from Paula Mclain’s Circling the Sun


Miwanzo is the word in Swahili for ‘beginnings.’ But sometimes everything has to end first and the bottom drop out and every light fizzle and die before a proper beginning can come along p 15

We are edging our way toward an ending. We are going to visit another college campus on Sunday and try to discern if this is the one.

There are but a few weeks of school left, and serious senioritis has set in— at least reading Last of the Mohicans has become the fastest way to guarantee sleep. Perhaps we should market it to insomniacs. This could be his life’s work, finding reading cures for sleeplessness. So happy that he stumbled upon it now.

These last few months have been fraught with disappointment and possibility. People we know, but do not have seniors themselves, approach us gently; as if we are in the recovery stage of some illness. The look on their faces say they remember vividly this trying time. The drop in the pit of your stomach at a rejection from a place you had seen yourself entering. Our life has been so frantic and frenetic, I’m not sure I remember how to function without the What If question foremost in my mind—but I am willing to try.

Things for us are still in a state of flux, always changing and evolving. Where once we got stacks and stacks of mail, it has now slowed to an infinitesimal trickle. The tumultuous wave has passed us by, bequeathed to those rising seniors. But now the deadline for declaration approacheth and we must decide. May 1st is the end. And the beginning.

Beyond that summer looms large with more circus and sunny skies. T has always said he wanted to burn all of his college mail in a bonfire, so we have stashed it in these magazine holders. These are the one M and I bought at IKEA years ago for holding Martha Stewarts and Entertainment Weeklys. They’ve been folded up, but now brought back into service. I had no inkling that they would someday hold college invitations, glossy pages designed to pique your interest and arouse curiosity. Glancing at them now I see the Almost Choices and the Never Had A Chances. I do not want to even think about the Should Haves. That’s enough to drive a person crazy, because this whole process has almost brought me to the edge.

Yet they have served their purpose. I hope that the burning will be sweet and cathartic. We can let go of this life and open our arms to what happens this fall and the future beyond that. We have yet to pick a time for this purging bonfire, but don’t worry— your invitations in the mail.

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