She wakes me up at 8:10 and I shrug her voice off. “Time for school already”, she says gently. And she repeats it and paraphrases it as if hoping to hit the jackpot with a certain phrase programmed to prompt a reaction. It’s highly irritating and all I want is to block out her voice with the blanket I have wrapped around my head and body like a cocoon. “Five more minutes”, I mumble, abstractedly waving her away. The difficulty I have getting out of bed reminds me of how I’ve often gone to sleep at eleven, setting the alarm to midnight to remind myself that I have to wake up and work, no matter how tired I feel. Every time, sleep cannot resist seducing me and coaxing me back to bed, leading me to wake up in the morning feeling disheveled, disorganized and panicked. I simply will not get out of bed unless it is absolutely necessary. Like, my bladder is about to give up on me, I’ve got an exam to take or there’s a fire burning my house down.
– – – – –
I start with the intention of taking a taxi to school but find myself walking briskly across red lights, past the hospital and finally through the school gates. I’m early for my Spanish orals and luckily, I bump into a friend who directs me to the right rooms. I am honestly so clueless. Then I bomb my orals.
– – – – –
The day is pointless, if not for my exam and CAS interview. I read the timetable wrong and rush into the room thinking that I’ve missed my appointment. “Sorry! I thought it was at 1:15 instead of 12:15”. He shakes his head and says “no, it is at 1:15”. “Oh”, I smile sheepishly and let him finish the interview I’ve just interrupted. As I wait outside and overhear an Indian girl (I could already tell by her accent) in the middle of a monologue about the place that India has in her heart, the principle walks by and I wave. Apparently, the wave is an invitation for a chat. He asks me questions and compliments my singing. I continue to say thank you and it’s awkward. Always awkward. And he’s always supportive and adorable in the you’re-old-and-excitable way. When it’s my turn for the interview, I can’t seem to say anything other than “cool”, “it was a great experience” and “it was rewarding”. Formulaic responses imbued with a false sense of enthusiasm. I swear, he’s heard it all before and he’s got no real interest in my activities whatsoever.
– – – – –
I write myself a note, sign it, and leave. She says “come to my house” so I roll with it. We get on a bus and we’re engulfed in fluffy white fog, rising from the trees like a scene from twilight. Soon enough we’re off the bus and we’re walking towards her house, along a street that looks as if it could’ve been lifted from another country. She gets changed into “ratchet” clothes, consisting of some random shorts and a t-shirt with hair pulled on top of her head in a bun. I think she just looks comfy and at home.
First things first, we snack on apple pie, coffee and huge chunks of Toblerone. We proceed to the basement and flop onto the couch, where it’s dim and quiet. Sometimes she says the most ridiculous things (the good kind) and she’s utterly sarcastic. You can tell she’s sarcastic by the way her eyebrows go up and how she speaks with the corners of her lips curled upwards, threatening to break into a real smile. Which does happen when you respond with laughter or another comment that takes the ‘joke’ a step further. We then look through thought catalog and mutter in disapproval over articles that try to justify cheating. Articles that are too long. Articles that are just lame. And then there are some posts; compilations of quotes by poets and famous people which we pause to appreciate.
After a while, we raid her fridge. I find pomegranate seeds and I pinch a few of them. “Don’t worry, I’ll only have like, five”. She raises her eyebrows and goes “fine, but only five. If you have six, I’m not your friend”. “I’m not your friend” seems to be her go-to threat.
We also have dumplings but she ‘cooks’ them in a way that I’ve never seen before. She dumps them into a bowl, pours water into it and then microwaves it. I’m hesitant and weirded out but she assures me “hey, I’d be dead by now”, so I take a bite and they’re great.
When people say “what shall we do now?” or “can we please do something fun?” or “why are our lives so boring?” I never know what or how to answer. What should we do? What better things are there to do? Eat chocolate cookies I guess. Savour the moment. Do teenagery things like watch Last Vegas and feel drowsy slumped on pillows in the dark.
We talk all the time it’s hard to remember specifics. But she said “I guess we’re lucky we found each other”, referring to our group of friends. And she is so right. We are kindred spirits and we each ground each other, support one another and understand each other in different ways. Friends are the best. And I tend to overuse understatements.