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Nadya Anderson


A:

Q:

Now, I don’t have an answer.

I’m still really not sure why I chose to saturate my last moments as a college senior as Abraham Lincoln. 

It’s hard to say. I could say, it’s because I do reside on Lincoln Avenue, (a duplex, a house inherently divided)? My future is built out of logs? Four scores and seven years ago I wasn’t born yet, but, four years ago I was born, at COLLEGE.? Honesty is the best domestic policy? 

I’m not really sure.

My mom, who couldn’t be there, really is nudging me to put on the gown one more time to preserve hypothetical guests' nerves, analyzing our hypothetical photo mantle. Sure, grandma is going to be confused over sentimental. But I think It’s kind of like that person that switched all of their family photos with headshots of Steve Buscemi. How long until they notice? Will they ever? I just don’t foresee too many folks noticing the difference between cap-gown black from stove-pipe black, identical hues ideal for shading those middle-child-sheep. 


This photo is stamped May 21st, 2020. It was a big one. It was my 22nd birthday. It was also the one-year anniversary of the day I left Spain and arrived back in the United States after five months of a sheerly (quite different) happy time. Across two continents and some time zones, 21 was the longest birthday yet. I bought my first beer in the Newark airport after missing my connecting flight, and cried a little. Mostly because nobody checked my ID as I imagined, no bartender banter, no sloshed man next to me to buy the next; everything was conducted via iPad. 


This year I cried the first possible minute of my birthday. 12:00am, a buzzer-beater submission of possibly the worst final paper I have written in my life. The whole day I fought myself to work on it, but—just. could. not. I know why, after all it was the one class I opted pass/fail. And for once in my English major career, I did some math. 5%, that’s all I needed. 

Where did my grit go? 

That last hour I panicked. Feeling so guilty, feeling I owed it to my professors to make them feel the appreciation they deserve. I tried, but, in any case, whether literal or not (!), I failed. I couldn’t answer in time. Then it was done.

I cried that first minute, over a stupid paper, mostly, because it felt like nobody will be asking anything like that of me again.


Now, I guess I go, cheerfully (I promise I don’t cry as frequently as this letter would insinuate), into a strange and new time where nobody will be asking much of me at all. So, I’m curious, and excited to see what answers I come up with, in a space without much tangible, external prompt.

Sometimes, inexplicably, the answer will be: Abraham Lincoln.


Epilogue: All I do know is—-that Dr. Batt, whatta question-asker, whatta-Professor! 

A: always, gratitude 

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All images other than author photos and artist artwork ©Matthew Batt 2020