Merry Christmas

by V Rose Dahrke

Alright, we’re going to see how this works.  My parents went ahead and got me dictation software for Christmas, and I’m not entirely sure how well it’s going to work. I’ve had carpal tunnel for several years now, as I believe I’ve mentioned before, and have wanted this for some time just to be able to use my hands again, really.  Granted, I’ve gotten much better since I went to physical therapy, but it certainly doesn’t do any harm to take the strain off of them. We’ll see.

I’ve also found the concept interesting, at least in its relation to blogging.  There’s something interesting I find in the idea of reading someone’s voice, of reading what they’re actually saying not just what they type out. I know for fact that the way I type and the way  I speak are entirely different. In literary analysis, we speak of voice, of the person we think we hear when we read an author’s words; what would it be like to really hear that voice? To know that what you’re reading is exactly the way they spoke it? Not just thought out, not just planned out, but spoken?

And speaking of literary analysis, I’m done. I graduated last Friday, after four and a half years at the University of Colorado. It came upon me suddenly, really. After getting so worked up back in May I found I couldn’t really get excited about my impending graduation this winter. It never really occurred to me that it was happening, that this time I would make it a little bit closer than just getting my name in the program. There was no countdown really, there was no period of realizing that the end was coming; it was just suddenly one day over. I left my probability and statistics final (my last and only real final of the semester), and as I was walking down the hall it occurred to me that was the last time I was ever going to sit in a classroom. I still had one more paper to write, and three inane little wiki posts, but no more actual class. It was even worse after I finished the paper.

I don’t think I ever really realized how depressing it was going to be to finish. I suppose I had forgotten what the university meant to me. There was a point in my life where I decided that what I really needed was to leave everything behind. I had left my country, and I decided to leave my parents, my family, my friends, everyone, and go somewhere where I knew no one. I came here. After I got pregnant and had to move back in with my parents, I wanted to return to my sanctuary almost as much as I wanted to return to Pat, and in time I did. When I ran away, this is where ran to and because of this, it has been my home, perhaps more so than anywhere else on this earth.

As I left the library last Wednesday, my paper and wiki posts done, I realized that it was no longer my home. Exhausted, I stood in the little alcove between the clock tower the wall of the library and watched the sun just beginning to set behind the mountains. I resolved to stay until it had set, to let that be my moment, my goodbye, but as I stood watching, eyes burning from lack of sleep and staring at the fading sun, the recorded bell in the clock tower struck four o’clock – four long, deep melodic notes through which I heard four nervous autumns, four joyful winters, four desperate springs.  After the fourth chime, I left, though the sun was still up.

It would have been awkward to stay after she had said goodbye.