Last night Brandeis University called me. I had thought it was to request money, but, as it turns out, it was to remind me of my 10th reunion coming up this June. “Funny story,” I told the bright-eyed Brandeis student. “I am not actually in the class of ’07…Well I am. But not really.” I then told her about how in the fall of 2006 I petitioned to graduate Brandeis one full year early so I switched from the class of ’08 to ’07. (I did not include the detail about how I originally was accepted into the class of ’07 but deferred to go to Israel for the year—that was tangential and had nothing to do with my graduating early).
Speaking to the Brandeis student about this, I remembered how weird it was to leave campus in May ’07. I was ready to graduate and excited to begin my graduate studies in nutrition—that is why I petitioned to graduate early in the first place! But there was something about the day of graduation that felt rushed. The ceremony itself was wonderful, with my mother, brother, grandmother, uncles and aunts in attendance. But after the ceremony, I simply remember packing up my belongings and driving away. That was the part that felt so sudden. I felt like I was ripping myself away from Brandeis like one who removes a Band-Aid quickly to avoid pain.
On the one hand, it felt too quick, too sudden. But on the other hand, it felt eerily just right. After all, just 7 months earlier my father had suddenly passed away. I felt like I was exacting revenge on the universe, on my peers. My father was stolen from me in such a shocking manner, and now, instead of being the passive recipient, I got to be the aggressor of sudden abandonment.
I had decided to graduate college early a few months before my father’s sudden passing, but these two events were emotionally, and seemingly cosmically, intertwined.
Since I only discovered my love of writing 8 years ago, and I have only come to more fully dedicate myself to it in the past year, this is the first time I am writing about this incident. But I have a feeling it won’t be the last. Nor the last time I look back at experiences I’ve had that were shocking and traumatic at the time, and only in recent months, am I becoming able to put them into words.