Since I was young I’d never had many friends, and I was never good at keeping them. Every time I got to a higher part of school people would tell me “It’ll be better this time” but that was never really true. Until university. I’d moved a lot growing up (which didn’t really help when it came to friends), by the time it came to uni I was in Paris, “the land of love” as some call it, well Paris was a lot of things but I didn’t know about love. It was definitely a fun place to be though.
Since I was 16 or 17 (I couldn’t pinpoint exactly when it started) I’ve been thinking a lot about the world, about feelings, about myself. I wanted to understand how it all worked… and how I worked. I was usually really happy and optimistic, I always saw the bright side of things but I’d realised, mainly during holidays, that sometimes I’d get sad. I wouldn’t really realise it at first until I went out and saw friends and I’d think “Shit I hadn’t noticed how sad I was before”. Sometimes it was just seeing something beautiful, like the sun reflecting a certain way on some leaves and then I’d feel happy again. Being with friends made it alright, and it could go as suddenly (or even more so) as it came. After having asked myself all of these questions I now have a good idea of how my mind works.
So I went to uni. This uni was a particularly messed up one but everyone was nice, we could empathise with each other because we were all in the same hellhole. That’s where I met her. Mia was normal and strong and kind and funny. I never found her, she found me, if it’d been up to me to go up to her I would’ve probably wasted a lot of time finding the courage to talk to her. As it happens it took no time at all to build a friendship. We got close faster than I’d ever gotten close to a friend before. Her arms were comfortable and when she hugged me it felt like nothing could hurt me, externally or internally. For some reason I felt safe, or at least safer, when I was with her. I felt stronger in her presence, I don’t know if she felt the same way. I hope so but I have no idea.
For our second year we decided to live together to be closer to school. We found a 2 room apartment. It wasn’t much but it was the best we found and the furniture was already there. Mia wasn’t sure about the double bed but I shrugged, “it’s not like anything could happen” I joked with a mischievous grin. She looked at me with her intrigued puzzled look, It was cute and I liked to tell her that because she’d get embarrassed and confused and it was hilarious.
She’d been trying to kiss me for a while, it was a game and I kept avoiding it which would explain her startled reaction when I kissed her for the first time. We both understood there was nothing sexual about it. We’d already slept in the same bed and neither of us thought much of it. I never loved her that way and I’m pretty sure I can safely say the feeling was mutual.
I was thinking about all of this on the train home. It had two levels, I’d never thought much of it beforehand but the idea of a double-decker train was rather odd considering there weren’t even any double-decker buses in Paris. It made me chuckle; London was so far away. A lady walked in and started a hello-ladies-and-gentlemen-I-need-money-please speech, she had a daughter and needed money to buy her books but she wasn’t just begging she was selling bracelets for 2€. While she finished her speech I fished a 2€ coin out of my pocket. I’m not very good at choosing things so I just picked the one that stood out most.
I’d been thinking a lot lately, especially just then, I was thinking about it again. The sadness. It felt like every time it came it was a little worse and it had already been really bad. I was afraid of what worse would mean. I knew I hurt people when I was like that, even though I tried not to some part of me always wants to lash out. As a desperate call for help maybe? I’d always been bad at expressing myself and it wouldn’t come as a surprise if the way I instinctively asked for help actually pushed people away.
I was fiddling with my new bracelet, pulling it around my fingers and feeling the beads almost unconsciously. I always fidgeted when I was nervous, doing something with my hands helped to minimize the storm of thought in my head by feeling something simple: wooden beads on an elastic string.
To drown out the thoughts I liked to sit on my desk, grab some headphones and paper and just draw. No matter how bad it was, drawing could always make it better. Unfortunately I wasn’t near my desk at that time.
I got out of the train and started walking to the bus stop. How much worse could it get I wondered. Would it ever stop? Or at least stop getting worse? I looked down at my bracelet, it was Halloween coloured: orange purple orange purple… but there was one place with two purple beads side by side. It wasn’t particularly pretty but I liked the colours. I leaned my head back and stared upwards, I probably looked more than stupid, I didn’t really care. I was ignoring the hurricane of thoughts in my head and I could just about see the next stops like that.
I was going home to my desk. Mia might be there. Mia was probably the one I’d hurt the most. Maybe I should just leave, I thought, but that would’ve broken my heart. So I kept walking home. The bracelet was surprisingly comfortable, it wasn’t bitey like I thought it would be.
What would she think, I wondered, if I just left and never came back. Gone with the wind. I know her well enough to know that she wouldn’t just be fine with it. The analytical part of me pointed out how she’d been there so many times and all the things we’d shared; moments, secrets, thoughts… But maybe she wouldn’t be that bad. Maybe she’d be better off without me. Why did I tear my own heart to pieces? Orange purple orange purple orange purple purple. I liked it. “I’ll keep it” I told myself.
My friend Zampano asked for a follow up story on Passing Moments so here is Tina’s point of view 🙂
I didn’t have a word limit for this one so I could write a little more ^^