A Season of Loss
Updated: Apr 17, 2020
This year is my senior year of college. I expected to say goodbye to professors and friends; I expected to say goodbye to the people who have made me better and more sure of myself; I expected to say goodbye to the stage I have cried, bled, and sweat on.
I didn’t expect this.
Like every theatre in the country and possibly the world, ours has closed. My final show, Shakespeare’s The Tempest, exists only in some universe where we don’t have to remain six feet from the people we love. My last safety net has drifted away into an unknown that scares me more every day.
We had big plans for the end of the year. Our graduation traditions range from the formal (a theatre gala where everyone dresses in their finest and receives awards) to the secretive (a final toast to the place we loved). When spring break began and I said goodbye to friends who were supposed to come back, I didn’t savor that moment. I didn’t savor the last time I saw my roommate, Emily, who I will probably not see again. I didn’t hug my professors tighter when we said goodbye. We made jokes about the virus, about how dangerous it was, not realizing what was coming.
The end has rushed up to meet me, far too quickly for me to process properly. My mind had built up savored moments and traditions that were meant to pave the way to goodbye. My mind has been left with unraveled what-ifs instead.
I find myself crying a lot. It’s overwhelming, the loss. The closest I can compare it to is the loss of my father, which happened in my senior year of high school. With how cursed my senior years are, I probably shouldn’t go to grad school. That’s just asking for trouble.
I don’t know what is coming next. I don’t know when I will step foot on stage again. I don’t know when I will be able to hear applause or go through the excruciating process of first tech rehearsal.
I was prepared to not know, eventually. After the ceremonies and the last goodbyes. I was prepared to go to a new city and not know whether I’d make it. I was prepared to go to audition after audition and fail a lot of them.
I wasn’t prepared to face the possibility of failing at what I love now. I wasn’t prepared to lose my last round of applause.
I am lucky to have had that last musical. We closed James and the Giant Peach days before the virus reached Washington. I am lucky that I can call my friends and play Animal Crossing with them. I am lucky that my family is alive right now, that I can call my mom and hear her voice. Every day, more people are unable to say the same. And I am grateful for what I have.
That doesn’t make the loss go away. Not for me. Not for anyone.
In these times, I go back to what I love. I listen to show tunes, I watch recordings of plays and musicals, I sing until my boyfriend puts headphones on in annoyance. I relish in the thing that I may have lost forever, even if I didn’t get to give it a proper goodbye.
For now, that will have to be enough.
photo taken Fall 2016 during my first show.