The semester has ended.
The part of the semester that involves students has ended. I’m still sitting at my desk, calculating grades. The tally must be done — it’s part of the job — but this task is pretty dry.
There’s always a letdown at this point, when the real reasons for late nights, bags stuffed with paper, sharpened pencils, furrowed brows, last-minute prep, beautiful handouts, and teacher’s sighs pack up and go home.
Students. I miss them when they go, even just for winter break.
In the past few days, since a culminating evening of student presentations in one course I teach in, I find myself wanting to turn to my colleagues (other staff on the same course) and sing to them a random song that my sister Sally and I used to sing to each other on occasion and at random. Here’s how I (mis)recall the lyrics, and what I would sing: “The party’s over… take off your makeup… wake up, my friend…” The sound and the words linger on what has passed and will never happen, in just this way, again.
It’s a Nat King Cole song, yet Sally and I probably listened to the Johnny Mathis version on our parents’ phonograph player.
I can’t find a video of a live performance by either NKC or JM, but there’s a good one by Shirley Bassey. Check out the arm flutters when she sings, “The candles flicker and dim.”