And when the rain fell, they looked at each other and they laughed. Running through puddles, pushing and pulling at each other as they ran. Their laughter was loud and happiness radiated from their eyes. To live in the moment was a miraculous thing.
“There’s a wall in front of you.
It’s tall, it towers over you.
You have to climb it.
In order for you to get to where you want, you have to get to the other side.
So start climbing.
You will fall, at some point.
But does that mean you give up?
If someone drags you down, do you stay down?
No matter what, you climb.
And you do not stop until you are on the other side of that wall!
You do not quit.
Do you understand?
People will always try to stop you or distract you.
But you just keep climbing.
You don’t ever give up on reaching the other side of that wall!”
Bestie 1: (2009)
Standing in doorways was the hardest thing I could ever do at one time. All of our gatherings were either at my house with the doors closed or me on one side and you on the other.
You went off to college and I stayed standing in the same place, never moving, never progressing. To live through questioning you: What is college like? What is it like being on a bus alone? What friendships are like when you can choose them for yourself…
One day, I asked you if you thought I could do it one day. You were always positive with your encouragement that I would not always be left standing in the same place. Until you asked me what I wanted to do…
“Dunno. Maybe psychology or something. You think I could do that?”
“No, I don’t.”
“Yeah. I guess you’re right.”
Bestie 2: (2016)
You helped me through it. “Come on, C. Let’s go for a walk.” Encouraging but never pushing. Any time I needed to turn back and retreat, you were with me. Only made it to the end of the driveway? “You made it to the end of the driveway, C! You’re doing great!”
But then I recovered and the dynamic changed. I no longer needed a hand to hold every time I set foot out of that doorway. I could walk down the street and walk into a shop without needing to retreat.
“I’m thinking of applying to do this Access to Higher Education course. Not really sure what it’s about but I think it helps with Uni and stuff.”
“Don’t do it.”
“It isn’t worth it.”
“It’s psychology and stuff, I’ve always been really interested in that kinda thing.”
“Yeah. It’s your thing. It’ll interest you and you’ll leave.”
“It’ll open doors for you and you’ll go. You aren’t going to stay around here, are you? You’ll leave and I’ll miss you.”
“My plan has always been to leave.”
“I know, but now it’s real. Don’t do it.”
The dialogue from Fences between Troy and Rose has always spoken to me. This morning a thought entered my head that perhaps it spoke to me because, for a time, it was me and it could have been me for much longer if I had felt a bigger need to put my closest friends before myself.
My two closest friends believed without a doubt that I would get better one day, or they at least portrayed such a belief. In the years following, however, they were not so keen on my decreasing need for dependence. What was once two very strong, positive friendships suddenly became volatile and hurtful. A lot of deceit that had been previously hidden came to light… their only reason being “we were protecting you!”
The guilt felt from putting myself first and walking away is slowly fading, although, I am unsure if it shall ever truly fade completely.
…It’s not easy for me to admit that I been standing in the same place for eighteen years.
…I been standing with you! I been right here with you.
( http://www.iupui.edu/~elit/fences/fen21txt.html )
We had a conversation once, once.
Surrounded in a world where every single person was talking at me, loudly.
You spoke to me, calmly.
Of all the differences to be made, to me.
It was you who made one of the biggest, the loudest.
I heard you and I continue to hear you, always.
One day I plan to tell you, one day.
I had thought I was a nuisance,
The black sheep.
It took leaving,
A shot in the dark,
The result immense.
A letter sent out,
The response, “Do your best, it is all you can do.”
I felt my heart skip.
A phone call, later,
The words, “She says she loves hearing from you.”
The letters continue,
A feeling so immense,
I had thought I was a nuisance…
There are carols
There are trees,
with bows and bright, bright lights.
I am not ready yet
…never ready yet.
There is that feeling in the air,
it is here.
An empty chair, two of them
The lights are there, harsh and blinding,
a watery perspective.
There is cheer
I know I wasn’t what you expected,
I was never a girly girl,
Karate took precedence over dancing lessons,
I was rough around the edges
I know I dashed your hopes,
I never fit into the expected box,
I saw people for who they really were,
I stood out
I know I’m different,
I know I don’t fit,
I see people for who they really are,
I don’t want to fit into their box
I know my worth,
It took time to find my way,
I wasn’t what you were expecting,
But you loved me anyway
It is 8am, I am so tired. The neighbours have kept me awake until the early hours and they pay no consideration to me having made plans.
It is 9am, I need to get ready. The weather here has been cold and dreary and I have no idea what to wear, only that it needs to be smart and presentable.
It is 10am, I am leaving. I really should have brought a scarf for the walk – the wind is biting but within five minutes I arrive.
It is 10:15am and I am seated in the Minster, next to a Nun. There are greetings and conversation, I feel embraced.
It is 11:45am, I am leaving. The beauty of the service I just participated in was so immensely beautiful that I found my emotions were brought straight to the surface. The moment the choir started to sing, I found myself teary eyed.
I needed this.
A small town person in a strange City, being completely embraced by strangers – I have no words other than:
I needed this.
I thank you, every one of you, I thank you.
She walks slowly through the streets, hands holding on tightly to the handles in front of her. Her smile is tight and her knuckles white as they grip strongly. The paths are easy to navigate, the space is open and encourages her to keep pushing forwards.
“Stop here!” Ron points to a spot just slightly to the right of where they are walking.
Sophie wheels him over, making sure to put the brakes down on the wheelchair. She moves from behind him, lowering into an uncomfortable crouch beside the chair. Turning to look at Ron, she finds herself taking in everything that she can. His eyes, the colour of his hair, the aftershave she can smell. This feels like foresight, like knowing this moment is one that she will remember when she reminisces in years to come.
The ocean looks like it goes on forever, the beach below inviting them with its warm colours. Ron’s eyes move rapidly as he soaks it all in, the soft wind moving strands of hair from their previously perfect placement. He moves his head to look towards Sophie, smiling in such a familiar way that it jolts her.
“Grandad?” There is such wonderment in her voice as she speaks in a soft, hopeful tone.
He raises his hand to her cheek, “Do you remember coming here when you were little?”
“Yes.” Sophie nods, teary-eyed. She leans over him, arms wrapping around his frame as she buries her head briefly in his shirt. When she pulls back, he smiles his smile and she offers him one of her own.
“You look tired, Sophie.”
“I’m alright. It’s just the sea air.” She lies smoothly. He nods in response and takes her hand as he looks off towards to ocean.
Original work by ‘Just Me’.