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I’m killing some time before I leave to go to my friend Leemore’s birthday dinner in the Latin Quarter.

I met Leemore at theater camp. I can’t remember how many summers we overlapped there, but we’ve been friends ever since, even though we haven’t seen each other in ages. I feel like I must be wrong, but I think the last time I saw her was the summer before my senior year of high school, when I was looking at Barnard and Columbia and I met up with her in the city. My mom and my aunt handed me off at the gates of Barnard, and Leemore and I headed to the Performing Arts Library, where we pretended to be writing a paper on Stephen Sondheim so that we could watch the Kennedy Center production of Merrily We Roll Along. (Part of me believes that these were two separate occasions, but I can’t quite parse them out). Then (or perhaps first, I can’t remember) we went to Serendipity for frozen hot chocolate and foot-long hot dogs, and girl talk. At the end of the day, Leemore dropped me off at Penn Station, where I met my mom and aunt and took the train back to New Jersey.

I still have my New York Public Library card from that day. I’ve never used it again. In the picture on the back, I look about fourteen years old. I’ve been thinking about this all day, trying to figure out when the moment was that I was suddenly old enough to go to New York City by myself (like I did for my Mannes audition last year), or to move to Paris by myself. Was it when I went away to college? When I graduated? When I first got on an airplane by myself? I thought about this a lot in Brussels too. When did I become mature enough, grown-up enough, to buy a train ticket and go to Brussels for three days by myself?

Sometimes I feel like I’ve had so much experience that I can take over the world, and sometimes I feel like I’m back at theater camp, trying so hard to fit in when all I wanted to do was sing. And now I’m in Paris, singing. I wonder what all of the people I knew back then are doing now.

How did it get so late so soon?
It’s night before it’s afternoon.
December’s here before it’s June.
My goodness, how the time has flewn!
How did it get so late so soon?

-Dr. Seuss, via one of the senior pages in my freshman yearbook