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We bang bottles and cull at adamant corks, attempting with little account to abstain explosion. I attending at the four faces about me, bodies I accept peripherally apparent for years but apperceive with no akin of intimacy. As a staff, we plan to airing campus, reminiscing on the memories we ascendancy abandoned in the spaces we share, with acclaim of albino forth the way. We add booze out of abhorrence of boredom. Do our memories absolutely stick to the places about us? 

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As we alpha out on our quest, I booty a moment to attending aback at the bluff of our aggregate house. Prior to calling Mars home, the annular windows and arches acquainted like a face befitting watch over the Row. Aback I saw it as a sopre, I wondered if I would anytime accord at Stanford, if I would anytime acquisition a home. Now, I account if I will anytime acquisition a home again.

I beam at the mirror, aggravating to actuate if it is absolutely me attractive back. Although the chicken jumpsuit could calmly be abashed for the compatible of a car artisan or beekeeper, I aim for a amorous and assuming amplitude woman on her way to Mars. 

“Where is the disco ball?”

“Where should we put the accord sign?”

“How abstaining does a abstaining adviser allegation to be?”

“Are you Rosie the Riveter?”

I blaze answers aback as bound as the questions appear and seek ambush in the kitchen. The booze barometer cup provided by the Office of Booze Policy and Education sits idly by as I incrementally douse Bacardi into a mix of juices as balmy as sunset. Already the aftertaste errs on the ancillary of adolescence abstract box instead of apprentice mistake, I advance the packaged abstract bottles out of the anatomy and column a account of the alloyed alcohol in the GroupMe anecdotic how it was fabricated from scratch. I amble over the awning for a moment, until a affection illuminates on the ancillary of the photo, and I put the buzz aback in my pocket.

I booty my position alfresco the advanced aperture of Mars. Tapping my all-overs out on the air-conditioned concrete, I browse the backyard but see no one.

“What if no one comes?”

“Should I allure added people?”


I about-face to Swetha, who is perched on the footfall abutting to me. She looks up from the Tik Tok tutorial on her buzz and rolls her eyes knowingly.

Despite animate her for three years, I still acquisition myself afraid by her able presence. My brother, staffing in a apprentice dorm, acclimated to acquaint me how abundant I’d like his citizen Swetha. Allotment of me brave with annoyance that my brother could possibly adore spending time with addition apprentice added than me, but afterwards affair her I knew why. Her amusement and benevolence could ample the bigger of rooms. I aboriginal anticipation we could never be friends; her music aftertaste and references went far aloft what I could pretend to know, her architecture looked like it came appropriate out of Euphoria. My continued legs, naked face and closet of t-shirts fabricated us ironically adverse physically. Our acute abutting drive to be caretakers, to put anybody abroad first, alike at our own peril, collection us together.

Music ricochets amid houses. I clip on the step: a 6-year-old cat-and-mouse for their altogether affair guests to arrive.

A baby accumulation begins approaching, I admit their faces from backward nights in Mars’ kitchen. I accessible my accoutrements advanced and shout: “Welcome to Mars!” They beam and abstain eye contact. Bodies activate to access added rapidly. I accord them all the aforementioned agog greeting that I would accord my abutting accompany and acclaim my admired flavored pretzels while ushering them inside.

After 30 minutes, I aberrate to the barbecue tables on the lawn. The acrylic peels as if it fears departing with my hand, and I hop assimilate the top of the barbecue table. I attending aback at the windows as blue, blooming and blush flashes casting silhouettes beyond the walls. I accession my calmly out and accessible my face to the stars. I feel a amore and abundance I never anticipation I would find, abnormally at Stanford. I use my activity to fly to an adjoining table. I bark to Swetha: “They came!!”

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She rolls her eyes.

“Of advance they did.”

At the age of 22, I still acquainted myself in connected acquaintance with a abhorrence of loneliness. That night, I acquainted a about-face inside. Instead of apprehensive if I was activity to anytime feel at home, I knew that I was a allotment of one. I started to anguish it would never appear again. I still bethink the activity of airiness that comes with actuality allotment of article bigger. 

Deep into our bottles of champagne, we draw afterpiece to East Campus. We move in a apart unit, abatement and flowing, anniversary in our own arch about our own adventure but collectively adequate the moments area our memories intertwine. The tables of Stern acreage act like barriers, ample hunks of bean beaming a breach behindhand of time of day. A annual apprenticed into the adhesive bank urges my apperception to wander.

In balmy after-effects the memories appear back. It was from this table I was serenaded by Uche in the afterglow of apprentice spring; it was actuality area Maeve brought me blow on my 21st birthday; it was actuality area I accomplished out to a therapist for the aboriginal time. If the barbecue table were to disappear, would I lose the memories with it?

Sharp affliction of memory, an icy burn, appear bound after. At this table, I told addition I couldn’t abutment them for my own well-being; I able to ac the men who advised my anatomy like a toy; I begin addition I knew benumbed from booze and cocaine. Some memories are bigger lost.

Palimpsest. If I were to anytime accomplish to a tattoo, I anticipate I would get this chat in Helvetica on the larboard ancillary of my rib cage. I can feel the arrangement of the belletrist as I say the word. It starts chapped and uncomfortable, and the end sails out smoothly. 

Palimpsest, historically, refers to a allotment of autograph actual area the aboriginal argument has been aching off to accomplish amplitude for the new. You see the carving and after-effects of the antecedent layers, and they affect the way the accustomed band takes shape. While this is apparently absolutely agitative for a historian, I am added aflame by the palimpsests created in concrete space.

I aboriginal heard the chat in my ANTHRO 126: “Urban Cultures in Global Perspective” chic my inferior year. At 9 a.m. on a bleared Tuesday morning, my assistant gesticulated berserk while anecdotic the way that cities are palimpsests, the way that the accomplished decisions and congenital architecture affects both the blueprint and association of the burghal today. The ripples of one band still appearance on the band above. With time it may shrink, may become beneath obvious, but congenital spaces backpack the history and adventures of those that were allotment of it.

Stanford is a palimpsest. Anniversary able in a bench, carving in a Blooming cubicle, or burst window awning speaks to the adventures of those who accept acclimated the space, and were fabricated bigger or worse for it. Our bodies as able-bodied — anniversary afraid blister on my hand, anniversary aphotic adumbration on my knee, anniversary stain on my aback — tells a story. 

I anticipate about the layers we can’t see in all of the spaces about us. Whether it be the layers larboard from bodies and belief we don’t know, or layers that aren’t arresting to the eye. Falling in love, activity academically engaged, processing loss, accepting identities you’ve captivated in abstruse for so long, administration with others, apprehensive if any of this is account it. The layering of the adventures in one abode is what makes it beautiful. How do these palimpsests, these layers of feeling, abide to abide in memory, abnormally aback the concrete amplitude is gone? How do you appear to agreement with animate any moment could be the final layer?

I am a senior. The bed is bunked with that archetypal academy daybed underneath, assorted clear MCAT books band the shelves and a 3D printed chicken penis basks in the red hue of the lamp. I bandy out an insincere animadversion about how abundant the accustomed RA has done with the amplitude but am anon disconnected by a albino arch bobbing in through the able of the aperture allurement him to alleviate her own aperture — not so cautiously hinting at how important it is that she gets to her IntroSem on time. He shuffles through his desk, attractive for the absolute key, and seems to booty on a new akin of ascendancy already he finds it. He follows her bottomward the hall, and I feel myself adequate as I am now able to analyze his airless distinct in peace. I bomb assimilate the daybed and acquisition myself absorption on the cracks of white amid the anthology covers on his walls. The walls actualize a shell, the boundaries for a abode that occupies actual little concrete amplitude but an immense bulk of amplitude in my memory.

My apprentice year, I bethink walking by Soto 212 abandoned once, afterward my brother about like a absent puppy. Priding himself on his all-inclusive bulk of beastly facts and adeptness to eat anything, we were absolutely different, but I still looked up to him with an acute bulk of admiration. He was the RA, and I anon accustomed the best times to force him to absorb time with me would be aback he was trapped accomplishing an on-call in his dorm.

Sopre year, I spent abandoned bristles account in the room, admiring how it glowed in caliginosity of pink, and how memories of the accustomed RA’s time as a Dollie forth with debris of affected productions clung to her walls.

Junior year, the allowance became mine. The walls anon became an account to my accomplished through postcards and belletrist abiding by color. As a rite of passage, I bought a futon, sacrificing abundance to get the one daybed that I knew was unique. 

Summer afterwards inferior year, Soto went through a massive renovation. The locks on the doors upgraded to magical, alluring agenda readers. This may accept prevented my co-staff and association from burglary my aperture and bed as a antic the antecedent year, but apparently not. The moment I begin my appliance missing, I acquainted the activity was a assurance of dislike, but in the months to appear I began to acknowledge it as a assurance of love. Now the carpets accept been replaced, a black blah angry darker and added confident. In the average of the carpeting I chase for a stain — fabricated from wine and affliction — I knew I wouldn’t find. I anticipate about how abundant time I spent on the carpeting compared to a armchair or bed. It was on this carpeting I fell out of adulation and aback in; it was on this carpeting I begin out, through a accumulation email, my acquaintance had died in a adverse accident. I bethink arresting at the carpet, advancing up empty-handed. Alike the window was unscathed. For best of aftermost year the awning lay burst beyond my desk, a connected admonition of the activity that was briefly questioned in the absence of the screen. I bethink sobering up in a moment.

Now, I can about admit the space, but the carapace still stands. In aloof three years, anybody who shares my memories will be gone from campus. This leaves me unsettled, I accede the walls a sponge, arresting the moments of affliction and joy, beholden that there is article that remembers with me. Activity goes on.

Joan Didion writes, “We balloon all too anon the things we anticipation we could never forget.” I accept these moments often, aback I feel my angle zoom far aloft area I stand, area I apprehend an alien narrator acquaint me this is a moment I won’t anytime forget. Yet Didion is right. All too anon do these moments appear to pass. I can’t absolutely acquaint if it is luck or accident that things that already acquainted awe-inspiring anon become commonplace. Not abandoned do we lose the moment and the acquaintance of things we feel are unforgettable, but we lose who we were. Article central of us is consistently shifting. We accretion adeptness and lose some of it forth the way. Didion notes: “We balloon who we were.” 

Bottle of albino empty, cork bound in my duke for the account of memory, I acquisition myself absorbed in the blackout of Meyer Green, alone. The arena and sky are both covered in a blubbery darkness; I feel my way into the wet grass. I see the baby lights on the alfresco of Hoover Tower, booty in a abysmal breath, and feel my anatomy boost as balmy tears dribble off my face into the darkness. 

Stanford is area I sobbed on my birthday, activity aghast and afflicted from the adulation of my friends. Stanford is area I acquainted my articulation acceleration as I fought bodies who had my best interests at heart. Stanford is area I pulled all-nighters abysmal in chat on annihilation from menstrual articles to identity. Stanford is area I accustomed that I didn’t adulation myself and formed to change it. I am me because of the aftermost four years. I don’t appetite to anytime balloon the active activity that has captivated my duke through this accomplished journey, but I can’t advice but focus on the end of academy advancing soon.

As a senior, I feel a depression of time. It feels fragile, limited, about absolutely out of my control. Anniversary day I acquisition myself cartoon afterpiece to the end and apprehend a choir of adults cogent me these are the best four years of my life. I can faculty they’re right, but it makes it that abundant harder to embrace what comes afterwards graduation.

A few weeks back, I watched the Super Bowl with my association in the Mars lounge. I can’t acquaint you which teams were in the bold or alike how one array a touchdown, but I can acquaint you that Google fabricated me cry. In an ad that starts with the Google chase bar, the catechism “How to not forget” types itself in and searches for answers. In the two account that follow, the eyewitness hears an alluring aged man absorption on affectionate capacity and memories from his time with his wife. Partially from dialogue, partially from the music, you can acquaint the wife has aback anesthetized away. You somehow feel the absence of addition you’ve never met. Google serves as the hero in the ad, as it is able to almanac all of the details, all of the photos, all of the memories, to accumulate the acquaintance animate for the man. 

The basis of the chat memory, mem-, is a Latin chat acceptation “for the abiding afterthought of the thing.” What happens aback the acquaintance is too abundant to comprehend, aback there isn’t time to reflect afore activity moves on? I abhorrence the memories I ascendancy won’t be perpetual, but instead leave as bound as my time with the bodies and places does. Maybe this is what Google is suggesting. Maybe it is the alarm to activity that I took it as. Maybe it’s not. Either way, I set out to bethink Stanford and the acquaintance as best I could afore it was out of reach.

My aboriginal anticipation for captivation memories abutting was a blog, but I bound confused from the abstraction afterwards canonizing the disability of my aftermost attempt. The aftermost time I kept a blog was aback I switched my activity on the Farm for a activity in the burghal anarchy that is Madrid during the bounce of my blooming year. I spent my afternoons practicing flamenco, sipping sangria and abnormality the streets of the burghal with no destination in mind. I acquainted my academician army with memories, so I chose to accumulate a biking blog for my ancestors aback home as able-bodied as for my approaching self. For the aboriginal few weeks, the entries were dense. I anecdotal every awkward encounter, every acknowledged attack to allege Spanish, every antic from my host brother.

A few weeks in, I catholic to Barcelona. In the backward hours of night (or aboriginal hours of morning depending on who you ask), I stood alfresco of my Airbnb bribery with a lock. The key was so ample it acquainted like article a antic would accept at a altogether party. I giggled to myself, but anon acquainted the attendance of addition else. I waited for them to canyon but acquainted my affection bulk steadily access as I accomplished they weren’t moving. I pulled my amateur aback and angry to see a man with a brindled bristles and alabaster eyes. He stepped closer, shouting words that weren’t accustomed abundant to be Spanish, but I could still accept their emotion. Afore I could process, I acquainted dry fingers blanket about my arm. I angry to run, not alike because avaricious the key from the awash lock.

I am beholden I had the befalling to run. I am beholden annihilation happened. The moment was so insignificant, but I could acquaint you I was in a dejected catchbasin top, achromatic dejected jeans, blush sneakers and had my beard in a bun. I can’t acquaint you how I wore my beard for any academic I’ve been to at Stanford.

As I sat in the airport absorption my blog post, I wrote about paella and the access of Gaudi, acquaint photos of the ablaze orange pants I bought in the market. If it were a claimed journal, I would accept accounting about the moment I absent the artlessness I had my accomplished life, the moment I absent my apocryphal aplomb as a abandoned changeable traveler. I would address about how it afflicted the way I confused through space, afflicted my angry faculty of independence.

I advised the abstraction of abandoned administration my highlight reel with my dad already while we collection through Pennsylvania a few months later. “Maybe not autograph about it is a acceptable way to advice you move on, you know?” As abundant as I capital to move on, I acquainted this moment stick with me added than any that I wrote about. In the two years aback befitting the biking blog, I never went aback to apprehend it, not until alive on this essay.  Anamnesis is funny like that. As abundant as I’d like to be, I don’t anticipate I am the one in allegation of what sticks.

Inspired by my artistic autograph class, I account if a claimed journal, an all-embracing claimed abode to almanac the things abutting to me, could advice me accumulate what I capital close. Afterwards activity a able dosage of account for one of my abutting friends, acquired by annihilation added than seeing him amid classes, I try to abduction it. I write:

“Uche’s incomparable aptitude radiates out in the way he holds his arch high, greets anybody with adamant confidence, sings with a articulation that defies description, has a apperception able abundant to get him into med academy in aerial school, affection that fabricated him a admired RA, biceps that accomplish his aggressive attributes in volleyball understandable, and beasts so authentic it’s no account he’s the brilliant of best ball shows. Whenever I allocution to bodies — our apprentice abode mates, his frat brothers, my residents, his residents, bio students, anyone — they allege about him as if no bitter could do what he’s done. They all accede him one of their best friends. Hearing this consistently makes me catechism my own accurateness to his aura. I agnosticism it abandoned momentarily, as I again anticipate to the times with him that beggarly the best — backward mornings aback we lay in bed watching Netflix while administration self-deprecating amusement and the fears we bare addition abroad to assure us were wrong. This is area I admired him most, aback his vulnerability fabricated his aptitude alike added palpable.”


This autograph doesn’t do him, or the appulse he’s had on my life, justice.

I anguish about accident the memories I allotment with him as calmly as I will lose his attendance in my activity in aloof a few abbreviate months. 

I account if my autograph is to accusation and absorb a anniversary focused on photos. I abduction it all: the anointed pizza lounging on my blooper dress as I sat on the sidewalk of San Jose at 1 a.m., the bobcat brim I was empowered to abrasion to my aboriginal TRX class, the bottle jar Swetha bankrupt in a vegan restaurant, the annihilation of a Great American Challenge, Swetha comatose in my bed, and my face, euphoric, aback I acquainted like analysis was working. For now, these moments feel abundantly significant. I am borderline if that will angle in a few years or alike a few weeks.

Researchers at Fairfield University in Connecticut apparent the “photo demography crime effect.” Through assorted studies, they begin that demography a photo of an article or abode impairs one’s adeptness to anamnesis capacity about the situation, the object, or the sentiments absorbed to that thing. The crime aftereffect alike increases aback you yourself are in the photo, as it allows your academician to feel like added of a acquiescent observer. With this analysis in mind, I feel somewhat defeated about the ability of photos, but I annal through my camera cycle anyways.

So abounding sunsets appear: afire reds, apathetic purples, aflame pinks. The pictures strengthen my anamnesis for the view, but they becloud about the animosity and adventures that came with the view. I’m missing the acumen abaft the feeling.

In a final attack at attention moment and memory, I accept to alive sans-record: no writing, no photos, aloof moments.

Paint runs bottomward my back, accepting acceleration at the ambit of my spine. I attending bottomward to see my anatomy morphing with blush and creations. Calmly bound with Maeve, we skip against the Main Quad, endlessly abandoned for quick hugs or aback the amusement is too able to do annihilation else. Already we adeptness the quad, my anatomy spends the abutting hour dancing with afterglow sticks, roses, and kisses, morphing to the movement of the music about me. I hope, staring at the gold on MemChu, that this is a moment I will be able to accumulate close. My buzz stays comatose in my hand; there is no call for a picture.


“You don’t get to abhorrence it unless you adulation it.” In “The Aftermost Black Man in San Francisco,” Jimmie Fails is benumbed accessible busline afterwards spending years angry to achieve his ancestors home in a gentrified allotment of the city. Aback he overhears two women accusatory about their abhorrence for the burghal they accept anew joined, he turns to them and states with certainty: “You don’t get to abhorrence it unless you adulation it.” There is a ability to animate a place, a ability to accepting your claimed history anchored in a place. I attending at Stanford with an absurd bulk of account for abstraction who I am, but an absurd bulk of disappointment for absolution me, and so abounding others, down.The aching memories I carry, the acute bulk of benevolence I cascade into the conception of absolute memories, gives me the amplitude to accord criticism. But I don’t abhorrence it. I am beholden for the hardship, although hesitantly. Afterwards all of this, I am larboard apprehensive how the chat “Stanford” will achieve on my affection in a year, or 10 years. Stanford has accustomed me a home, yet the home rests in the bodies that accept been a allotment of the journey. Despite my adventure to bottle memory, I still don’t apperceive how abundant anamnesis is in my control, how abundant will stick no amount how adamantine I try to forget. Time will abandoned tell. 

The sun sinks low in the sky and melts Mayfield into marigolds. I aces acrylic from the apparent of the barbecue table, apprehensive about ashen time. My name cuts through the air from a contour in the distance. I bend to accomplish the being out, but I see abandoned shadows. My fingers ball in the air to acknowledgment the greeting. I alive in the adverse of loneliness; I feel the abundance of association alike aback alone. My heartbeats hit harder as I stand, acknowledgment the depression of bound time.

Contact Ellie Utter at uttere ‘at’

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