The auditorium stood dark and empty, the opposite of what it had been only a few hours ago. Could it have been possible that a place so packed with people, glowing with strategic lighting and brilliant colors, the hub of activity could be so…peaceful? It stood dark, not a soul to be seen. The only reason she stood there, on the stage was that of a small favor she’d done for someone years ago.
The Dean of humanities had sure appreciated that lasagna, which had led to her receiving a single key that unlocked one of the inconspicuous entrances to the massive hall. She had often sneaked out of the dorms at night to go inside, and simply be. Yes, some nights had been spent practicing the violin she’d coveted so much. Others were of her feeling small and lonely in that vast empty space.
About six years and she stood there for what would most likely be the last time. The only reason she allowed herself to think of never coming back there as a possibility because the absolute certainty of not returning for life seemed too painful in that particular moment.
There was nothing eternal about human life, and too often do we have to detach ourselves from places, in this case, to move onto another stage.
As she stood on that stage, she recalled the first time she had ever seen the room. There, in the fifth seat from the left, she’d sat by the woman she’d befriended, and had loved like family. The silver-haired woman on the stage had been speaking, and her heart was close to bursting.
Perhaps it was the naivety associated with being young and hopeful, but she’d felt right at home that day. It was all so real.
The first real, good, thing that was happening to her and she could’ve almost cried. A peek at her friend, and she knew they felt the same.
“Don’t wait. Do it now, do it for you, and do everything…” the voice came back to her, and she smiled.
She had taken that advice to heart. She’d done it, then and there, and she’d done it all. Never stopping for a moment, even when her degree had been delayed. She’d made it count, and now standing here, having discarded her royal blue gown, and hat, she believed there was a lot she owed to that woman. Like her friend, she wasn’t at her university anymore. Not a lot of people had stuck around; some had left, dropped out, a few had died, one or two graduating early and the likes.
The darkness was all-encompassing, but she wasn’t scared. It’d been a long time since she was scared of the dark, a fear it had taken almost all of her life to overcome, in the same place. She stared at the empty seats, memories rushing back to her from the first time to the last until she was back to where she stood.
“We’ll have a good time, Nerz,” she had told someone once, sighing at the sunset as she’d come out of the auditorium, and it had turned out to be true.
With one last look at the place, she walked off the stage and towards the door. As she locked it behind her and ventured into the cool November night, she was complete.