It was refreshing for once, not having stepped outside in days. I almost forgot what it was like to be outside. I didn't doubt that I looked like I had crawled out from a grave six feet underneath the ground, but with my beanie pulled down over my face and an oversized jacket wrapped around me, I didn't think anyone would notice my current state.
I shoved my hands into the wool-lined pockets and relished in the momentary warmth they gave. My head was tilted up towards the darkening sky and a small smile played on my lips as more and more stars shone in the night. They were beautiful, sparkling like a million diamonds. I slowed my pace and leaned against the trunk of a tree and simply gazed out into the world ahead of me.
It felt too surreal and time was slowly becoming my enemy. Everything was happening too quickly that I didn't know how to keep up. Memories from a couple years ago felt like they were from a different lifetime. The world was moving on, with or without me. I didn't want to become that person who was constantly fixated on the past, but I truly didn't understand how to completely move on and act as though it didn't happen.
I tried being selfish. I cut off everyone and everything that was precious to me. I was too close to losing my sanity and I turned my back to everyone as a last-ditch effort to feel okay. Not to my surprise, it didn't help much, in fact, I only felt lonelier than I ever had in my life. I didn't realise just how much I had depended on those around me. It was hard trying to find my own way, but with each day that passed, it was slowly becoming easier.
Graduation came a lot faster than I thought and the day was spent alone, simply accepting my certificate and leaving. I didn't bother talking to anyone, but I was jealous of how excited and happy everyone seemed. They all screamed and laughed together, bursting with anxiousness about the next chapter in their lives. I was like them all once, but the naïveté I once had was stripped from me. It was like a layer of the world was stripped away and I could finally see life for what it truly was. It wasn't beautiful, but rather dark and reality was spun into an intricate tale that mesmerised others and made them believe in its beauty.
I was broken out of my trance when my phone started to buzz in my pocket and I sighed, a white puff of air exhaling in front of me before it swirled into nothingness.
I pressed the answer button and brought my phone up to my ear, "Hello?"
"Louella Rey! Where the hell are you?"
I winced at the volume of my friend and pulled away from the speaker a little before rubbing my ear.
"Do you want to make me deaf?" I asked, "Do you really hate me that much?"
"Yes I do," he deadpanned, "I hate you because you just disappeared. I leave for two minutes and you're gone. Did you get kidnapped? Blink twice if you need help."
"You can't even see me," I rolled my eyes, but my lips twitched into a smile, "I just went out for a walk, okay? I'm down by the pier."
"You never go for walks," he said, and I could nearly picture him squinting at me with suspicion.
He wasn't wrong, I didn't leave the house very often. Even now, there was a small fear residing inside of me of the outside world. It was hard to trust those I met here — because if someone I had known for over twenty years could betray me, then how could I possibly trust those I just met?
"Are you my stalker or something? I'll be home in a while," I laughed, "It was getting stuffy being inside all the time."
"Just don't stay out too late, it'll get dark soon," he chastised, "Keep your phone on just in case. I'm going to head away now, but I left your dinner on the table so heat it up when you're back."
"Yes dad," I droned, calling out a quick goodbye before hanging up.
Kai was one of the first people I met when I moved here. We worked in the same store, although we were in different departments. One day, he sat with me on my lunch and we hit it off from there. He was the only person who made an effort to get to know me, but I was always a little cautious around him and never liked to be alone together for too long. With dark hair and matching caramel eyes, it almost hurt to look at him, and it only made me more wary about him, but I knew I couldn't live my entire life in fear of every male and so, I tried to push myself as far as I could. Soon, work lunches turned into day-off lunches and dinners and there was just something about the simplicity of our friendship that I loved. We didn't have to keep in touch every day, or even see each other, so even if a week passed, we acted as though no time had gone by. Adult friendships were a lot different on from when I was younger, but it was a lot less stressful now and I felt like I could be myself now, rather than someone who was trying to mould herself into what society wanted.
From the countless therapy sessions I had, I learned that some people simply had the idea of pain and love blurred together. Just because you thought you loved someone, that didn't give you access to their entire body and soul. And there was only one boy who understood that more than anyone else.
The one I left behind.
Did I regret it? Definitely. But life had its own way of bringing those we loved back to us, and I had no doubt I would meet him once again.
One day, somewhere. . . When neither of us were expecting it, that's when he would come back.