No more strangers | Things I’ve Learned From Strangers

Okay, well. This is it. You read the title. So let’s not draw this out or dilly dally.

Ananya Sharda | Graphic Artist

No more strangers. 

I mean it. 

And not just in the sense that this is the last entry of Things I’ve Learned From Strangers. At least as far as this paper is concerned, which is a whole other can of worms I can’t open right now or I’m going to cry. 

These pages have been good to me. You all have been awfully good to me — really, really nice and awfully good to me. 

But I said what I meant and I meant what I said — no more strangers. 

Please don’t hassle me about this, guys. But, I guess the least I could do is give you an explanation. 

So here it is. 

On May 19, I will graduate college. Do I have any tips for incoming freshmen? Be nice and if you eventually give up your dining plan, bring plastic bags to the dining hall when someone swipes you in. 

Things I wanted from the dining hall, but could never take because I didn’t have a plastic bag and didn’t want to put it in my pocket: blueberry bagel, Froot Loops, cookie. I have a sweet tooth — you can put whatever you want in your bag. 

On May 31, I will leave Boston — the city that I have loved forever. The city that has given me my funny group of funny friends and my rat companions and the only city I have ever really known. You can imagine how scary it might be to leave a place that you’ve lived in forever. 

In June, I will spend one last month with my family in my seaside town, and then I will move away. Maybe it won’t be a land far, far away, but it will be far enough — and it will make me cry. 

I have already started to cry. The tears come in strange bouts, unexpectedly collecting in my eyes. Sometimes, the tears come before my brain understands why they have arrived. It’s kind of like when you hear the doorbell ring and you peek out of the window to see your neighbor standing there. Then you think to yourself, “why are they there? Did I invite them over?” 

That is exactly what this whole crying thing is like. 

Either way, the tears have started. Tears of joy, sadness and change. In my current state, it’s difficult to imagine how they may stop. 

So, for now, that is why I am pleading “no more strangers.” I just can’t take them anymore. I just want people that I know. I just want to be with my dad, walking through the yard on the Cape to the Front House for dinner.

I just want to gab with the 21 club at The Avenue — talking about the months to come and the ones that are right upon us now.

I want to be with Tebbie at her dining room table, playing round after round of “Gin Rummy.” Even though she wins every time. 

Just running errands with Eliza — when you’ve had a friend that long, you start to do things like that. 

Just Harry and I sitting with gramps on the porch as the sun streams in.  

Just drunken walks home from our friends house late at night, screaming the song my roommates and I claimed as “ours.” 

Just doing anything with my mom, Kari Joan. 

Just people I know and places I’ve been. So I can soak them up and make sure that they don’t ever turn into strangers. 


I know the tears will stop one day. 

Once I move away, I can’t sob in my room to “All By Myself” by Eric Carmen forever. I mean, if I know myself at all, I know that at some point, I’ll think, “that sounds pretty good” and I’ll have to take it to a karaoke bar or open mic. 

But the tears will only be remedied — truly remedied — by new beginnings. 

And that means finding new people. I know it does. 

I’m just having a hard time thinking about saying “see you later” to these people that I love. These people that I have been so spoiled to be able to see most everyday. 

But I sometimes forget that that’s what life is — saying hello and farewell, being surrounded by strangers, turning them into something more, cherishing loved ones, repeating that cycle. Doing all of that — perhaps until we’re old and gray and some girl writes an article about you while you’re on your morning walk. Seems like a familiar story… 


So, to you, dear reader: 

Thank you for reading my stories. 

I really meant that other thing too — you’ve all been really awfully good to me. 

And please, without trying to draw this out or dilly dallying…

Don’t be a stranger.

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  1. I will be waiting in that far far away land for you!! 🧡

  2. Eileen Manchester

    Lili what a wonderful story I enjoyed reading, you have such a wonderful family so I can read between the lines it will be equally hard letting you go on your new adventures. Good luck to you and meet new strangers

  3. Lili, do not give up writing your nosy and nostalgic stories. I have enjoyed them. I laughed. I cried. They brought up memories of my past( 86 fast moving years). Best wishes in your new venture.

  4. Dear Lili, Thank you so much for all your thoughtful, caring and creative writings. You have captured our hearts and made us laugh and cry. I can’t wait to see what amazing adventures lie ahead for you! 🥰