I had finished my two-year Associate's Degree in a year and a half (thanks to some high school AP classes), and I was moving back home. There were no graduation ceremonies held in December - no pomp or recognition. Just me by myself for a few days, while I waited for my folks to make the drive to collect me and my stuff.
My first year at college, we found - of all things - a tumbleweed rolling across campus. We dragged it to our dorm and hung it in the corner of the living room. For Christmas, we festooned it with cut-paper snowflakes and maybe some tinsel. The second year, we girls pooled our money and bought a real tree. It was so comforting to have a bit of homey Christmas tradition in our drab apartment. The local old folks home was collecting decorated Christmas trees from the college kids, so it went to a good use when we went home.
But that last night, alone with my thoughts and our tree, I got waves of blue. I had just heard Michael McLean's Forgotten Carols, and had fallen in love with it. One song in particular, I Cry the Day I Take the Tree Down, was stuck in my head. Just close your eyes and listen - doesn't it make you feel melancholy?
My time at the small, friendly college was over, and I would be transferring to the big university near my home. I knew I'd feel lost and have a hard time fitting in. I've never been blessed with an abundance of social graces. I was already missing my friends and the familiar places I had grown to love. I was a bit scared, too. I didn't know how I'd find my way around, or if I'd make any friends.
Yeah, I remember that feeling well. But I didn't know what was around the corner. Before the next semester would even start, I would meet the amazing man who would ask me to marry him.
I didn't know, and in my dismal state, I couldn't even guess that anything good was coming. Isn't that how it goes sometimes?