I dropped my laptop off the couch.
The library had turned into a merry-go-round, book shelves and friends spinning around me like pinwheels. I was choking on the words caught in my throat, the only thing grounding me from the world spiralling around me were my trembling feet firmly planted on the ground. My friends stared at me wide eyed, frightened by the sudden commotion, like deer in headlights staring at me, waiting for me to speak, to say something, anything.
“I got into Texas.”
The next hour was a blur. There were rivers of tears and group hugs and high fives. I sprinted from office to office and room to room, throwing myself into the arms of the people who had faithfully, encouraged me and loved me through the college application process- loved me through my fear of rejection. For months, all I had dreamed of was opening that letter, that email. I set the lockscreen on my phone to the Texas Tower. I carried all my Longhorn paraphernalia into my room and placed it so that everyday I woke up with Bevo in my arms and the Tower glowing burnt orange in front of me. The eyes of Texas were not on me. My eyes were on Texas.
And to be fair, they always have been. I was raised to bleed burnt orange. I remember as a little girl whenever I would perform on stage or walk onto the soccer field or trot into the equestrian arena, I could always find my dad with a smile as wide as Texas and his horns high in the air. I always gave him the horns back. Always. I remember nail biting football games. The Vince Young glory days of my dad and mom jumping into the air, cheering and crying. I remember watching Vince Young waltz into the far corner of the end zone in the National Championship game against USC. I remember crying when I first saw someone give the “upside down horns”- quite frankly, I still don’t understand the gesture. Are you not creative enough to come up with your own hand sign? I remember having a crush on Colt McCoy. Who am I kidding, I still have a crush on Colt McCoy. I remember visiting Austin and staring at the Tower and the pale blue Texas sky shining above. I crushed on the cowboys; I watched all of the football games; I can sing all the songs; I know all the cheers. I will always wear orange, come early, stay late. Be loud and be proud.
I toured Texas recently with my boyfriend and I felt like I was home. I was on the grounds where my mother and father fell in love, where they partied and studied (emphasis, on the study, right mom and dad?), where they laughed and cried and cheered and wore the same burnt orange that I wear. But until that moment in the library where my world was turned upside down, it was all a dream. Now, it is real. If I so chose, I can be a Longhorn. Austin really can be my home.
I do not know where I will chose to go, but this is a momentous victory for me. I can rest in this truth, no matter where I chose to go, a part of me will always be a Longhorn. The Forty Acres will always be my second home. My family will always bleed burnt orange.
Until Gabriel blows his horn.