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Tuesday, April 23, 2024 — Houston, TX

Though we forget the details, we are all going to be OK


By Tina Nazerian     2/9/16 9:18pm

On the afternoon of Super Bowl Sunday, I opted for solidarity. There was a screening of Laurie Anderson’s “Heart of a Dog” at the Museum of Fine Arts that I wanted to see. Originally, I was going to watch it with my roommate, but her plans changed. The other friend I thought would appreciate such a film was busy with schoolwork. Even though I suppose I could have asked another friend, I did not. I went alone — odd for someone for whom a good conversation with the right person can be a natural shot of caffeine.

It was one of those movies that made me cry. Narrating as illustrations, photographs and videos danced on the screen, Anderson looked at death. The death of her beloved rat terrier, the death of her mother and the death of her artist friend are the specific ones. She dedicated the movie to her late husband, musician Lou Reed. In one scene, while telling the audience how she had recounted her childhood hospitalization to people, Anderson made a revelation on screen. The creepy thing about stories, she explained, was how much we forget their details, wiping away the ones we don’t like, every time we tell them.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about the story of my time at Rice. As graduation draws closer, my fear of missing out grows stronger, and I ruminate the past in my head, thinking about how next year, I won’t wake up on campus. I won’t wake up at my second home, because I will have found a new one.

Sometimes, I get jealous of the underclassmen. They have all of this time left, while I’m desperately hoping that the little time I do have left with my friends, professors and even the squirrels, goes more slowly. And then I remember that everyone has to go through this. If you don’t graduate, it’s usually because something bad happened to you.

A few days ago, I thought about how there were many unpleasant parts of my Rice experience, and that reliving my time here would mean reliving those parts too. I wouldn’t be able to just pick and choose the good parts. Anderson was right. Stories are creepy. We never tell them as they were.

After the film ended, I walked back to campus, my black boots crunching the dirt and rocks beneath me. Several times I pulled out my phone, because I saw something ordinary which in that moment looked extraordinary. Did you know you can be in the museum district, and angle your camera at the trees above you in a way that erases the buildings?

Without earphones, I listened to the sounds of the city, and the sounds of my own walking. Back on campus, I saw someone, presumably a student, lying down on the ground in front of Fondren. He was talking to someone on the phone, and was basking under the sunlight.

I walked past him. I had cried in the auditorium during the film, but I was no longer crying. Although I will say that I do feel like shedding tears as I’m sitting in Fondren, writing this piece with a purple pen.

I wasn’t crying as I passed by him because I knew that somehow, at some point, we are all going to be OK.

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