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Searching for the spark

"I’ll never give up on her because she has never given up on me. These past four years have shown me that if anything, she will continue to provide because there’s a part of me that will carry the memories we shared forever."

Malin Curry
Malin Curry.

I haven’t seen her in a month.

We didn’t part on the best of terms. I can’t remember the last day we saw each other, what I said or even what made us end. But I remember that last night. How I came home, assured that everything would be fine. Outside, I knew things were complicated. But when I was with her, things made sense. In a world where disorder and chaos reigned, she was my champion. The one to bring structure and peace to a world that no longer made sense.

I never wanted to leave, but I had no choice. The day we ended things, I never thought we’d be saying goodbye for good, and I still don’t. But it’s been a month. And, each day that passes I lose a little bit of that spark — the one that has guided me for the past four years, the one that had almost saved me now. I know she’s not really gone, but each day we spend apart, the memories grow fainter, the spark dimmer and it feels like a million small defeats.

Nothing feels worse than to remember. To think back on the times we shared together, good and bad, and feel those feelings all over again. But, at the same time, nothing hurts worse than to forget. So, I find myself pulled by the tug of memory, replaying in my mind moments we shared over and over like a tired vinyl spinning on a turntable.

I remember staring up at the sky in Kenan Stadium one night three years ago after a rough day when the world felt so big and nothing made sense. We sat and stared, neither of us speaking to one another, but communicating a shared language all the same. One that communicated the best was yet to come. That days like this would continue to come and pass just as quickly.

And I remember sitting on the 10th floor of Morrison Residence Hall, feet dangling as I watched her from above. This time we met after a difficult test. Surely, I had failed, but nothing between us had changed. She was as calm as ever, a welcome present that reminded me these things happen, and that I was worthy. I always had been.

It was late August 2018, before the start of my junior year, and the air felt charged; I felt sure that if I reached my hand out, I would feel the shock of a current. It was on this night that Silent Sam fell, and the maelstrom that ensued put her in hot water. I saw that I had a chance to be the spark she had been for me. A spark. A spark to bring about positive, necessary change and work to help her address the situation in its entirety. To right the wrongs of the people she had hurt, I joined organizations that worked to bridge communities together, carrying out work that meant something through student government and helping others to feel safe again.

We’ve had our problems, and I’ve never been blind to that. But I’ll never give up on her because she has never given up on me. These past four years have shown me that if anything, she will continue to provide because there’s a part of me that will carry the memories we shared forever.

I hate the way we ended. It’s been a month. Every day apart, I’ve looked for that spark. And I’ll never stop looking.

I miss you, Carolina.