My last full week of high school has ended. Passed in a blur of half-completed summative projects and afternoons lying in the sun. I’ve even finally picked up my graduation gown. Soon, exams will be written and yearbooks will be signed.
It hasn’t fully sunk in yet. Or maybe it has. I don’t know what the symptoms are.

School has started to feel different. No longer do I complain about waking up in the mornings, rush home after school, or walk quickly down the hall without waving at a familiar face. Every class, every bell, and every last club meeting, they’re a constant reminder to cherish the time I have left.

Four years seemed like a long time up until this moment. I thought I was ready to leave, ready to face the world on my own. But as my carefree lunch hours and lively classes come to a close, I’m having trouble letting go. I don’t want to let go. I don’t want memories to be forgotten.

I want to remember the way Teo, Paul, and Dhiya belt out to Spotify, the sound of Joyce’s car as she drives, and the shape of everyone’s smiles. I want to remember the late night Reckoner meetings and the feeling of accomplishment as the team pulls through. I want to remember the bad jokes told where everyone laughed more at the teller than at the content. I want to remember the spontaneous trips to the plaza where I spent more and ate more than I should have. I want to remember the parties we’ve thrown in celebration of milestones we’ll never share with anyone else. I want to remember the people who have helped shape me into the person I am today–my teachers, my friends, and my classmates.

These are the memories I will return to in a few months time as my mind wanders from studying for university exams to wondering what my old friends are up to. These are the memories we will talk and laugh about in a few years time when we meet again, remarking at how much we have changed. By then, we will be strangers looking back at a past life.

Responsibilities and adulthood await on the other side of the road. Soon, the light will change and I will have to cross. The bus will arrive at the stop and I will have to step on. But in these last few minutes – days – before I do, I will look back one last time and smile.