my dearest connie, a love letter from me to the state of connecticut

     

[back entrance of connecticut college]

i freaking love connecticut. it’s preppy. it’s rich. it’s reserved & not all that friendly. I DON’T CARE. i credit the state of connecticut for changing my whole life. in the state of connecticut i learned about indian food. i learned about how cool rocks are. i learned how to speak, how to speak up, how to write. and when i’m back there i feel all of that stuff, and i feel awesome.

      

[connecticut college arboretum]

connecticut is super green. not eco friendly, but leafy. light green fades into lighter green. i live in oregon now so you’d kind of imagine that oregon has ruined all other beauty for me. i mean what can compare to the cascade mountains rolling into river valleys, waterfalls everywhere you look. somehow there’s a part of me that only wants to eat connecticut.

if connecticut were a food it would be bacon-wrapped scallops

a band it would be sigur ros featuring lil wayne

a mode of transportation it would be a flying sailboat submarine

      

[eugene o’neill beach, new london connecticut]

and now for the second part of my thesis: how sometimes you get to go back in time.

i’ll spare you the stuff about how complicated my last year in college was with a 3-year older boyfriend blah blah choices blah blah.

by the time graduation rolled around i was over it. my last night of college - when i should have been on a roof somewhere holding hands with everyone i’d ever spoken to, waiting for the sun to rise - i was packing up my room alone. i sat in my chair, in my gown. i walked across the stage and took my diploma. i posed for pictures, and after it was over, i put my stuff in my car and drove the 20 minutes to stonington borough, to matt’s apartment. phew.

      

[stonington borough as seen from space. not.]

but now, returning from my trip, i feel like a documentary filmmaker who fell in love with her subjects. whoops is right. i flew out early, wednesday night, knowing that if i didn’t go then, i’d never go to another college party. it was that simple. i knew it would be awkward, borderline regrettable, but i’d meet my sister’s friends, sleep in a twin bed, and be back in oregon before the beer dried on the floor.

    

[kelly getting her boogie on at the senior formal]

my first mistake was assuming i was too old to relate. my second mistake was forgetting how much i love dancing to pop. i’ll say this: i danced so hard to blink 182 that i got a tummy ache.

     

[sisters rock fancy dresses]

i got a do-over. a graduation i did care about. i got to say goodbye to college in a real way. i got to be with friends as they separate, as they face the meanest question on earth: do you have a job.

       

[friends on the last night]

part of the purpose of being the big sister is to help your little sister do it all better than you did. my sister makes that easy for me because she does things very well the first time around. and in this case, i am the one who got the chance to do it better. plus i didn’t have to wear a stupid robe.