I’m two months late on my Collegetown rent. If I’m being honest, I actually have a very kind landlord so this isn’t one of those revenge-seeking situations and I know that I’m the real asshole here. The reason I’m two months late on my Collegetown rent is because once I pay it, that will be it for me. I will have no more home in Ithaca.
Childish, sure, but I don’t want to believe that I’m leaving Cornell or possibly even getting kicked out. The idea of graduation is so tacky and so absurd and so absolutely rotten that it’s exactly how I imagine it would feel to get punched in the throat by someone capable and willing. The punches rolled slowly at first, but now they’re coming all at once.
I always knew, from the second it was good, that it wouldn’t be for forever. I just didn’t expect “not forever” to be this brief and breathtaking. Next year, all of my best friends won’t be living within walking or shouting distance, nobody will be preoccupied with making sure I received their club’s quarter cards and I will actually get evicted if I don’t pay my rent. Our shangri-la has been a world class summer camp and I guess my professors never claimed they would teach me how to leave this place behind. Like the Mark Knopfler song goes, “It’s here and then it’s gone, there’s no secret anyhow.”
It has been my greatest fortune to look out on the world from the top of this hill, to have been embraced by this snug dreamscape even if just for a split second. If I am proud of anything, it is to have experienced how glorious Cornell is by experiencing it as myself. Buried in the most unexpected corners and arms, I have stumbled on senses of home a million times over and then took every opportunity to plant my feet. These quads have been a forgiving place to screw up and break down, a fertile ground from which to grow.
The moments flooding back to me now are not the ones with pomp and circumstance, but the ones when I faced this place honestly. What I’m really struggling to say goodbye to are the ways in which my life has been so readily concentrated in these 10 square miles, my body so cautiously nestled and sheltered between these hills. I got luckier in the friends department than I deserved and all of my favorite moments here have been with and because of them. Most of the good things about Cornell, I know, will stay with me long after I graduate.
To the places — The Green Dragon Café and The Cornell Daily Sun, thank you for pulling me tight and letting me dance. Libe Slope and Lynah Rink, thank you for swallowing me whole and for the boundless spirit. White Hall and Olin Library, thank you for the gracious refuge time and time again.
To my dear friends and mentors — While the word limit on this article will not allow me to thank each of you appropriately, I owe you all everything. As great as Cornell is, it would be near to nothing without your presence and support. I have discovered no better feeling than loving and being loved in Ithaca.
And to my family — Thank you for the loud and constant cheerleading, for letting me tell you about my days as they happen and for teaching me that success is best measured in dinner parties. Sending me here has been the greatest gift you could have ever given me.
Forever and always, Go Big Red.
Odeya Rosenband is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. She served as the Opinion Editor on the 139th Editorial Board and can be reached at [email protected]. This is the final installment of her column Passionfruit.