To Bottle Time: Rebecca

What impressed me most about Rebecca was the constant sense of transience, and the different hauntings that took place. The narrator is constantly aware that everything – even the self – changes. She wants to bottle moments to remember them, takes the time to really notice her surroundings in case she wants to remember them later, and is really aware of the emptiness of rooms that she leaves. For a young woman, she also displays a remarkable self-awareness at times. She is constantly aware that she is becoming a different self than she was before.

How right she is. My senior year of college made me aware of how fleeting time is and how changeable we all are.

I think of nights out with my friends at our favorite drink spot, or moments spent sitting in a dorm room and laughing, or a tiny flash of time that is perfect and beautiful. Sure, I can remember these moments, but if only there was a way to remember them so vividly that it was like reliving them. Like the narrator, who wants to bottle moments so they can be opened and their essence relived, like perfume, I wish I had been able to save these moments.

When everything is the last, it takes on a special significance. This is why, at times, the narrator in Rebecca is so aware of them. Everyday actions take on a special weight when you know that they won’t last. I think of the last time I went to class, the last time I went to the cafeteria, the last time I walked across campus, the last time I got coffee or went to the library or locked my door. I did these things every day without even thinking about them. But somehow, the last time I turned the key in my lock and turned to leave my room, the weight on my shoulders was greater. It was like I had never been there.

The narrator in Rebecca says the same thing about leaving hotel rooms. There is something unsettling about leaving a place and knowing that it’s like you were never there.

This weekend everybody moves in at Luther. For the first time in four years, I won’t be with them. I miss college. I miss my friends, I miss taking classes, I miss being with people my own age, and I miss being at Luther in general. I loved it there. Each summer I looked forward to going back and counted down the days. And now it’s over. Just like that. Time’s a funny thing. You don’t usually notice that it’s passing until it’s already gone.

But times like your senior year of college remind you that nothing is permanent. Everything is going to change. Even you. I am a completely different person now than I was four years ago when I first went to college. In four years I will probably be a different person than I am now. This is sad because I really like who I am now. But time passes. Things change. People change. Nothing lasts forever, not even the places we call home.

It probably goes without saying, after all that, that I liked Rebecca way, way more than I thought I would.

Sometimes I wish I could bottle time. Or at least the good moments. I guess since I can’t, the key is to make a bigger effort to enjoy things as they happen. The best anyone can do is try to actively soak up as many minute details as possible and try to enjoy it.

To Luther’s incoming freshmen: Welcome. Enjoy every moment, because it goes way, way too fast.

I want to bottle time

Rating: ****
Up Next: The Bell Jar


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