For nearly four years I’ve persistently denied that one day I would actually have to leave Cornell and The Sun, that one day I would have to walk off into the sunset. But when I finally did acknowledge the inevitable, it was somehow very symbolic and appropriate.
It was one of those unusually balmy days in early April. I was meandering around in Lynah Rink, having just left the men’s hockey office after an interview with head coach Mike Schafer ’86. The lights had been dimmed; the ice had been stripped from the rink’s surface; the seats were empty. Lynah looked naked, it looked surreal. I headed for the door, probably cursing myself for procrastinating on a paper that was due the following morning. As I reached the exit, I realized something.
This was the last time I would ever be in Lynah as a reporter and as a member of The Cornell Daily Sun. My heart jumped into my throat. My stomach wrapped itself into knots. Suddenly that door didn’t look so appetizing. “I’m never coming back here,” I mumbled under my breath, processing what that exactly meant.
I wanted to cry. I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes. I didn’t want to leave. Not Lynah. Not Cornell. Not The Sun. I took a few steps back into the rink. My eyes shifted upwards, towards the Lynah rafters where all of the men’s hockey team’s banners hung. My glance moved from one banner to another. I lifted my right foot and planted it onto the Lynah surface. Ice or no ice, I just wanted to step on it. That was when I knew that I’d have to close this chapter in my life even if I still had a million more words I wanted to write. I turned around again and headed for the door. Before I opened it, I glanced one more time at the rafters. I opened the door. It was late in the afternoon. I walked off into the sunset.
It happened again yesterday evening at 7:13. I was sitting at a keyboard at The Sun, trying to think of an opening to my final column. My mind blanked. I had writer’s block. Me. I’ve never had writer’s block. Once I wrote an entire story about a hat, for God’s sake.
But I didn’t want to write this column. While all the other Sun columnists had probably spent the last few weeks racking the brains thinking of a prophetic theme for their final column, I’d been hiding from it. My final column. Those words wouldn’t even roll off my tongue last night — that’s how much it hurt. I wanted to cry again. I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes.
I remember my predecessors, Michael Sharp ’00 and J.V. Anderton ’01, writing beautiful, well-thought prose for their columns. Beautiful, well-thought prose be damned. What I want to write is straight from my heart.