Who We Are: College

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Kevin watched at the cards, it was Gin, but the use of the phrase wasn't directed at the game they were just playing. That much he understood. He looked at the tattered Edd in front of him, sitting, legs crossed, on his bed and simply waiting for an answer, a reaction, something. Kevin exhaled deeply. He felt how he deflated completely, how he suddenly felt weak, tired and vulnerable. He felt... he still couldn't understand what he felt. He took his hand from the door knob and sat again on the bed, he was sure he looked like a wreck, but not as much as Edd did.

Kevin: It was...

Kevin finally said in a single breath, Edd's jumped at such words and waited eagerly for what followed. He felt relieved, he felt so... fulfilled. He felt indescribably and illogically happy. But...

Kevin: But...

Edd's smile vanished as quick as it came and he soon felt panic.

Kevin: I don't know how. I don't know what happened... it was weird... i mean... yeah, Lyon dates dudes or likes them and i don't judge. But it's weird... I mean. I'm not gay. I don't like that. I dated Nazz, i...i...i...i like girls, and you are my friend, and last night, tonight...it was...

Edd: Weird...
Kevin: Yes! No! Maybe. A little... a lot, but not because of you. You're not weird

Edd had stopped hearing, he felt idle, he wasn't thinking, the world simply and slowly faded around him and felt himself floating in an eternal void. He felt a dent in his chest a pain similar to reflux or gastroenteritis, but he was pretty sure it was something emotional instead of physical. He came to as he felt something liquid splashing in his hands, tears. He raised his face in surprise and met an equally surprised Kevin looking at him, tears streaming down his face and nose.

Kevin: I got it.

Kevin moved towards Edd with a handkerchief, a startling discovery for Edd, distracting him from the current situation. Kevin carefully cleaned his face and gave him the handkerchief so Edd would finish.

Kevin: I... have to go.

Still cleaning himself up, Edd simply nodded and watched as Kevin got his stuff again and, once again, placed a hand on the doorknob.

Kevin: I envy you.

Kevin paused and turned the doorknob.

Kevin: You know what you want. Who you are. You are always moving forward... I'm afraid of every step i take

As Kevin opened the door, he left while still saying the one phrase Edd never imagined he'd hear him say.

Kevin: Wish i could be more like you.

Edd watched as the door closed. He was mute, but he had heard and understood everything. He could only think of what he wished he had said "But, i don't know who i am". Edd fell on his bed as he cried, desolated, hurt, but confused. As his emotions burst in a relentless tsunami that tired him into sleep, Edd still wondered why he cared so much for Kevin. He wondered who he was, why he was crying for a man, what did he want, what was he? "Who am i?" the phrase repeated itself over and over as he faded into sleep. He suddenly felt a need to see his one and only ghost that haunted him: Marie.

Sunday, a day of studying and leisure for Edd where he usually visited his laboratory or dedicated his meals to fine dining or spent the day reading for pleasure in the campus' parks. He was a simple person, introvert and he enjoyed having a day dedicated fully and solely to his persona. But, unlike all Sundays of the last two years, Edd had spent very emotional weeks where an insurmountable pile of thoughts, questions, self-doubts, regrets and mysteries had meshed. Even so, Edd woke up with three simple thoughts that were the keys to worlds of knowledge and self-discovery. He wondered what defined who and what was a person, followed by when and how did someone know who he/she was, and an affirmative and imperative order to call Marie. Though the last one wasn't a question, the drive to deciphering his ghost and their relationship was something Edd longed for. Besides, today was her birthday- October 8th.

Over at Kevin's dorm, Lyon woke up to find his roommate's bed done and Kevin was nowhere to be found. Having spent so much time with him he knew the possibility of him doing his bed after sleeping was near to an absolute 0%. Still, he didn't worry, he knew perfectly well where to find his desolated friend whom he supposed had had a hard night.

Lyon walked out of their dorms, with slim jeans, high socks, a pair of warm shoes which had fur inside, a black furry jacket and a tight grey long sleeved shirt with a red beanie he loved. He loved getting dressed in the cold, and smiled as the cold breeze hit his face as he walked to the basketball dome. He knew he'd be there. Every time Kevin had a problem, flunked a test, got rejected by a girl or had a fight with Nazz he'd go shoot some hoops or dribble the ball a bit. As he entered the dome, he wondered what would a be this time. Over the last weeks he'd seen Kevin happier than he had ever been up to date... he'd dare even say radiant.

Kevin wasn't much the expressive type, Lyon hadn't even seen him once cry. Even when it came to troubles of the heart they usually just talked it out or laughed it out. As Lyon entered the court after crossing the male lockers he was overtaken by how huge and empty the place was and felt. It gave a true sensation of solitude and made you realize how small you were. Lyon had come some times before to pick Kevin up, but never so early, and it had never been this quiet. Lyon looked around and found a lone figure, pale, leather jacket, ball in his hands, sitting looking down at the ball. Lyon felt his heart flinch, he had never seen him so devastated and alone. As he sat next to Kevin he noticed the ball had dark marks, tears.

Lyon: How you holding?

Kevin didn't say a word, a single tear glistened on his cheek, his eyes were shut. Lyon shivered as he sat on the freezing bench, it was the first time he had no idea what to do. He was blank.

Lyon: How was last night?

Kevin didn't say a word, but Lyon watched as a new tear dropped on the ball and his grip tightened.

Lyon: That bad?

Kevin whimpered a bit. He closed his eyes harder, his mind raced with last night's event and ended always in the same dreaded question.

Kevin: Who am i?
Lyon: What?!
Kevin: Who am i?
Lyon: What kind of question is that? Are you drunk?

Kevin suddenly felt a rush of anger overtake him, as he threw the ball away from him he stood up and faced Lyon. In a blink of an eye, before Lyon could react, Kevin grabbed him by the shoulders, pulled him up and pinned him against the wall

Kevin: WHO AM I?!

Lyon felt Kevin's spit fall on his face, and could only stare into his angered eyes with shock. He had never imagined his roommate, his friend, repress so much, and he never thought it'd ever explode this way.

Kevin: WHO AM I?

Each scream lost strength, his voice cracked slowly after each, he was breaking down slowly. Kevin fell on his knees and cried, openly and loudly. A soft hand pressed on his back, he suddenly felt his head rest on a lap and someone caressing his hair. Slowly, Kevin fell in a sleep. He felt empty. Lyon watched as he fell asleep, wondering what happened last night to break him that way. Still asleep, like a nightmare, Lyon heard him mutter the last phrase once more.

Kevin: Who am i?

Daylight had already broken through her window a long time ago and it now shined straight on her new masterpiece. A simple piece in an out of focus/blurry style that showed a beautiful hill landscape that loomed over a metallic jungle with buildings and a young couple cuddling, center of the frame. She knew critics and collectionists would skirmish in desire for it, but she didn't care. She never had. Marie stood barefooted, only in female boxers and a white tank top staring at her work with a cup of coffee, her eyes red.

After leaving Edd in campus she had fallen in a manic state of grief that made her plummet on her couch and cry loudly for an hour, cursing at herself and Edd. However, artist she is, she soon stripped her clothes off and put on her tank top. With all her emotions fresh, with tears streaming down her face, she painted feverishly, she poured every last tear, every emotion, every thought and desire into her work. By the time it was daytime, she was much calmer, sitting in her stool putting on the final details, her eyes red of the crying. She loved being able to express and let loose; the freedom art offered, and a medium for her one eternal pain- love. Though the painting was still fresh, Marie moved up to her masterpiece and planted a hard kiss on the male figure of the couple as a single tear rolled down her cheeks. She wiped the paint form her teeth with wipes and handkerchiefs, using them to also wipe her face clean.

She felt a hole in her chest, she felt a piercing agony, and she felt a burning desire unlike before. Though an artist, Marie had always found herself unable to fall for another man. Not even to spend the night with one. Since she parted ways with Edd she had met countless men, some even offering her marriage, but she had only kissed 4 ever since her prom night.

She had kissed an Italian young man with a flourishing line of clothes, considered the new Valentino- she always thought of Edd's kind nature with him. She kissed an Arabian prince in Saudi Arabia who had an unimaginable wealth- she always thought of Edd's brilliant mind and achieving personality with him. She kissed a Russian entrepreneur who had a 5 star restaurant in Moscow, was himself a renown chef of 2 Michelin stars and had developed a new style of chef knife which had a scimitar shape which was amazing in cutting meats. This one had offered her marriage and she did hold a relationship with him. But when the topic of marriage rose, she could only think of Edd and being married to him... she turned her suitor down. Her fourth and final kiss was to a complete stranger that sat next to her in a bistro before she went to see Edd, where she currently was. It was a young man who didn't recognize her, didn't know who she was, but engaged the most fascinating talk she had ever had- love. He was her age, very mature and loose, dark haired, not very tall, fashionable and philosophical. He had openly admitted to her he was bi, but that he found her absolutely captivating.

Ever strong natured, Marie played a tough front with him and turned him down, shunned him and ignored him as he talked about himself, his studies, but it all changed when the topic of love came out. She had been at the bistro sipping coffee waiting for the time to see Edd, this man had just come in and sat next to her and started talking to her. In retrospect she never thought someone like that could influence her. They had talked for a short time, half an hour tops as the time to see Edd neared, but Marie remembered what their topics on love had been. They had talked about regrets, desire and ghosts...those individuals one held on to, illusions of the past, desires that had materialized and quickly extinguished.

Illusions- what they once had been, they never could again, but useful illusions. According to him (the man or dude) these wonderful illusions known as ghosts shouldn't be despised nor clung on to. They should be the bases of comparison for every future relationship. "If someone can make you forget or ignore your ghost, then you have found true love, your true love, for he has bested your illusions of perfection." It was the last phrase she heard from him as she got her jacket on, kissed him quickly and lovingly and drove towards Edd. At the moment, it felt as if the image of Edd had been reassured as her perfect partner, but now she was unsure.

As she watched her painting, she thought of the phrase again and wondered if she really had created a ghost. Problem was, she was there, near him, she had seen him. When do you know if it's a ghost or if he isn't? Marie sat on her couch, exhausted, but her mind raced, wondering, trying to grasp an answer. As she sipped her coffee once again she heard a loud buzz, her cellphone... which was somewhere between her couch pillows.

By the fourth ring she found it, and quickly answered as she tried to steady her mind and... stay awake.

Marie: Hell...

She quickly cleared her throat as she quickly heard it was raspy and shaky. It reverted back into her firm strong voice.

Marie: Who is it?
?: Happy Birthday! I hope i haven't awoken you.
Marie: For that i must have slept first, and i haven't.
?: What?! Why ?! Is something wrong?
Marie: Not really, i was just...painting.

Now, Marie wondered who she was talking to who treated her with such familiarity and was so caring. Being sleep deprived, her mind didn't work well and she couldn't recognize who was the caller.

?: It's...9am right now, you really haven't rested a bit?
Marie: Nope.
?: Want me to come over and celebrate with you? I know you're tired but it IS your birthday and yesterday i don't think it went as you planned... Let me make it up for you.
Marie: Double D?
Edd: Yes, it's me.

Marie was shocked. He had called her and he wanted to see her. Her mind was a mess as trains of thoughts collided. In the havoc of her mind, she was able to muster a response.

Marie: Umm, i- i don't have anything...
Edd: Let me help. I'll come over.
Marie: I-i don't really want to see anyone today.
Edd: Not even me?

Marie was speechless as her throat seared as if fire was trapped in it and her heart pounded out of her chest.

Edd: If you don't want to I understand, but...
Marie: NO.

Marie clenched her phone harder and searched for the words she wished to say.

Edd: Relax, it's your day ok? I'll call you later. Today must be special.

Before she could say anything, the phone clicked as Edd hung up. She wondered how he had gotten her phone, she didn't remember him asking or her giving it to him. But, she didn't care. As the call ended, Marie collapsed on her couch and dived into a heavy sleep, her last thought being ghosts and illusions.

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