The school year has ended and I am waiting in a bare dorm room so that I can leave tomorrow for the airport to make my way home for the summer.
It is so strange that one can inhabit a space – even one as tiny as my dorm room – and transform it into a place of recognition, memory, and importance in less than a year, and that it can be stripped away into a tabula rasa in just a week. This room is a cell, it is designed to look and function like any number of other rooms in this building (not to mention the ones in other buildings on this campus) but it has been transformed by posters, books, and experiences into a place I know rather than just a place I’ve been. If someone walked around in this room when it was full, they would have seen a portrait of me in its inhabitancy.
Now, in its state of transition, it still carries representations of me – though it represents me in transition as well. My laptop charging; food and drink before the journey, ready to be thrown away; the smell of my remaining clothing. There is a kind of homelessness in this experience of leaving.
There are not many memories of this room that stick with me. There is not much sentimentality to its residence. But perhaps stripping it bare has reminded me of how malleable my own identity is, and the way that I have changed and will change.
It will be interesting to see how my empty rooms are filled in the future.