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Part IV: Adulthood

Previously Published Jun 2. 2021

Previously Published Jun 2. 2021

Conversation between Alena and me on April 28, 2021:



i hope u have a wonderful day today u deserve it”

“By adulthood, do you mean the tragedy in which we pretend to be mature but end up clowning ourselves?”

“sure! but u gotta celebrate”


I learn my first lesson of adulthood after stuffing my face with molten chocolate lava cake amid raucous renditions of “Happy Birthday” from my two closest childhood friends. 

As a child, I had embraced the iron law that it wasn’t a birthday until everyone is stuffed full of sugar. At eighteen, I wasn’t about to break the law, especially now that I would have to pay real consequences for it. So we leaped across the street to Salt & Straw and ordered three scoops of diabetes-inducing ice cream: Honey Lavender, Rhubarb Crumble with Toasted Anise, and Jasmine Milk Tea with chocolate.

At around ten o’clock, after an hour of high-pitched laughter and eavesdropping on a lady venting her relationship problems to her friend at the table next to us, we saw them. Or rather, I saw them.

Dean Brady and Ms. Odell.

I stared, dumbstruck.


Conversation between me, Dean Brady, and Ms. Odell:


“I told you it was her!”

“What are you guys doing at ten o’clock on a Wednesday night?”

“Nothing. Just taking a walk.”

“Wait, Ms. Odell… Are you…?”

“Yes, I am! Trust me, this is not from ice cream, I promise.” 

“Oh! Congratulations!”

“When are you leaving?”

“End of August. Classes start on September 7th.”

“Oh, that’s great timing! So you’ll get to meet the baby during the summer!”

“That would be great! And Asher Small would finally get a playmate!”

“Well, it might be too soon for the baby to play with Asher, but we hope so in a couple of years.”

“Are you ready to be a father, Dean Brady?”

“I couldn’t be more excited!”


First Lesson of Adulthood:

Age doesn’t make you an adult. Life does.


After my final APs, my friends come back from college. We meet for dinner where we have oysters for the first time. Cooked in butter with copious amounts of garlic, I decide they aren’t as repulsive as the raw ones my mother forced down my throat in Paris eight years ago. In between a sunset walk, giant scoops of diabetes-inducing ice cream from Tin Pot (not Salt & Straw quality but close enough), and college stories gaping full of laughter, the hours slur together. Before I know it, the evening is over.


From New York: an invitation. Four days. I book my flight for the morning after graduation, and for once, my mother doesn’t complain about the airline prices. This was a graduation gift. Her way of saying: “I’m sorry your graduation is virtual, while your friends from around the world and the Bay Area get in-person graduations.” Then, no. No, because we would have in-person graduation after all.

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Serrina Zou, Co-Editor-in-Chief

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