I sometimes wonder if I have pockets full of invisible nickels that try to ground me on the days I don’t know what I’m doing, where I’m going, or if I’m ever going to get anything right. I water my spider plants once a week, and as I do so, I think about how quickly they grow in the warm sunlight that shines through double windows in my little apartment’s living room. I have a tapestry from the 1800s on the wall across from my plants, hanging above my me-sized couch. It has what I assume to be a bishop, a lord, and three ladies. It’s a muted color, too, and I based my roughly 12 by 14 feet living room off of it. I pulled it off the top shelf of my parents’ cabinet in the laundry room last summer. It had sat there for probably eighteen years. I asked my mom if I could use it in my apartment, and she was elated that I had 1. found it and 2. liked it enough to put it on display. “It’s from the 1800s, you know” she had said as she walked towards the kitchen. “Wow,” I said with surprise, “Are you sure I should be pinning it against my wall?”
I sometimes wonder if I have pockets full of invisible nickels that try to ground me on the days I don’t know what I’m doing, where I’m going, or if I’m ever going to get anything right.
Pinned against my wall it went, as apparently it is old but not worth much and my mom had bought it in her auction-attending days. Last summer was hard for me for many reasons, but one of them was that I knew I was entering my last year here at UVA; I was scared it was going to fly by. It has. It’s sort of like when you’re on an airplane, and it’s taking off, and you look away from the window for two seconds to hear what your seat neighbor said, and when you look back everything is smaller and you have gained 400 feet. Just like that.
And just like that I’ve done more law school applications than I can count, and gotten quite a few rejections from places I was sure I would do so well at if just given the chance to show everyone. But I know that where I land will be where I am supposed to be, and that no other place could take me on the journey I am supposed to go on. Although I think our paths are ever-changing, they are always the right ones.
As I start to wind down my time at UVA, and look forward to my few meetings a year that will still tie me here until our 5 year reunion, I have started to think about all of the things that are making this place so very hard to leave. I mean, I can barely look my friends in the eyes on the way to class anymore, lest they see I’m tearing up because I just counted how many more times I’ll make those walks with them.
I’ve been seeing people say “this is my love letter to Charlottesville” a lot recently, and this may be mine. So, here are the things I have loved in my time at UVA: Watching Cafarro cup Kihei’s cheek after he missed a shot. Sitting at Corner Juice with Kira waiting for our expensive but very delicious sandwiches. Going on adventures with Emma, and leading the class with one of the softest yet unmovable people I know. How I loved with all of the love that I had to give and he only loved me with bits and pieces and flashes of green, but I kept on loving. Canoe battling Pasha while Lexi laughed next to me. Seeing Pride and Prejudice for the first time ever with Cady at The Paramount, and hoping that we didn’t slide on the freshly fallen snow. Falling in love at Michael’s Diner and then getting my heart and soul broken two and a half years later. Lavender picking with Bree, Carolyn, and Ames—all three who helped heal my broken heart and soul. Crying on the floor second year trying to figure out if I was going to get to law school and Carolyn reminding me that I can do anything I want to do.
I’ve been seeing people say “this is my love letter to Charlottesville” a lot recently, and this may be mine.
Eating dinner at Blue Mountain Brewery with Kira, Carolyn, and Brianna as the sun left a warm glow over the mountains in front of us. The thunderstorms at the start of the pandemic that pushed me to hug him closer. Getting to carry in our Class of 2022 flag at Convocation 2021. How I learned that I would hang on until the absolute last minute, and how I leave when I am supposed to. Going to D.C. for Joy’s birthday dinner and getting to laugh along with Nat, and Tolliver, and Sophia. Laughing with Joy as Sophia took pictures of us at the last Carter Mountain Sunset Series of Fall 2021, while Ralph stood above us on the patio and looked over the mountains. Continually giving my love, and opening my heart back up with the possibility of it breaking again. Picking up Emma every other Sunday for our Trustees meetings, always playing Taylor Swift. Going to Foxfield for the first time ever as a Fourth-Year and watching the horses go around and around the track while laughing next to Sophia and Ralph. Holding our last Trustees meeting, Mellow Mushroom pizza in hand as everyone slowly trickled out of The Manning Pavilion one by one. All of these memories make up little threads in my UVA tapestry. There are hundreds of them, you know, and with one missing it wouldn’t be the same. Each one, no matter how joyous or frowny-face-esque, made my time here a time that I could have never dreamed of with the warm hug shape it leaves around me.
I’ll have to unpin my tapestry from the white walls sooner than I want to, and they’ll be barren waiting for the next student to move in and make it their own. But somewhere, somewhere there is another person feeling an impending sadness as they know their posters and pictures and pinned tapestries will have to come down—because my arrival will be impending on their timeline. And then, in a few months, I’ll be there.
Maybe we’ll even find our ways back to Charlottesville, one day, and maybe the spider plants will come along, too.
I’m already trying to think about the best ways to transport my spider plants, but they are incredibly resilient. I don’t really have to worry about them too much, because even if they get upset in the move, I just need to water them when I get to where I’m going and they’ll continue to grow in their new environment. Kind of like me. I’ve given out probably eight or nine spider plants so far this year since my seven year old original plant sprouts new babies every few weeks. And these mini potted reminders will go with my friends all across the country, and maybe even into new ones. They’ll get watered and grow more green anywhere they are taken, anywhere they are loved and remembered. And like my friends taking care of their spider plants, I will call and visit them just like they’ll call and visit me. Maybe we’ll even find our ways back to Charlottesville, one day, and maybe the spider plants will come along, too. Threads realigning to show a perfect picture once more.