“You’ll miss college,” they said

[ Written (mostly) over a year ago. Finally made its way to the blog. ]

In the light of a clouded moon and the company of chirping crickets, I decide, for my early morning walk, to venture a bit further from my summer camp-esque apartment community than usual.
There’s something familiar, I think, as I pass beyond the barrier of large brick corporations into the peaceful atmosphere of Grandview’s mid-to-upper-class neighborhood. Homes here aren’t just nice – and way beyond my price range – they have character and charm that isn’t found in every Columbus suburb. In the subtle light of street lamps, I see grand Victorian homes, sprawling craftsmen and quaint, angular Tudors. And though these homes are regal outside and in, I can’t help but feel an air of similarity to the off campus neighborhood I called home for 3 years. Whether you call it east residential or the student slums, Ohio State’s college neighborhood, separated from campus by a vibrant bar and fast casual restaurant-lined street, is unlike any other. It spans about twenty blocks north and south and 5 east and west. Rows and rows of historic homes stand tall and sturdy – some more so than others – in this neighborhood. They are majestic vessels of college memories; once homes to families who made their way to and from downtown on streetcars, they are now bursting with years of memories from hundreds of college-age tenants.

And that’s the difference between here and there.

Two years ago at this time, before the sun begins to shed light on the empty streets, I would have been making my way to my on campus job, alone with my thoughts and the early morning serenity. I would gaze at the dark college abodes and feel the decades of memories that saturate their walls. I could hear whispers of the past and envision the stories: late nights studying and “early” mornings rushing to 8 am classes, senseless arguments and profound friendships, raging parties and movie nights, new posters, hand me down jerseys, clueless grocery trips, laundry mishaps, first dates, frigid winters and blazing summers and everything in between. Oh, if walls and windows and doors and porches and roofs could talk.

Those memories don’t emanate from these houses in Grandview. They are just quiet, pristine shadows.

From time to time, a plague of nostalgia overcomes me. And the further removed I am from my student days, the easier I think it will get. The less I’ll feel it. The quicker it will pass.

But it’s the opposite I think.

Instead I am learning – there will always be memories that simultaneously warm your soul and make your heart ache, and they will fill you with longing that you can’t begin to express.


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