Boston equals school for most people, and I’m no different. Each semester, people I love drift off towards new jobs and new locales, packing up their lives and shifting them elsewhere. I’m genuinely happy for them, but I can’t help that brief, gasping moment of sadness when they leave.
Yesterday, my friend Gretchen left to return to the West Coast. We started graduate school together, slogging through classes, discussing theories, and running into each other at random moments. We skipped class in October to go to the Sherman Alexie event, where I did the introduction and she was part of the sold-out audience. When she got to the front of the signing line, she mentioned that he was worth skipping class for. He looked up, and in his self-defacing style wrote, “You should have went to class.” It still makes me laugh.
Having this job means I see a lot of people on a regular basis, and a lot of my friendships have been cemented because I’ve run into people browsing the shelves or sitting down to attend an event. I can make an author timeline of my friendships—Colin Meloy and Carson Ellis, Jack Gantos, Mo Willems, and more—each representing a person that has played a part in my Boston life.
I wrote this blog post so I could show you what Gretchen left me: a string of fifty cranes, all in different colors. I’ve hung it up in my office, lifting up the ceiling tiles to keep it there.
I hate it when people leave, but if I’m lucky, they leave something beautiful behind. It might be a string of cranes, it might be a pile of used books that Carl and Natasha have deemed worthy for the UBC, or it might be something less material.
Thanks for the cranes, Gretchen.