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adulthood is a punctuation mark: the period that is a washing machine door. and like every mark on paper, it is also a window/an eye, a way of catching my reflection watching myself watch my clothes spinning/riding a carousel, riding a fissure of time/my bored face. adulthood is me in the laundry room of a freshman dorm using the notes app to write/waiting for the remaining five minutes on the timer to pass because i’m terrified someone will dump my wet underwear on the ground. 

adulthood happens in the mundane/in the warmth of freshly dried towels. adulthood is the perfect logical piles (party clothes/pajamas/pants) on my bed. but it is also the street below my window, the magic eye through which i observe the blue and green houses blooming side-by-side. it is the bones of the winter trees, almost touching the clouds, their hands open. 

adulthood is also the ‘waking-up-from-an-afternoon-nap-on-the-couch-to-an-empty-house’ type of loneliness. the type that curls around your body like a blanket, the weight of a butterfly on your eyelashes. still, it's also my body/a dune inside an hourglass and it’s soft and it’s quiet. adulthood is a wider white margin/the smell of tide.

is adulthood my dreams of sunlight caressing wood? or is it the sunset sighing in a foreign sky? is it not precisely the fact that I can only find one pair of unicorn socks? is it the closeness/distance that comes from distance/closeness? i think it might just be the urge to hold on to the air/to silk/to divinity when i see green moss growing on concrete. i am sure it is the waterfalls behind my eyes overflowing with my evanescent consciousness of existence/of infinity. 

adulthood is my failed attempt at folding a fitted sheet. a collection of all the things i wanted to learn but didn’t/all the flaws i won’t bother fixing. it can also be all the details that seem unreal; the postcards from MoMA on my wall, the names of the streets that roll off my tongue, the winter coat hanging by the door. it is life in an unfamiliar texture. seventy percent polyester. 

right now, adulthood is the urge to reorganize my entire drawer. it is the sound of wood and metal. it is an urge going away. it is the fact that my laziness makes me smile. adulthood is the wish that someone would catch me smiling and ask what’s on my mind. adulthood is the question “what's on your mind?” adulthood is performing/wanting an audience. do i look oh-so-loveable doing laundry? adulthood is not knowing what to do with oh-so-much longing. 

adulthood is also concrete: a roadmap/checklist/google calendar. it is the facts: i can vote, i can/but can’t drive, i can’t/but can drink. the responsibilities i keep in my back pocket. adulthood came, i think, because i took a plane. because i wanted the unknown to become one of my dimples. so now adulthood is a brown/beige/green campus. it is an essay i’m working on. 

adulthood is being done. there are no more clothes to fold. the music keeps playing on my airpods, and while a part of me wants to dance, it feels sacrilegious to disrupt this moment. a moment i will meet again, though maybe not on such intimate terms. maybe with a tired mind, a distracted/infatuated/daydreaming mind. so now i hold it in a page. 

adulthood is actually like doing laundry. as long as you have soap in there, and you don’t go crazy with the buttons, everything will end up ok. 

and finally, adulthood is this: a month later, my roommate telling me to listen to the geese. they are returning, she says. spring is coming. 

Julia Vaz

Julia Vaz is a senior staff writer covering the environment. She is a sophomore from Brazil studying Political Science and Literary Arts. 


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