As I write this, I am taking a break from packing up the last of my life. I always find it strange how everything I own can be bagged so easily and moved place to place. In some ways, I have trouble separating myself from the idea that decorations make a space loveable. But these blank walls have the same amount of memories, and I will miss them either way.
I am spending one last night in this strange, possibly haunted, beautiful old building. I've called Mary Lyon home for two years.
Last year, we had a view of the Rounds clock tower and the lawn. We had a closet that I camped out in more times than I slept in my own bed. My desk was in the alcove. We had a dumb wall that divided us. "Papa John" lived downstairs and loved to come talk to us during room check. He was great, even if his dog wasn't very nice. I had an under-bed fort, a ceiling that almost took out dozens of people, and a perpetual burnt popcorn smell that was almost entirely my fault.
323 will always be a number that feels important to me. It was my room number at AMDA and my first dorm.
It was home.
This year, we had our third musketeer the whole year instead of just a semester. We had a big open space with a window overlooking the unofficial Blair/ML skate park. We lived on the same floor as a husky and every noisy human being on campus. Meganne had an under-bed fort, Olivia had a normal-height bed, and I once again had a wall that threatened to concuss many visitors. My laundry bag lived in about four places, my wardrobe door has not been shut all semester, and the door to the room has never quite worked right. I've had two fish, and Meganne's Dog (the OG fish boy) has been faithful for yet another year.
326 was home.
Tomorrow this room will be empty, again. The same as when we got here, save for a few pin holes and maybe a stray window cling.
I was the first person in the room both years.
I've spent two Winter breaks living a hobbit's life in this building.
I am going to miss the way the staircase smelled on move in day. And the color of the floorboards in the sun. I am going to miss the fireplaces and have lots of nooks and corners to hide in when I needed to. I am going to miss my CA's, who miraculously know when my crying needs a friend or to be left alone. I am going to miss having to catapult myself into bed. I am going to miss having my roommates ten feet away. I am going to miss the strange beeps and shouts that come from living in the same house with a hundred other humans.
It's going to be strange to leave another bare room in my wake. To say goodbye to another bed, another writer's muse, another set of walls that saw me cry and sing and laugh.
But next year will have its own beauties. A courtyard out front. Our own kitchen. A shower we don't have to cart all of our gear to. And it will be home.
Not because of the walls or the roof, but because of the people.
Meganne, Olivia, and I will be together. Despite our mutual chaos, we are family. They may deny it, but they're wrong. The lovely Anna will be a part of us next year. Our family is growing. Things are changing.
But even if the paint is peeling, and the doors don't shut right, or the place smells a little like wet dog–we'll make it work.
Because even if there's no evidence on the walls, home is where the love is.
Goodbye Mary Lyon. Thank you for your warmth and safety.
Goodbye Plymouth State. I'll see you soon.
I can't wait to come home.