The first time I ever felt it I was around 8 years old I think, maybe older. Dinner was cooking downstairs and I could hear my mom yelling from downstairs that dinner was ready and I better hurry up and get downstairs to eat. I had already gotten out of the shower. I was standing with the dark grey rock slabs that made up our bathroom wall, and staring at my reflectio outside the open door. The mirror had steamed up. The room felt blue. I looked out the window, steamed too, and I saw the sky darken. There was no visible sunset but I could feel the light seeping out of the sky. I yelled that I was coming. I stood in my underwear and hurled on pajamas. I felt an unbearable sadness in my chest, a shallow suffocating one that felt to me like the end. It was a Sunday, in darkness, and it felt to me like after – that there would be no after, that it was an ending. I’ve always described this as my sunset feeling, where I feel immense sadness at the lack of things to look forward to, the ending that no one else seems to notice. Loneliness in its own category.
I’m 21 today. It’s weird to wake up and not have any indication it’s your birthday, not because of social media or anything but because I don’t really feel it. I can’t tell if it’s that I never felt 20 or feel that 21 is no different either? I woke up today, checked the NYTimes (because what student of the arts doesn’t first thing in the morning) and saw that the YouTube singer and star I used to adore all through high school and parta of college, Christina Grimmie, held a concert last night and was shot to death in Orlando, Florida last night on June 11th. She had been on the Voice, was becoming a rising star and was only 27 years old. 27 isn’t so far off from 21. And I suspect the feelings will be similar. It made me both scared to be alive and in Paris, saddened by the country and world we live in today, and grateful that of all days today is the day I get to say I lived another year and hopefully have many more to come.