

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