Go, go, go, said the bird: human kind / Cannot bear very much reality. (TS Eliot, “Four Quartets”)

I liked Boston College.  A lot.  Better than I thought I would.  And I have responded to my admiration of the school in the most obvious and natural way: panic and denial.  That’s right–I’m all talk when it comes to self-assurance and bravado in doing things like moving far away from my hometown, provided that said move remains an obscure, hypothetical, future possibility.  When it becomes Real, however, I begin to feel deflated and I am all reticence and small-voiced.

As I meandered around BC on Monday, talking to professors and students, taking in the campus and feeling almost as if their English graduate program–and especially the MA in Irish Literature and Culture–was secretly customized specifically for me, I was gradually overcome by the Reality that I would move to Boston and work toward a second MA.  I had thought that my visit to campus would leave me feeling elated, but elation is ephemeral and exists outside of fear and hesitancy; Reality wears such things as garments.  Rather than elated, I felt small.  Rather than brave, I felt insecure.

It became Real for me during my visit because I had made up my mind by the end of the day that I would go, although I am still having a hard time admitting it.  When asked if I’m going to go, I dance around the answer, noncommittally saying, “I think so,” or “Probably.”  The answer is really a whispered “yes,” but the word lodges in my throat, and my fingers recoil from typing it, and I hide instead behind a veil uncertainty.  Even now, even as I am giving my answer in this excruciatingly public forum, I feel myself retreating from it.  I will not go home and fill out my acceptance form tonight.  I will not mail it in the morning.  Soon, I will.  But not today.  I need a moment to allow this new Reality to graft onto my old Reality and become a part of me.  Just a little time to catch my breath and regain my voice.  Perhaps in a few days, I will be all talk again, and bravado, and expectant hope.

358 words (the shortest post ever?)


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