I’m a patient wave and it’s an easy ride
Treasured lyrics from “Lilo” by the Japanese House resound through a car inbound to Fairfield, Connecticut on a spontaneous Labor Day trip. A drive with a familiar stranger planned at 3:00 a.m.: my inaugural IKEA run. Racing to buy our dorm decor in adjacent cashier lines, we unravel our lives over Swedish meatballs. But in all this emotive newness, I twirl my pointer finger around my jade necklace, wrapping woven strands of home around myself, a sliver of security. Freshman move-in was a wave into uncertainty, a final cascading memory of wearing my jade necklace, tucked quietly under my thick navy sweater. Waves of nostalgia crashed upon the foreign, marbling together like my jade pendant. I’m caught in flux, but I try to follow the tide back home.
A summer staple for bruising the Hawai‘i sun in my swimsuit, my jade necklace outlines a tan onto my chest. In Hawai‘i, my necklace shines selfishly: each gold link absorbing the sun, she diffracts and bends light to her own will. Together, we’re ambitious and aquamarine and accelerating, charging to surf the fleeting waves of summer. We hike mountain ridges at sunrise, camp along the shore overnight, island-hop to stroke the wrinkled palms of my grandparents, and dance barefoot with my sisters in my backyard. My necklace is a cry, calling me to dive into the ocean head-first, a reminder to savor all I have at home. She is an echo, a marbled reflection of the family and friends who ground me, a reminder to keep my toes in the sand before the tide sweeps me away. But eventually, the waves must recede and we must walk back to shore.
Old Campus-bound, I walk across Elm Street, arms tightly folded, bracing the late September chill with an oversized corduroy jacket. An email from the Yale Herald lists the available pitches and one strikes my attention: an ode to a lost jewelry item. After a silent moment of recollection, my mind returns to Labor Day. I pat my neck instinctively, but all I feel is my tightly ribbed turtleneck, bare of any jewelry. I trace my fingers around my neck, desperately twirling my pointer with the false hope that it’ll catch on my chain, but nothing is there. My jade necklace is nowhere to be found, and I’m frozen, realizing my nakedness. There is no one to chase the waves with: I’m alone and caught in the riptide, trying to stay afloat.
During her time in New Haven, my necklace had settled for the darkness underwater: she hid underneath my new repertoire of sweaters and jackets, her gold chain dull. Inevitably, I too dulled with this seasonal shift: my tan lines faded, the saltwater left my skin, and my memories of Hawai‘i gathered dust. Along with my necklace, I recognized I had forgotten friends to reconnect with, family to say I love you to, epics of home to tell my suitemates and newfound friends about. But the silver lining of recognizing what’s lost is inadvertently recognizing what you’ve found—fall outfits in which to power-walk up Science Hill, the solidarity found in debriefing your weekend with your suitemates over Sunday brunch, and even Swedish meatballs from IKEA. Once again, the waves of nostalgia crash upon the foreign, marbling together like my jade pendant.
Now, I remember that I’m a patient wave. In time, it’ll be an easy ride.