By Olivia Dolphin
“Let’s take another shot!” As your fingers grasp the cool shot glass, sticky from previous users and spilled alcohol, you look at the time. How did it get so late? It’s your freshman year and you feel free for the first time ever and nobody around you wants to go home. You take that shot. No chaser.
“Let me just try and finish this chapter.” You tell yourself, eyes dropping, knowing how late it is. Sophomore year and it’s time to hit the books. You’ve stayed up studying late the past four nights, and can’t recall what you even did during the day to cause this dire-need for insomnia.
“One more episode of Lost.” Your mouse with a mind of it’s own clicks “play next.” You almost give it a second thought. How did it get so late? It’s your junior year and you live in the upperclassmen dorm, so you can let your laptop sit in your full-sized bed with you, and still have room for your stuffed animals you can’t seem to leave at home. Your books lay forgotten for the moment. You studied so hard last week. You’ll get back to work tomorrow, or maybe after the weekend sometime… soon.
“Let’s take another shot!” Your fingers grasp the smooth, cool shot glass. It’s dripping wet from a quick rinse to vanquish unwanted alcohol and germs. But first, you look at the time. How did it get so late? It’s way past your bedtime. But it’s your senior year and you’re obligated not to care because this is the last time you’ll be able to do anything like this, with these people, in this place, in this moment. How did it get so late? You toast, “To us, and the time we’ve spent together.”
“Let me just tweet this one last thought.” How did it get so late? You say from your bed. You haven’t put a bra on all day, but you filled out a ton of job applications. That evens it out, right? You check Facebook again, and don’t see anyone or anything you remotely care about. You think about all the ways you want to fix the world. How did all this time pass you by, and how can you get a do-over?
You were supposed to be an adult by now. That somehow magically crossing the stage, and getting an empty folder without your diploma, would cause some sort of “now I am an adult” reaction in you.
The mailman arrives and leaves a mysteriously thin, but large envelope. You don’t see any green ink written in quill, so you rule out your missing Hogwarts letter. But this could be better (hahaha, no). This could be your diploma! You rip open the envelope that’s slightly bent from the mailman unceremoniously shoving it behind the mailbox, because hey, it’s not like you paid any large sum for that. You breathe in. You breathe in your hard work, tears, and even for a second allow yourself to forgive yourself for honing your skills in perfect procrastination techniques.
You realize that looking at your diploma while you just got finished eating Nutella is probably a bad idea. You do it anyways, carefully.
You wait for that magical moment, where you clutch your diploma and your phone rings with a job opportunity. You wait to feel the wind blow in your hair as the magic is released—like the diploma has chosen you, not like worked hard for four years to earn it.
Nothing quite like that happens. You successfully have a Nutella stain-free diploma, though. “It’s the small things,” you think.
The good thing about this time of night? There is this metaphorical possibility of two tomorrows. You have the later-today-tomorrow. You think of all the things you’re going to do when you wake up in the morning, hopefully at a decent hour but you already know you’re past that option. But there is hope for productivity all the same.
And then you have the actual-tomorrow-tomorrow, a full day away—hours away, but still tomorrow.
Lather. Rinse. Repeat this cycle for another four years. How did it get so late?
Current musician, and Harry Potter Convention Coordinator. Future Publisher. Headed to the Tosche Station as soon as I finish writing.
Photo by Nico Nordstrom