I woke up Wednesday morning, around 11, on a couch pushed tight against the dark gold walls of the apartment on the second floor of 58 Florence Street. That apartment, each room of which is painted a different deep, warm, color, is the home of my two closest friends at Clark, Mike Tierney and Paul Puiia. Next year, although my bed and mailing address will be in Blackstone Hall, it will be my home as well.
Tuesday night, Mike, Paul and I gathered all of our friends together for dinner at the apartment. Warm laughter and hours of flowing conversation carried us into the night, the words passing easily back and forth over the worn, low, dark wooden table that sits in the middle of that golden room. When I woke up on that couch, next to that table, on Wednesday morning, Mike and I said to each other the same thoughts in different words: It will never be like this - just like this - ever again. Mike is leaving us this August, graduating, and starting a new life in Manhattan. And I am still in London.
I was in Massachusetts from 7:07 on Tuesday morning until 5:16 am on Thursday — just 2,769 minutes, but each one shone. I had forgotten, living in London, a city of cold brilliance, that the corners of Clarkie’s mouths turn up together when they see you coming and their arms open when they see you leave and their eyes crinkle while they’re talking to you. I had forgotten that the Green turns warm and bright with a hot mist when the sun shines on it after rain. And I’d forgotten how much it means to me that I get to be a part of this place for a little while longer, before May 2014. Before the world.
When I came to Worcester on August 21st, 2010, I was certain that Clark was a kink in the plan. It was a horrible cosmic mistake that had brought me to it, and I was determined to get out. But then the corners and the crinkles and the arms opened wide gathered me up and took me in and changed me so fundamentally that it’s hard for me to understand the person I was back then. Two weeks ago, my younger brother Dale became Dale Watt ’17, Clarkie. There is no longer any doubt that Clark and I are tied up together, now as my flesh and blood walks onto the campus that I’m leaving. It’s home, and this is what coming home feels like.
The world is about to start moving very fast for me. The next ten years will be exciting, dangerous, and unpredictable. On the cold days and the hard days and the days that I don’t believe for a moment that I know what I’m doing, I’ll be glad to have with me in my heart the memory of these days, these sunlit days with friends.