I finished out my strange and wonderful year with the greatest group of friends I could have asked for. Maya was the one who got me through the year. We spent an obscene amount of time together and made what seems like a lifetime of memories. I’m writing this from her hometown, where I’m spending my precious two weeks of vacation this summer. Emma, another suitemate, completed the trio. She’s honest, outspoken, and willing to shoot the shit for hours, even in the middle of the night. She grew closer to Maya and I in our second semester and I couldn’t be more grateful she did. Nat was the seventh suitemate. We met in class on the first day of the first semester. By the last day of what would be my last semester, Nat could show up to our suite unannounced at any time, to no one’s surprise. He’s one of the best friends I’ve ever had, not undue to the fact that he’s almost always in the mood to get drunk. Dan was the newest member of our group, only around for the last couple of weeks. He lived on our floor, and while we had been friendly all year, it took us until the last dragging days of winter to start drinking with him. From there, Dan just stuck. He was the sweet, innocent one who often served as the butt of jokes and the designated snack-fetcher. He wrote us a long letter at the end of the year, thanking us for taking him under our collective wing. I still have the letter, and reading it still puts me in that bizarre emotional state between absolutely joyful and so, so sad.
Vodka (often raspberry flavored) mixed with raspberry lemonade is Nat’s signature cocktail. And since Nat was often in charge of obtaining the booze, it became the group’s signature cocktail as well. There isn’t a single memory defined by this drink, but rather months of memories, some I don’t recall all too clearly but wouldn’t trade for the world nonetheless. I think I’ll most fondly remember the last few nights before we all split up for the summer. I had closed the book on my campus jobs, extracurriculars, and major projects. I had to get through one more exam and a couple more runs to the UPS store and I was free. I wasn’t anxious anymore. I was going home. But before I did, I had to get really, really drunk with my best friends, just a few more times.
And so I did. We had something of a party for our last Thirsty Thursday and spent the next week draining the last of our stash, reminiscing and making new memories all at once. On the last night we all spent together we pregamed and took silly pictures before tipsily trekking through the torrential rain of a Boston spring to see Chromeo at the House of Blues. It was, hands-down, one of the best nights of the year. Normally I poured myself into bed around one or so, but on these nights I didn’t want to go to sleep. Soon I would be waking up to a bedroom that wasn’t the size of a small walk-in closet and wasn’t surrounded by the equally tiny rooms of friends I had grown to love fiercely, even on days when I couldn’t stand the sight of them. I wouldn’t miss the cold or the run-down dorms or the foul dining hall food or the masses of “working artists” smoking American Spirits in every doorway. But I would miss these people and our nights full of laughing, joking, complaining, eating, confessing, singing, dancing, and spiked raspberry lemonade.