Just before Christmas I Skyped Mama, crying. "What's wrong?" she'd asked me, and I'd replied, "I'm so happy that I'm sad. It's like I've come full-circle or something." Mama said that was a bit weird and maybe I'd want to think about pulling myself together. At the time I thought she was right and so went to buy limone gelato as part of my five-a-day.
I spent Sunday walking aimlessly around my apartment in an equal state of tears and laughing hysterically, whilst streaming jazz off of the BBC website to try and lift my spirits. Which is a stupid turn of phrase but also a whole other point and I don't have time to get into that right now, Internet. I want to talk about my feelings. Add it to the list: stupid phrases that don't mean things but we like to say them because it reminds us of our mums.
I was like, legit having a bit of a breakdown. Or epiphany. Or crashing demise before brilliance. Or sugar withdrawal because I hadn't eaten yet. I kept crying because things change and it's sad and awesome and happy and crazy and mind-blowing, and then I'd catch myself staring wistfully out of the window as if somebody might secretly be taking my photograph and so I needed to remember to hold my chin at just the right angle, and then I kept bursting out into unstoppable giggles at how dramatic I am, and danced to Etta James in front of my own reflection whilst sniffling and laughing and generally needing adult supervision to function as a human being.
I graduated Friday, and the day after- hours before an overnight JOURNEY OF HELL back to Rome- I lay on the sofa at Mum and Dad's, watching The Food Network. (The Best Thing I Ever Ate: Cake edition.) (A show that may as well be called, Food Porn For Laura.) (I thought my husband was a writer, but actually I think he is a chef.) (A pastry chef.) (I really can't stay on task today.) (I'll stop putting things into parentheses now.)
I groaned, and Mum was all, IF YOU SAY YOU ARE SORE ONE MORE TIME!, and I was like, WELL IF YOU BUSTED MOVES LIKE BEYONCE FOR FOUR HOURS STRAIGHT YOU'D NEED A NECK MASSAGE TOO, and she was like, BUT YOUR HEADACHE ISN'T FROM DANCING IS IT and I was like, FREE! THE DRINK WAS FREE! and she said, HOW DO YOU MANAGE TO HAVE A LIFE FROM THE SCRIPT OF THE HANGOVER and I didn't really know what to say because truly, graduation was the most dramatic 36 hours of my life. But then we both lost interest in the conversation because a red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting was on the TV and so I didn't have to think of anything clever to say.
If anyone suggests I must still be watching the show as I write this then. Well. Yeah. SO?
The day basically went like this: Oversleep because mobile phone isn't set to GMT, because you're an idiot. Get ready for the most important day of your life thus far in 30 minutes. Arrive at the ceremony and realise you are the only person in the graduating class that has chosen not to wear a gown. Inwardly groan.
Manage to walk across the stage without falling over. Fail to understand a joke about Anglo-Saxon women before 1066 but laugh anyway because holding a piece of paper that says you are the best is really awesome. Cry a bit. Go out for lunch with your best friend's family and hope your parents can behave themselves. Eat rich French food that is so good that on refusing to attempt finishing a Valrhona chocolate mousse with Grand Marnier and Chantilly cream everyone thinks you are sick or dying. Receive tear-inducing, beautifully written cards saying nice things about you. Look around the table at all the people who want good things for you. Sigh.
Play Scrabble in the pub with a bottle of red wine and your two favourite people. Hit on a gay priest. Make up words in order to win the game. Visit the man who sold you your pic n mix for the past three years. Accept a book from him, and promise to send him yours. Know you never will because he doesn't need to know about your vagina. Eat some yellow-belly snakes.
Transform from suited graduate into pleather-legging wearing, red-headed tramp. Yell at a cocktail waitress. Neck champagne. Witness crying in the street. Cry yourself when you try to get into the graduation ball at 2 a.m. and they refuse you entry. Appeal to the sensitive nature of the male bouncer by saying, "Don't you have a daughter? Wouldn't you want her to celebrate on a night like this?" and then running inside whilst holding the hand of your best friend and laughing outrageously at your Golden Globe-winning performance when his back is turned.
See all the people. Dance with them. Hit the after party. See your best friend get hit by the bouncer. Accept the manager's offer of free sparkling pinot noir and Jagerbombs as an apology. Meet a man who tricks you into kissing him by saying he graduated today too. Realise he just said that to kiss you but arrange to meet him for breakfast anyway because he is dead funny. Sit outside in the cold for hours with people you don't want to say goodbye to because then it really will be the end. Miss the date. Get emotional about the day. Sleep for an hour.
Things I learnt that day:
1. It is impossible not to sound like a dick when in every interaction that you have with old classmates you have to say the words first class honours and I live in Rome, actually.
2. That I did something brilliant, and I give a shit about that.
3. When fed Valrhona chocolate mousse with Grand Marnier and Chantilly cream, try to finish it. Those wet-dreams about it just make it worse when you know it went uneaten.
I feel like I came and conquered and that the thing that I did to get me here is done. And it is done to make room for all the new things but still, when things are done forever it makes one act embarrassingly nostalgic on the Internet. Because by commenting on the pictures on Facebook, and writing blog posts on narcissistic websites, and downloading every memory into a special folder, for just one more day I get to remember things that made me really happy. So I cried, because I was so happy that I was sad.
That is totally a thing.
Labels: living in rome
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