On Saturday night I wasn’t on my own.
I was awake at 5am; not studying.
Adrift in puddles of pot, a boy’s hand wrapped up in mine and a white blanket covering my body, too thin to be warm.
Balloons float above my head, helium and wine.
I stare up so I don’t stare within. So I don’t dare stare at the situation unfolding.
See, from outside my head it seems somewhat romantic. Teen fan-fiction, packed into a polite 150 pages. A light conversation with a beginning, middle and end.
Inside my head, I was adrift. My vision a little crispy around the sides, awash in free Prosecco, a schooner of beer and a spritzer. And for the meal, 2 cigarettes and weed freshly clipped from the bud and into a breakfast bowl.
The boy next to me reaked of the stuff. Soft words tumbled free from his mouth, his eyes like marble-cake.
Today he turned up to work not himself. The usual chirpy one, who talks too much because he can. Because he is too comfortable finishing his own sentences, didn’t speak a word. Instead he was either silent or snapped.
He is someone who warms me up; stares too long. Notices the colour of my eyes and then verbalises it. The kind of confidence that has the opposite effect on girls.
Other than over-speaking, he also leaks you see. He’s can’t keep his demons to himself, so he self-medicates. Anything and everything he can get his hands on to take the pain away.
It made me wonder why. How much pain does he have that he needs to fill himself with Cocaine the other night and weed today. “But not one shot, two please, with 4 cones before bed.”
I know his dad left when he was young. However, he had a good stepdad and mum, went to a private school and is halfway through a corporate degree. Pretty stock-standard for people who live around here.
But I’ve never seen grief like his and it scares me.
I know by age 21, a vast majority of us have some life baggage or hurt accumulated from parents, school or circumstance. Life plunders us all of childhood optimistism at some age, it’s just a matter of when. And then we have Instagram and the ‘nuclear family’ to compare ourselves to. To make us feel worst or give us a reason to walk away; when really sometimes there isn’t one. Sometimes people feel stuck and just need to move forward.
At age eleven, I learned this lesson myself. Sometimes love is not enough, especially if you look like a cage in someone else’s eyes.
So back to my endless Saturday night turned early morning.
This was a first for me. I never did the teenage euphoria drug scene. I was too busy studying, sleeping next to my boring boyfriend and having Friday night dinners out with our friends at the local chip shop.
So here I was working backwards, with a boy who, like me, was accustom to pain. However, unlike me, let it suck the light out of him. He was like a pumpkin and I could see how hollow he was though his eyes.
He was looking at me, drinking me in. I felt his pain when I hugged him, choosing not to stop. And then again, when I held his hand in an attempt of sedation so he wouldn’t try and kiss me again.
I too can still feel that loneliness that comes from losing a parent. It always has a seat reserved in all my relationships and makes you see people with a kind of cracked lens.
However being aware of it now, kind of warms me up. I see it as the main reason why I love writing and the only reason why I can listen to countless sad love songs and feel quiet in my head; a mix of a slap and a kiss. My own mind Soother.
And here was this boy, still looking at me in the way you wish they would. Bites of conversation continued until silence settled comfortably between us. Thoughtful; he asked me if I wanted another drink. Honest; he told me he was really glad he met me.
But I don’t think anything he could have said mattered. I had worked too hard to lessen my own pain, only then to bare someone else’s. It didn’t make sense, even in this blissed-out state of mind.
I wasn’t the kind of person to shut my eyes/medicate so I couldn’t feel what life was really like. Doing that makes you miss all the beauty and the balance.
And so I didn’t kiss this boy back, who was staring at me like I was the last flower before winter.
I knew he wouldn’t love me the way I want to be loved. He couldn’t even if he wanted to.
But if I’m being really honest, part of me held his hand, kissed his head, hugged him back because I needed it too. Because I forgot what it felt like, to feel genuine warmth from another, the closeness keeping me awake.
But the reality was we were just two leaky people, high in a kitchen, waiting for his toast to pop up so I could butter it.
As he watched me cut it into little squares, I gave myself another reason why tonight would never happen again. Pain, something two people should never have in common. Unlike him, I knew from letting that part of me free with other guys that it was a tacky, cheap glue to sandwich two people together. Flimsy; after a few weeks you can see feel it lacking strength.
After toast, the night ended as realistically as it could. The boy told me I looked cute in his hoodie and then went on to complimented how good the white blanket looked on me. Why? Because he was high as hell.
He then turned out the light and smoked 4 cones leaving his door ajar, almost like a question mark. I ignored it, as I turned left at the hall to go to the bathroom instead.
I left 4 hours later without a word and last night’s balloons lying on the floor. The weed, all but worn off.
When the Uber came, it began to rain with no hint of romance to follow me home.