‘The most brutal, painful and terrifying experience. Yet, certainly the very best.’
The year abroad starts off so well. The sun is shining. Life is exciting, electrifying. You make friends, experience new flavours and feelings. You are living a life you once dreamed of. You have great sex. Lots of sex. You stay up all night. You learn to make love in another language. Effortlessly picking up new expressions. Extraordinary encounters become commonplace. You feel a unique, utopian sensation. Almost as if the universe is revealing its secrets to you. You are exactly where you are supposed to be. Young, wild and carefree.
Then suddenly it happens. You danced too near the beach bonfire. Stepped too close to the cliff edge. You fall. You fall hard. You can’t fight it. Nothing had prepared you for this. There is nothing you can do. Your universes collided together. You are vulnerable, open and exposed. You have no choice but to surrender. Sliding your neck into the noose. You have never been happier. Nor more beautiful. Your heart is breaking and singing every second. The elements push and pull you to pieces. Days go by like a dream. You are unsure how to feel. Potent. Powerless. Power-hungry. You can’t control your feelings. Your lover. Your life. You will never be the same again. Yet, would you do it all over again?
Part of me wishes I had never walked into that bar. Turned away as soon as we made eye contact. How easily we both fell. Neither of us wanting it, yet neither of us able to stop it. We both knew so soon. Were too scared to admit it. When we did it was almost too late. It could have ruined everything. It could have been the greatest decision of our lives.
We made plans in haste. One of us would have to give up so much. Yet it would not matter. For we would be happy together. Together forever. Everything would be fine. The short separation would be ok. As we would have each other. The sun is shining. We are in love. Life is an illusion. Something to be read about in a cold classroom. Yet, it is real. It is happening.
Everything challenges. They changed. You changed. Life changed. All in the cruellest flash of lightening. The short flicker of a dying lighter. Fantasies smashed to smithereens. Cold reality creeps in. Sunburnt, heartbroken and lonely. Far from home. You want to escape. Break free. But this is the only place you want to be. You have never been more upset. More lost. If you were to repeat events again. You would not change anything. Everything was perfect. Perfect because it’s past.
You feel as if you could never love again. You have been suffocated and are already dead. This afterlife is without love. You come back to university. Full of memories, stories, but pretty numb. You want to move on. But you don’t want it to become a hazy memory. You don’t want to give up. You want the struggle, the fight. You want to feel something. You question whether it really happened. If it were just in your head. But you remember the way they looked at you. You will never forget it. You hold onto the memories. The euphoria. The pain. The past.
The universe is cold, uncaring. Your survival instincts start to kick in. One day you wake up. Their memory is not the first thought to cross your mind. Your remove your bandages. Your life goes on. As does theirs. You finally feel the distance. The pain lessens. You realise you do not believe in absolutes. Life is flawed. You are now definitely flawed. It was the most brutal, painful and terrifying experience. Yet certainly the very best.