Upon returning home from Spring Break, UW-Madison students held a vigil Sunday night for their high school friendships in an effort to finally let go of relationships that died a long time ago, even if they didn’t realize it until now.
Freshman Jewelia Denning returned to campus last week deeply troubled, still reeling from the realization that her BFFs from high school were not as forever as she thought, and, their relationships have, in fact, already moved on to that great Parents’ Basement in the sky.
Denning had her epiphany while at a Spring Break party packed with members of Algonquin High’s Class of 2018.
“It just, like, suddenly hit me that I had nothing to talk about with these people anymore,” Denning said. “The vibe, the camaraderie, whatever...it just fucking died. Like, you could smell the corpse of our friendship stinking up the room, and I decided it was time to send it up the river...or whatever.”
Denning had originally hoped to hold a symbolic Viking-style funeral for her own lost friendships, burning her high-school yearbook and setting it afloat on a river. However, when she realized just how many of her peers could use a similar experience, Denning decided to hold the ceremony publicly for everyone to share.
“I think it’ll be very solemn, very impressive,” she said, describing how the participants will write the names of their former friends on scraps of paper, then light them on fire and flush them down the toilets in the Witte bathrooms. “I hope people will be moved. And I don’t think we’ll clog any toilets. I hope.”
Denning said the experience has forced her to reflect and reevaluate key moments from her previous relationships.
“I mean, it was just nine months ago we were writing in each others’ yearbooks about how we were going to love each other forever,” she said. “I remember, Sam’s yearbook quote was really profound, about how lucky we were that saying goodbye was so hard or something. And I helped Ana pick the perfect Michael Scott quote for hers. Was that totally meaningless?”
Still, even as she removes the heart emojis from their names in her contact list and hopes she doesn’t set off any smoke detectors in the bathroom, Denning isn’t ready to completely write off the deepest connections of her first 18 years.
“I’ll still, like, wish them a happy birthday on Facebook and stuff,” she said, “and I hope they’ll do the same for me. As long as we have that, the friendship isn’t totally over, you know?”