Every day for the past year, as I’ve walked into City Centre, this has loomed before me:
Winking at me, teasing me; the great big black and yellow sign. Thesis. Thesis. Thesis. Stop looking at me, Thesis. I’ve got a workshop/lecture/travel article/pastie/book launch to get to and… yes, fine; you’re what I came here to do but I’ve got a life to live and I don’t need you hanging over my head.
A year in Dublin. Crunchy yellow leaves and seafood chowder in Howth village; lonely strolls down brick-lain Grafton Street; hot ports every day of the crisp winter; are you okay there? sure why wouldn’t you be. thanks a million. for the craic, like; cherry blossoms in St. Stephen’s Green; rain, rain, rain.
I won’t front; the first term of graduate school was rough. Regular ego deflation and the constant gloom of Do I really belong in this program? hanging heavy, like the Thesis sign, threatening to undermine the initial euphoria of ever having been accepted in the first place. Rough, rough, rough… and then different. And then better. And then a lot better. I see you, Thesis. I see you over there. Every day, steps towards City Centre. I see you. Don’t worry. I see you.
Today, after a week back in Dublin, I headed into City Centre as per the usual. And, of course, there it was: Thesis. Thesis. Thesis.
Today, one difference.
I went inside.
“The navy one, please. I’m at Trinity.”
What’s it like to be done – actually done? The cover is hard, with my name, the school, and the year on the spine in gold. A surge of pride, coupled with a thread of loss. Slightly weepy – why? I never, ever thought I’d have a Master’s portfolio for Creative Writing, let alone one from Trinity. All the years I thought such an accomplishment was impossible for me. I must not be the same person. I am the same person. The air is thick with rain and the smell of leaves; the streets are full with suits and kids in school uniform carrying hurleys. Thesis done. One week left in Dublin. Victory beans on toast at the cafe next door.