When you’re at the end, all you see is the ledge.

After three years of studying English and Creative Writing, a new period of my life has begun. Here, I reflect on what has been.

I look around a room and see a cluttered mess. What has been a year worths of trinkets and memories have been stacked away neatly, in plastic boxes littering the floor. They all bring up films of dust, showing even now that uni flats can never be clean enough. Each disturbed particle is a good excuse to explain my tears.

Though, in reality, we all know the reason for the sadness in this moment.

My final week living as an undergrad is over. Part of me doesnt want to believe that this is the end of a…hectic…three years. Theres always that embrace of a fantasy lingering in the end. You imagine, hope, even, that you will wake up tomorrow and still be a student, heady from a late night of wild debauchery that you can only half remember.

As I struggle to the door I yearn to hear some whisper of a familar voice. I could’ve sworn that other people live here? Then I realise that its only me left here. Slowly, inevitably, familiar faces and sounds slip away, packed away neatly in plastic boxes awaiting their time to leave.

I don’t want to go. Who would? Memories are tying me to here. That always awkward phase when meeting your flatmates, bumbling over first hellos. When you and the boys decide to sit on the wooden deck, so we can “shoot the shit” after the girls decided to go out without us. The buildings flickering with party lights. And who can forget the fresher’s week experience, when a spontaneous decision to invite strangers for some socialisation led to Courtyard–the Church of the Student Sesh–transformed into the start of a whirlwind if romance. First love turned into the first of many heartbreaks, and a spiral into despair that left more than just one scar. Plenty high highs and low lows followed, losing myself and finding myself, and losing myself again.  It was a time of grappling with who I am as a man, an autistic man living as a stanger would in a strange land.

All of these tethers have pulled me towards the last goodbyes. They beg of me to stay, and yet offer no hints on how to. I still don’t want to say goodbye–after all who does? But theres no defying time. Nows the time to move out, close the door, put the keys away. 

I look around my room, and see memories. Like a carving of ones initials they all say the same thing. That I, Thomas, was here.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below, or by liking and sharing! Don’t be afraid to share your opinion!

© Thomas Gallimore Barker, 2021



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