I'm Fine

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
Make of it what you will, I do not really know that much about it. I just wrote it.

Submitted: June 28, 2010

A A A | A A A

Submitted: June 28, 2010

A A A

A A A


I’m fine.

ON MY OWN

In the instant before you die your entire life flashes before your eyes. In the twinkling of an eye and at the last gasp, as you pass through the eye of the storm you have an instant in which to look down on your sea of troubles and see it all reflected back.

There was a time…

NEW START

There was a time when all these people started University.

Adam, Catface, Amy, Andy, Ben, Charlie, the Charlottes, Collette, Daisy, Dan, Emmas, Gemima, Hannah, Jack, JCB, JP, Jess, Jodie, Josie, Karl, Krissy, Ksenija, Lee, Lenice, Lynda, Mark, Max, Megan, Mike, Mo, Natalie, Niki, Ralph, Rhiannon, Safia, Sarah, Sally, Shannon, Sian, Sonya, Tara, Toms, Vikki, Will(I-am)…

Together and apart, drifting like leaves blowing in the wind. Like crystal ships on a chartered course they were all going the same way, all with different plans, morale and appearances. Some would collide in the night, some travel together for days before suddenly separating forever, some would attack each other and some would never meet. Reflecting and affecting emotions, making and breaking relationships, so much stuff would happen.

We began from the same point: we all wanted a friend (non-imaginary preferable) or a lover (sense of humour irrelevant). We were newly independent, wealthy, social: students. Houses 1, 3, 5, 6, 33, 35, 42, 70, 75, 77, 82: numbers. Sparkford Close, Badger Farm, Oliver’s Battery running down the High Street to the Butter Cross: past O’Neills, with Weatherspoons and Plain and Fancy down on the left, Bar 3 1 on the right, Bishop on the Bridge and Mikikis at the far end: all just names to begin.

We had it all at first: at the opening. Some shy comments to old friends or new aquintances, some attraction growing. It was just like the old days at the start of sixth form when face book events would force strangers to go to parties, barbecues, bowling, pubs and clubs. I remember sitting with Tom and Ralph in the pizza places. The drinking began on the first day of term and for some, apart from the odd day off, never really stopped. The fun began.

All we wanted were friends. None of us will forget that last day of Sixth Form, all the craziness and goodbyes, so much fun at the time but a wound later. For me it was lying on my back on the grass, a cloudless blue sky far above feeling the solid ground beneath me. Lying with an ex, a one nighter, an old friend, a good friend and Tom, Ralph and Lawrence. We were all moving on and up, leaving home, taking flight.

It was something new and no wonder none of us knew how to react.

THE GOOD OLD TIMES: PART 1

Ralph always had good parties.

We cannot all remember when and how we met each other. House 1 was on the way home, Safia was dancing on a table and it looked interesting. House 3 had that girl a friend fancied so we went in there quite friendly and left at a run before they found the vomit. House 5... I don’t remember that one. There was a hairy man there. House 70 looked fun from the outside. House 75, well Tom was there. House 77, well girls were there. Ralph’s? Ralph’s had the parties.

Ok so his housemates invariably complained, some more than others, but most houses have people like that. Some people you can tattoo when they’re asleep, borrow all their stuff or borrow and never repay £50 of their money and they simply won’t care, other people can form hatreds over looks, comments or £10 loans but that’s just difference and even if you don’t like it you have to accept it as part of living on a campus. Despite them the parties were still good. There was often a lot of love after those parties, not necessarily between single people either or the two members of a relationship. At it’s best those sort of relationships in the early days of university were one-offs, at they’re worst bodyguards and assassins were seriously contemplated and courts were involved.

You met people but you didn’t always meet people: that came later with the random chats discovering common ground. Almost everyone made close friends: a lot of people discovered clubs, drugs, sex or music for the first time. I still haven’t really figured out what the last one is but apparently that’s the point. It was something new, like those times Polly would take me clubbing in London in secret, once to that gay club where we made a bet to see who could pull a same-sex member first. That was actually not very well thought out though, I’d run away (or “been a very athletic tease) but found the lady section and found out lesbians are generally amazing dancers. After it all we’d sat on Nelson’s Column and tried to count all the stars in the sky before getting moved on by the police. Running up St Katherine’s Hill, all those crazy pre-drinking games and after parties we all went to, they were a lot like that.

The clubs were like the Bonfires we used to have outside Broadmoor. There was no good reason for going and doing that stuff, it was very stupid and a lot of what went on was illegal too. But we all did it anyway. Met a lot of weirdoes at both, some probably from the nearby prison. Met a lot of sluts and junkies too, the good, the bad and the ugly of the homeless and everyone in between. Yet, despite everything we’d all still do it again.

THE GOOD OLD TIMES: PART DEUX

It wasn’t just Ralph that had things going on of course, that guy with the red hair, shades and creepy coat had parties to plan too. A lot of fun people were doing stuff. But the housemates…

There was that Max guy who remembered everyone’s names, laughed a lot and was always happy, the quiet Karl, that little girl with the awesome way of talking who was a friend of a friend from college. Then there was that blond girl who didn’t drink at drinking games and changed her relationship status weekly. And then there was Jocie… she really came from nowhere but all the boys liked her. Then there was Natalie and that Sarah girl from Alwyn Hall. She seemed nice. Many more too: all over the campus.

Downstairs and a quick fall down the grassy bank were all the girls at Niki’s (used to go to a café called that). They were close but they were friendly, attached but in a laidbackish way. There boyfriends were fun, there was that guy from the army who accidentally ended up satisfying a co-worker while playing gay chicken, that nice Sam “Sam” guy. They had some good parties, it’s a sign of a good party when security raid it. In the first few weeks they’d just visit mine if things were slow, confident in the belief they’d be someone getting a BJ from a hoover, someone sitting on a cupboard smoking cigars or even three or four people spending the night in the rooms who shouldn’t have been there.

All the ring of fires too… he might not have known the Green Cross Code but that red-headed fellah certainly knew the rules. Those were the nights out the really good ones: the London Dungeon with the girlfriend and that girl who ended up drifting away from all her friends. London and Southampton clubs at night, cruising for pick-ups. I’ve since been told that people probably shouldn’t try to be in more than one relationship. That’s just being greedy and one is confusing enough.

BREAK

The girls in the houses around where I live know all about bad relationships, both with guys and girls. There’s love (wanting to be with one specific person) and then there‘s having sex with whoever available and offering. So many guys hitting girls too, you don’t expect that. Girls start turning up in A and E: drunk accidents, drugs overdose and self-harming. It’s everything all at once that makes you begin to crack apart, like glass under pressure. It’s obvious what will happen if that pressure keeps up. It’s like that girl you met just the once who everyone still misses or the lover who went where you can’t follow. Stuff like that sticks so you try to help.

Loneliness is Agony.

It’s not just the players, there are those times when you love someone so much it hurts not to be with them. That girl with the gammy leg and the personality of a statue… no one could get why you got with her, including you, but they don’t know how, just for a few days, you’d look up every time someone entered the room hoping it was her. They joke about all those times you’d spring out of nowhere with bunches of flowers and chocolates or wait outside her workplace for four hours but they don’t get it. That guy who got drunk and threw up all over the kitchen crying, there’s a story behind that as powerful and complex as the girl who took the knife to her wrists. It’s just different experiences, if there had been just one thing different in our lives that could be us. Sometimes it seems better to trade all the conflicts, all the moments and all that lies ahead, insurmountable and unknowable, for an instant of pain that leads to an eternity of peace. Some lives actually are not meant to be.

You know things are cracking apart when your boyfriend kisses other girls, when your girlfriend flirts with the guy everyone else is avoiding because he rubs against small boys on buses or gives you Chlamydia. You know there’s something unresolved when you spend six hours telling your ex to fuck off then go to bed together anyway. You know something’s wrong when a slut spreads lies about you that everyone believes and you get death threats because of them. Even when she admits she lied some people still believe… that’s the kind of thing that helps you realise something is seriously wrong.

The rep doesn’t help. Seven Colours of the Rainbow, the boasting, bragging, arrogance, image, the whole show of confidence works against you. You can’t change the past and you can’t really change who you are. You know the score, what’s going on with you, better than anyone, especially if you are honest with yourself. To see yourself as other people see you takes more than a mirror, it takes your own honesty. Some people can’t handle honesty. I could tell you a lot of facts about yourself but you would not like me very much if I did. It’s things that people say like that which really starts to ruin friendships and relationships.

YET MORE PARTIES

After a certain point things begin to feel the same. You’ve been drunk like this before. You’ve done all this: same shit different day. Things falter, become more blurred and lose meaning. You can spend a day, a week, three weeks completely out of the loop. Facebook relationship status become “Seeking Friendship”, because you know stuff will happen anyway. Sometimes it seems that when there are so many people with nothing nice to say, the whole world is against you, or that it is just a very lonely place.

Getting absolutely senseless on alcohol or drugs is never a good idea.

It can be funny with hindsight. When you honestly tell a girl she looks like Shrek, when you accidentally go to the toilet in your friends room thinking it was a bathroom (an easy mistake to make if there is water pouring out of the ceiling) and when you spend half an hour telling a prick he’s a prick there’s a certain affection for the memory. When you ask a fat person to eat less, pull the padding out of your friend’s bra or reveal to everyone someone’s cheating on someone else it‘s also fun. When you throw up all down yourself or need drugs so bad you can’t stop shaking, your temperature rocketing up to the equivalent of boiling water… well that’s not so good.

In the mornings, when you find your fingers are in plaster, there’s burns and bb gun wounds in unexpected places and there’s a strange person in your bed taking up all the blankets it‘s even more bizarre. You can’t remember last night but you want to know things. How did I get home? Why are there fag butts in my mouth? Who is this person beside me? Can they cook? Considering I’m straight why is there a same sex person in the bed next to me? Doesn’t this person actually live in the room right next door? Things become strangely disassociated and the confusion increases, occasionally giving way to black depression.

THE DARKNESS

Over a certain time of the same stuff, the same essays, the same people you can lose your way, or to put it another way you find you have no real course, you can‘t get what it is you really want, if you know at all. You find yourself sitting in a kebab shop at 3 in the morning eating road kill with onions of every colour, including blue, wondering what on earth you are doing with your life. You have dreams of all the places you have been too, all the beautiful people you have known, loved, hurt and helped. You dream you are being hugged by that special person again and then wake up to find you’ve been embracing a plastic blow-up doll someone put in your bed as a joke.

Life becomes a bit of a whirlwind of incomprehension: thoughts, experiences and emotion all hem in on you. The deepest thought sounds like a cliché, the smallest rejection another blow. The social stuff does not help, you don’t even find yourself attractive and you desperately need someone else too, even though you know you’re such a mess at times you’re basically not. You miss your partners, or the ones you’ve never had, and there is only so much comfort you can find from the consistency of your essays.

There may come a time when you become the sort of person you never wanted yourself to be and cannot figure out what it is that went so wrong. You don’t even blame your partner or friends for leaving you, though it’d be nice if they hadn’t. You’ve been lying and telling each other everything is fine for so long you can spot all the problems in everyone else’s relationships (though for god sake don’t tell them! That gets you banned from houses…). There is something indefinable in the heart of that mystery. Breakthroughs to one person may be seen to everyone else as breakdowns. Sometimes, for your sake, you have to step back and assume ignorance for a while just to be able to cope.

In the end every night (but the last, although I hope it does not come to that for anyone here for a long time) passes and the dawn is a beautiful thing to witness.

NEW PEOPLE

You are always meeting new people, every day we pass them, being particularly good at noticing people of the opposite sex or large breasts (either gender, both stand out). There’s always friends of friends, random smokers or drinkers you get chatting to. Often you find yourself renewing friendships with people you once shared your soul with over a bottle of vodka six months ago who don’t have that much going on with them and still remember either your name or the way you ran out of the house after a miscalculation regarding your personal alcohol consumption limit.

As people drift together and apart, like ships on this sea of troubles, new friendships are made all the time. There are a lot of people we speak to in passing but after one good conversation get much closer (at least until we stop talking again). There are people you spoke to when they needed someone to talk to so desperately and that you hugged so tight, but is now better and moved on. Of course you hope they never get like that again but it’d be nice to stay as close as you were for a time. Both guys and girls are good at making feelings out of where none ever existed so it’s important to keep a line between friends and people you love in that way.

People who have a lot going on emotionally and mentally with friends, family or partners are both more creative and more open to influence. 70% of good conversation is listening and the rest talking, just as 80% of good literature is reading and the rest writing. If you make the effort you’ll find some people will talk all night, even if there are no problems with them people will still appreciate a good conversation, exchanging stories and new ideas. When a parent gets married, a close family friend dies or is ill, you need someone to talk to in order to release pressure. Experience has also shown me séances are not a good thing. Making new friends is probably the best cure to depression, especially given all the uncertainties of life you’ll never know when you might need each other.

ACCEPTING YOURSELF

Whether or not you are going through good or bad times you are still the same person. You can apply masks and masks of make up but it won’t change your behaviour. Tall or short, thin or fat people don’t really look that different but the ugliest person with something fascinating to say is a million times better than a genuinely dumb blond ex (though if the person is really ugly it might be best to talk to them over MSN). Changing the way you dress does not change you in the slightest, though there is a message sent out by the clothes we choose.

I remember all those nights in Aldershot years ago, trekking round the streets with the little gangs playing baby gangsters, flirting with a then-girlfriend, and years later dressing up as a 1930’s style gangster for a fancy dress party, looking in the mirror and just seeing I’ve got a bit taller and more prone to coughing. Looking at the photos of everyone on face book, back to their younger years you find they don’t look much different. Tattoos, piercing, hair colour changes, a good photo then looks just as good as a good photo now. The only difference it makes is how you feel about yourself. If it feels good, it must be good. But the important thing is to be happy with yourself.

SO NOW

So now. Ten months on. A lot of the people who started university are not still here. Some wish they weren’t. Friends, Enemies, together and apart like rhythm, people are continually moving. Life, such as it is, is still a million moments in a day: incomprehensible, each moment acting as a reminder of so many others like it. You throw emotions, other people and outside situations into the mix and you have real confusion. Bad experiences can gain strength and build momentum surprisingly quickly until a spirit shatters like glass and the desperate confusion resolves itself as a real effort to get out of this vale of tears and just sleep endlessly.

Well until we sleep we are still in the eye of the storm, experiencing a million changes, but yet amidst it all we remain strangely imperishable and consistent. That’s because there is something very powerful at the centre of his mystery, though like a boy squinting at the sun I’m not sure what it is. But it needs protecting. Cause and effect: experiences and reflection, it’s all connected and consistent, just as people are not as different as they think.

Why? Why? Why? We never stop asking. We don’t understand most things. We also don’t know what will happen. We don’t know very much.

I do think too many experiences of the same sort of thing unbalances you, whether it’s torturing yourself with those same photos, listening to that same music, watching those same films, reading these same books, just seeing only the same friends. Live it all.

A shot, a beer, a steak, a cigar, a hug: these are good things to have.

When you have been to the edge and back you can appreciate things more. In that last instant it all becomes clear, you see it all reflected back at you and, if it’s not too late, you will know what to do.

And in case you were wondering…

I’m fine.

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