Joe went out with the kid today and I took the time to do some tidying up, but also reading. I’m currently finishing Paper Towns by John Green, which is about a senior at the end of his high school career and a friend that has run away. It also happens to be 20 years today since Kurt Cobain died. These things together have lead to me thinking a lot about who I was then.
There’s a scene in Paper Towns where the main character is cleaning out his locker on the last day of high school and it brought me right back. I went through a lot of crap in high school. There was a time I was going to drop out, there was a time I was going to kill myself – like Kurt Cobain, that seemed like an inevitable ending for me. I was meant to be a tortured artist who couldn’t handle what life really becomes.
But by the time I was in OAC in high school and everything was ending and beginning again I was like Quentin. I was so excited for the leaving, but everything meant an end to something. I carried a camera around school for the entire last week and took pictures of the people who had helped me get through those five years. I can picture in my head the picture I snapped of Mr. Dagenais, looking up at me over his glasses while he sat at his desk finishing paperwork. (Mr. Dagenais who would be murdered two years later for no reason).
I have made myself a very good life, but there are things about that girl that I wish I still had in me. It was obvious to me then that I was an artist, that I was going to write. That was who I was and there was no way to stop it. I was going to build myself a life, be successful, push my way through. I was going to be what I meant to become.
There’s a difference and a sameness between that girl and me, and the things I’ve found happiness in would surprise her.
(I can also note here that one of my high school classmates is publishing a book next week, which may be adding to my wistfulness).