Chapter 2: In-Transit
It was late on Wednesday morning when Daria stood in the kitchen of her university apartment and surveyed the scene. She rubbed her temples. This headache was really annoying her. But, she had such a great time last night with Jane. The two had hit so many of the places they had frequented together over the past three and a half years. Daria reached into her small duffle sitting on the counter and pulled out some pain killers. She walked over to the sink, turned on the water, put the pills in her mouth, and used her hands as a cup to hold the water needed to swallow the pills. Hopefully the medicine would start to work by the time she got to the subway station.
If she had to describe her feelings at the moment then 'melancholia' would be her response. Not that she was particularly sad nor was she in any way depressed. It was some combination of let down from the frantic activities of finals week and graduation together with the general apprehension she felt about the future. Indeed right now the future didn't stretch more than a few weeks at best.
The checkout slip lay on the counter. It had been signed by the housing manager acknowledging that she was leaving the apartment in good condition and would have the deposit returned in full. The walls were now bare. The beds were all stripped. Her roommates had been gone since before commencement. It was oddly quiet. Daria's mind was experiencing not only her reaction at the sterility of this scene, but the feeling of leaving this place that had been home for the last two years. Now the fact was sinking in that college was truly over.
For the next minute or two Daria reflected back on her college experience. She had come in expecting intellectual stimulation. Her classes and her professors had clearly stimulated her mind and she had learned much. Working on Raft's literary magazine had been fun and she had met many people, especially when she had become editor-in-chief in her junior year. Looking back it was a good thing that Prof. Rufus had pushed her into doing that. In her last conversation with him he had really been pushing graduate school. Another expectation she had was that she would meet men who might be interested in her for her mind, and even the possibility of a serious relationship. Yet, men and relationships had not really worked out. No male student at Raft had ever gone out with her more than once or really wanted a relationship with her. All of that was now history.
Then there was Tom. She had treated him so badly in high school. Even Daria had to admit she was an awful girlfriend. Yet, somehow that foolish kid had fallen in love with her. He didn't abandon their relationship when she broke up with him at the end of high school. Unwittingly, she had opened the door for him when she said they could get together once in a while or talk on the phone. Looking back she could see how he had used that to ultimately bring them back together as a couple on that park bench on a hot and humid evening last August in Lawndale. At that point her life pivoted. What was old was new again. Daria had to admit that it was nice to be able to face the post-graduation world with someone. She was no longer alone. There was someone in her life who loved her and she loved in return. Would it last? Deep down she hoped it would. But nothing was certain and she still felt the need to prove herself in New York. She thought, 'Uncertainty is clearly the mother of melancholia.'
Daria laid her keys and key card on the kitchen counter. Sighing, she walked over, extended the handle of her bag, attached the little duffle to it and rolled the bag toward the door. Opening the door she pulled the bag into the hallway and let the door shut and lock behind her. She did the same with the door to the building. Her time at Raft was finished.
Once outside she began her last walk to the nearby 'T' station. Reaching the platform and boarding the subway she once again had that feeling of an ending. A significant piece of her life was completed and she had little idea what would happen to her next. She contemplated the situation on her subway ride and was still thinking about it when the train bound for Newtowne pulled away from the station in Boston. Tom would pull her out of this. Somehow he always knew how to make her feel so much better about herself or events in general. Daria just stared out the window as the city and then the New England countryside passed by. She tried hard to simply empty her mind and think of nothing. That was when her phone rang. She answered the call.
"How is my favorite niece doing," Amy asked.
Daria replied in her total deadpan, "I'm just feeling a little overwhelmed. It was surprisingly hard to walk out of my campus apartment for the last time with my bag in tow. Now I'm just sitting here on the train with a feeling of melancholia."
"Daria, that is totally understandable. One of these days you are going to have to admit that you are human and that you have the same emotions as the rest of us. You are apprehensive because of the uncertainty over your next steps. Things are not perfectly planned out and you are emotional about that. This is completely normal. Every time there is a transition in your life there will be anxiety. Like you, I experienced it at the end of college. I have experienced it every time I have changed jobs or moved."
"Then there is Tom."
"I've told you before, Daria, that guy is so in love with you that he will do anything for you. Let him comfort you when you arrive in Newtowne. You will feel better and he will be overjoyed that you have let him help you with your emotions. I know that you love him, too."
"I do, Aunt Amy. I do and I don't want to be the same kind of awful girlfriend I was in high school. I haven't been the greatest girlfriend in college either. But, at least I am better than in high school."
Amy sighed and said, "Did it ever occur to you that Tom accepts you as you are? If he didn't, then he would not have gone to the great lengths he has to get you back. This has been a great year for you two, despite some of the challenges you faced from some of his family members."
"You mean like his sister despising me and his mother believing that I am wrong for him."
"Yes," Amy responded. "I think his mother will come around eventually. His sister I am not so sure about. She seems to have her own set of serious problems including addiction. She probably sees in you everything she is not. It is not rational response."
"Thanks, I think," Daria replied.
Amy told Daria, "As you would say, 'it is simply reality.' There is nothing you can do about Tom's sister. You have to accept that."
"Good. Now when you get to Newtowne give Tom a big hug and a kiss from me! You are a very fortunate young woman, Daria. Not to mention intelligent and talented. Remember that!"
"I will. Bye Aunt Amy."
"Bye Daria." Amy said and ended the call.
Daria turned and went back to looking out the window. She recognized several landmarks that told her they would soon be arriving in Newtowne.