This time two years ago I was just graduating college. After four years of learning, growing and making unforgettable memories, it was time to wear a cap and gown and pretend I wasn't terrified of leaving the safety of guidance counselors, credit hours and a set schedule every semester.
But the weeks leading up to that big day were some of the greatest ones I can think of so far. My friends and I frequented the local bars, went to class when we had to turn in final projects or take final tests and skipped when we didn't. We all had that burning inside our stomachs before something big happens and we knew we had to make the best of it.
One particular night after a failed attempt at going to a Pretty Lights concert as a group, we walked to "midtown," the string of college bars off University Ave, and bought a huge cheese pizza which we all devoured on the steps of some old building while we waited for pledges to come pick up the drunkies. Pretty soon our group dispersed and last call rolled around, but I wasn't ready to go home.
Several of my best friends were still with me and we were off to find a fountain. I had a UF bucket list, and playing in an on-campus fountain was on it, but most of them were dried up and full of flowers, so when we found this one, my heart swelled.
So there we were. A bunch of fully clothed 21-year-olds at 2am laughing uncontrollably, trying to jump on the spouts before they were able to shoot out, lying on the ground, trying to freeze this very moment in time forever. Combining four years of wonderful, irreplaceable memories into one cathartic, beautiful, soaking wet moment. I could feel it all coming together. It was like jumping on the trampoline when I was 10 with the sprinkler underneath tickling my feet, or driving my car all alone for the first time listening to The Shins' Chutes Too Narrow, or slip-n-sliding on senior day of high school with blue Braveheart face paint and shaving cream.
My reverie was interrupted when we saw some guy messing with our stuff. We immediately started yelling thinking he was stealing our shoes, but he ran away back to his dorm. Upon closer inspection we realized he left us honey buns. Unwrapped, delicious honey buns in our shoes. It was incredibly bizarre and absolutely amazing. We ate them, of course, knowing this was just one more magical thing to add to this magical night.
I will never, ever forget this night. And something tells me this familiar burning in my stomach I finally feel again means I did something right. It seems like there's a fountain opportunity everywhere I look here and I can't wait to experience them all.