A year ago I did my first university all nighter. I didn’t mean to but it was due the next day and time was ticking faster than the words were pouring out. I drank a litre of cheap, shitty iced coffee from the vending machine downstairs and kept writing. The world was the quietest at 5 am. That morning my breath fogged up the window as I watched the sunrise over the harbour; I was the first person at breakfast.
5 am is never a good time to be writing an essay. 5 tablespoons is too much coffee for a half sized mug. 5 hours is not enough sleep anymore. But it’s May, more coffee, more essays, more 5 ams. Recycle, repeat, reusing the same energy you created last year. Trying to make up for everything that didn’t work right last year. May is busy and unforgiving; it asks a lot of you, it needs you to keep up. I never see enough of sleep.
May is still warm though, uncharacteristically so. I wear skirts without tights, lightweight hoodies instead of black jackets. Still stepping lightly; the ground isn’t slick with leaves yet.Though they are starting to fall, Auckland for all of its faults, does Autumn the best.
That old shirt you used to wear was too bright; even though it fit you like a glove you were too shy to feel comfortable in it. You left it unworn too long – let other people try it and borrow it and own it with more grace than you ever could. You took how beautiful it was for granted. It no longer belongs to you. In May they will still take you out for dinner but they will no longer belong to you.
I did my first actual all nighter of this year two nights ago. Watched the leaves outside turn grey then silver then green. Took too long footnoting, fell into bed too late – or I guess too early depending on how you look at it. My nightmares nowadays are such good dreams; they make it painful waking up so soon.
May isn’t my least favourite month of the year but I’ve never taken kindly to the cold. March and April always try and ease you into it, sure the night starts falling faster but there is still warmth and the dark is gentler. May has no time for that shit. It’s the last warning before winter arrives and it takes its job seriously. “This is your last chance,” it’ll scream at you every single day – your last chance to rug up in your jackets, to dig out your boots and your chapstick, to lock up, lock in and brace yourself for the next three months shivering in the dark. Maybe for some the best part of the year is about to begin, but I’m not one of those people who love winter – and it’s hard to enjoy the bearer of bad news.
It’s just when I look back on last May I hardly remember it. I remember tea and them and tiredness. I definitely don’t recall the time spent trying to finish my assignments. I remember that it took time but those spaces I was working don’t register as good or bad or even as any memory at all. So when I spend nights now trying to find respectable looking sources on Google Scholar I know that I am investing time into a blank. An essay that matters for my course grade maybe, but still a blank, a hole, a nothing. May is so many nothing’s interrupted by small glorious moments.
This May you told me it didn’t make sense, which makes me think you’ve forgotten last year too. You’ve let every part of me fall into that dark nothingness of the memory of it. There is nothing left to matter anymore. Even though I will never be able to apologise enough, I realise now I wore that bracelet in memory of a nothing.
In case you couldn’t tell, I kind of hate May.
Still the month is nearly over and so is the semester. Also I have a heater!
There is much to be pleased about.
May the 5 ams soon be greeted with sleep and the glorious continue to grow.
Catch you l8er xxx