I got angry. I don’t usually get angry but that night I did. And I wish more than anything I didn’t. Because when my parents were sleeping I sneaked out. I didn’t tell anyone about my plans. Not even my best friend who always knew every move I made. I don’t know why I did it. I can’t give you a reason. I was angry, upset, tired of feeling caged by my parents. Tired of feeling like I didn’t have control. And mostly I felt like I just wanted to feel. It’s a strange thing to say. But for most of my life I always felt like my feelings were controlled. Everything I felt my parents got to decide what it was. When I was happy it was because they wanted me to be. When I was excited it was because they decided it for me. And for once I decided that I was angry. And I decided that I wanted to feel something that I never felt. Problem was I was searching for it in the wrong place.
Closeness. Comfort. Happiness.
You can’t fake feelings. And you can’t stop feelings. And those were hard lessons I was yet to learn.
The fight was about a scholarship. I’d received one to study overseas. I was so excited when I got the letter. This was my big break. Studying what I wanted to all along. I knew I just recently got a job, just like my parents wanted me to – always believing that you should earn your keep as soon as possible – but I knew that this opportunity would never come again and I hoped my parents would understand that. But they didn’t. Instead they told me quite frankly no. I pleaded and begged. They didn’t listen. I started yelling. They ignored me. I went up to my room, frustrated and there I stayed until it was dark and they were already asleep.
I don’t know when exactly or how I decided on it but the next thing I knew I took the bus down into the city and I found myself in a nightclub.
A recent high school graduate visiting her first night club. Alone.
It was thrilling, but also terrifying.
And then I met him. He was a stranger. I wouldn’t have been able to recognize him out of a crowd. He wasn’t particularly outstanding, or beautiful. But I was like someone that hadn’t eaten in a long while. I was hungry for love and affection.
It went passed really quickly but every moment hurt. Not because it was my first time. But because I knew it was wrong. I knew this was not how I imagined my first time to be. I wanted it to be with someone I loved. I wanted the person to care about me. Not to treat me careless and rough. I wanted the person to hold me close instead of push me away and make a pointless comment about how good the sex was.
I waited till he fell asleep then tip toed towards my clothes. I got dressed quickly and disappeared. I sneaked into my room. As soon as I sat down on my bed I started crying. Big sobs escaped my throat. I clasped my hand in front of my mouth. If I woke my parents I would be dead for sure.
The only thing I could think of was him.
I reached for my phone that was still in my bag. After rummaging for a while I found it. I searched urgently for his number then called him. He took a while to answer and I knew he was sleeping.
“Hello?” Shawn said, his voice rough.
How do you say this to someone?
“Can you come over?”
“I’ll be there right now.”
And right then my heart started beating like normal again and I could breathe.
Shawn came over and climbed the tree the way he always did since we were young. He climbed through my window and I helped him up. He sat down on my bed and I followed suit. I collapsed in his arms and he held me. We sat like that while I cried. I didn’t care that I was staining his sleep shirt. I didn’t care that I was weak. That he didn’t know what was going on. I didn’t care that he could judge me for this. I didn’t care that my life felt like it was over.
Because he was there.
And that was all I needed.
That was the kind of friend he was. That was what he meant to me. It was funny. I went all the way to the city, met a stranger and did something I should never have done, just to feel someone care. Yet here I rested against my best friend, the only person that ever did.
If only the only person that cared wasn’t just a friend.