Friday, December 3, 2010

Freedom is...

December 3 – Moment.
Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors).
This is difficult. I could pick out particular moments in my life when I felt most alive, but none of them really happened this year. But, if I were to have to fudge it and pick one from this year, I'd have to pick sitting in a tree on my friend's college campus. It really has nothing to do with writing, beside the fact that I'm writing it here.

I'm at community college right now. I live at home with my parents and drive to class every day. Been doing this for a year and a half now and just one more semester to go before I transfer to a four-year school. However, about a month or so ago, I went to go spend the weekend with my friend at her four year school.

There's something to be said about the freedom that comes with moving out. I'd never experienced the complete lack of other people depending on you before. It's always one thing or another at home. If it's not that there's some chore you have to do, it's that the car needs to be back, or you need to be home, or someone needs to be driven. Or, even when there isn't anything to be done, there is the chance that something will come up. And you're obligated, because you are at home and are under your parents' roof, to help out or be there or something. 

Away, that disappears. There might be other obligations that come up with friends or class or anything, but it's a different kind of obligation. You got into them because you wanted to, not because you were born into them.

So, sitting in the tree, nearly twelve feet off the ground, on a branch big enough that I couldn't wrap my arms around it, I was free. It was cold, because I was in short sleeves and it was getting dark. It smelled like autumn, like pine needles, like the precursor to ice. It was remarkably quiet on campus for the hour, it being a Saturday and everyone being away. There was just the sound of my and my friend talking, laughing about something or other, with the quiet thumps and rumbles of construction a block or two away. Everything was just starting to turn brown. The volleyball court beneath us was muddy. My heart was beating just a little too fast, because, despite my bravado in clambering all the way out to the end of the limb like I had, I was twelve feet in the air over a solid concrete sidewalk and the way the wind blew on me, I didn't feel quite secure.

But I was there and there was no one telling me to get down, or telling me that I needed to come eat dinner. In fact, there was no one telling me to do anything. My friend and I were free to do what we wanted. We ended up sitting on that tree for a long time, then wandering around the campus as it got dark. We watched The Nightmare Before Christmas at nearly one in the morning. We were our own people and for someone who's always been considered a responsible adult by everyone she knows, it was nice to be able to be irresponsible and not feel like I was in fact being irresponsible because there was simply no one to be responsible to.

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