Hark! You there! Friend?
You who stand there in this crowd of familiar faces:
I know you! Tell me now, without hesitation or equivocation:
Do you remember this place?
I remember it. I remember it and more.
The conversations in the halls and other peoples rooms
The long walks home at night, fearing nothing, feeling everything
The laughter at meals and the complaints about the food
The singing with all one’s soul that seemed to come from nowhere
The awkward silences and the meaningful smiles
The mornings and afternoons and evenings in the sun, stretched out on grass.
The games and the jests and the oaths
The hitting of sacks against flesh, of feet (and more) stamping on the dance floor
The clinking of glass and the downing of liquid ambrosia
The meetings and partings
The growing and learning
And most of all, that feeling, that incredible, indescribable, undeniable feeling that all of this would go on forever, that all of this had somehow, at some time become
I remember it all. And I think you do too. I think we all do.
And though we may have gone our separate ways that feeling, of being, of belonging – has never left us.
But here we are now, and it seems like the world has had its way with us. And it seems like we were wrong about it going on forever.
How the emotions come rushing back! How it all seems to clear even though it was so long ago and now, it seems, that the thing that brought us together will be no more.
It’s a time for sorrow, yes. But I think it is also a time (and don’t laugh now)
Because even though this place will no longer be here, or changed beyond recognition
That spark, that was lit inside us so long ago, will forever remain:
Walls can be torn down: but memories cannot be erased
Good things come to an end: but the bonds that hold us will not
Grass can be ripped out and trees cut down: but they cannot make us forget this place, or what we had here, or what it meant, what it means to us.
Names can be changed and terms imposed: but they cannot silence the echoes of our footsteps and our voices, which resonate through time.
So even though brick and glass may pass away, words and deeds do not
They live on. Inside us all. And as long as we draw breath, they never will pass away.
Indeed, they will continue on, for there’s immortality for us all:
It’s in the wind and in the pools of water
It’s in the trees and it’s in the cracks in the pavements
It’s in the pages of tattered old magazines and fading photos
It’s in the thought of comfort from the past that comes to you out of the blue when the city streets seem to cold and grey
In saecula saeculorum. Never doubt it.
Never doubt, wherever the paths you choose may take you
That somewhere in this world, someone remembers you, as you were, as you are, as you will be
And thinks well of you, and wishes the best for you. And that there will always be, one more home in this uncertain world. Here, together, with us.
Depart in peace, therefore.
Keep your memories close to you.
They cannot kill what is inside. They cannot destroy what is and always will be a part of you.
Take one last look; touch the stone one last time,
And slowly but surely, turn away,
Very quietly, taking nothing with you
Not even the dust – there’s no need to.
For indeed, a part of you will always