As a student at Yale University, where many of the finest men and women -- come and gone -- have emerged from its centuries-old classroom, halls and ivory towers, Marina Keegan waisted no time in establishing herself as a prodigy. Publishing a handful of short stories and poems in The New York Times, there was little question of whether the aspiring writer possessed a literary prowess that set her far ahead of her classmates and her time.
However, Keegan rose to international renown when her graduation essay titled "The Opposite of Loneliness" circulated through The Yale Daily News, where she worked as a student journalist, became a global sensation -- attracting 1.4 million readers across 98 different countries. Set to begin a job at The New Yorker, the native of Wayland, Massachusetts seemed poised to leave behind a legacy destined to echo with the voice of an entire generation across time -- a test it stood a good chance of withstanding. Sadly, it was not to be, as five days after her graduation, a car accident left behind a world void of her promise, her voice, and of the echo that was never heard. Here are five quotes that offer us a glimpse of Marina Keegan, and what could have been:
1. "So what I'm trying to say is you should text me back. Because there's a precedent. Because there's an urgency. Because there's a bedtime. Because when the world ends I might not have my phone charged and if you don't respond soon, I won't know if you'd wanna leave your shadow next to mine."
Friends come and go. So go with them, to that dope party, to that bad movie so the next time there's a bad move, or a dope party, they'll come with you. Because soon, there might not be a party dope enough to attend, or a movie that's bad enough.
2. "Do you wanna leave soon?" No, I want enough time to be in love with everything... and I cry because everything is so beautiful and so short."
No time ever lasts. No matter how idyllic its bliss, no matter how drowned, and suffocating the woes of its tears. Especially the ones blessed with much bliss. For no bliss is good enough to last, and what bliss that can, is simply too good to be able to. On this earth where all turns to sand and dust.
3. "Until one day, vaguely, quietly, the sun would flicker out and they'd realized that none of use are. Or that all of us are."
Stronger together. Together stronger.
4. "No one quite believed in God and no one quite didn't -- so they made it about songs and the candles and the pressing together of bodies on lacquered wooden pews."
In an era where we have come to embrace many beliefs and the ideas that come with them, its hard to know which ideas we should believe. But what inspires us to believe in each other is the idea of self, an idea we bestow upon each other so that we may believe in ourselves.
5. "I thought I'd be helping the world, not ignoring it."
The world has a problem. Its too big. Too big of a problem for you to ignore, so don't. Face it. Fight it. Solve it.
Marina Keegan's story, song, and echo maybe over. Leaving behind in silence and in sorrow, the lament of what once was, and what could have been but remain also her words. Words to spell notes, notes to hum the melody of a song, and a song to echo of a story. A memory. Our story. Our memory. Of what once was. What could have been, and the things that can now be so long as there is time. Time to breath. Time to live. Time to believe.