I have decided to do something. To post a novelette on my blog. In installments, of course. One chapter per post, once every four-ish days. Now, you may not care. You do not need to read these. But you may like it. So there you go.
(Small warning: this story does mention a case of rape at some point. Of course it is handled delicately (and it's not talked about in detail etc.etc.) but if you are younger than 13 you may want to ask your parents if they're ok with that.)
This is chapter two. Chapter one is here if you haven't read it yet. Chapter three will be up on the 2nd of April.
So, last time we ended with:
And then I read something which froze my smile into one rigid place. Not in a good way. Not like, “Wow, I am never not smiling after this.” More like, “NO. WHAT. WAIT. WHAT?!?!” For lo and behold, I saw the complete unexpected.
“I have a huge crush on @Anna_the_Welsh.”
It was like biting into a cookie and tasting mushroom. Or stepping in a bath of steam and turquoise bubbles and feeling ice and soot. Or kissing a prince and then suddenly you realise it’s a frog. Not that any of these three examples had ever occurred to me – they are completely ridiculous occasions that one would never assume would ever happen. Yet so was this. Never in my life had I assumed that someone would write something about me, TO me, on this wall, let alone that someone in the world was crushing on me. The idea bedazzled me. 5% was flattered, 25% was creeped out and 70% was completely surprised. And curious.
Curiosity filled me like liquor that night – I took a bath and ate my dinner and went to bed in a trance of endless muse. Someone who lived here – or passed by – liked me. Maybe, of course, he was just joking around – maybe it was a bet or something stupidly ridiculous. Maybe it was someone like Gayle, or Mum, just pranking. But maybe not! It was someone who knew me – someone who followed me on Instagram.
Eureka moment, I quickly went online and scoured my followers. My thirteen followers weren’t much to brag about. The only guys who followed me were two of my friends’ boyfriends, my cousin Daniel and my cool uncle who had a tattoo Instagram page (which I secretly thought was absolutely ghastly.) It must’ve been someone who knew me, but didn’t follow me online. Why did he refer to my Instagram username then, though? It wasn’t even a public account.
I grabbed a pen and my journal and propped my head cushion behind my sore back. My bedside lamp flung beams of light through my hair onto the next blank page of my journal. I wrote down the stupid things my brain was thinking of, to get it cleared out. Sometimes it was the only way to ever fall asleep.
Confused beyond measure about something that I saw today. Feel like a tree tossed around by February wind. Or… like a bottle filled with question marks bobbing around on water. Maybe this is all a ludicrous nothing. IDK. I am making no sense. IDK.
Then I snapped the light shut and dove into bed. I tried listening to some Bobby Vee songs. Then I even tried Sugar by Maroon 5 which I only listened to if I was seriously distracted. I was sort of angry at myself, for making such a big deal out of a little message. I normally hated it when other people made a big drama of little things like, well, like this! It was nothing – just a silly little message. The rain was probably washing it off right now. Why was I overthinking this stupid conglomeration of letters chalked on the stupid wall?!
Probably because no boy had ever liked me. Ever.
My history of boys was a very shallow history indeed. Of course, I didn’t mind. I was healthy, had a good job at an accountancy centre, a collection of beautiful shoes, the best parents in the world, four lovely siblings, several nieces and nephews to spoil around Christmas time. I had no reason to mope about the fact that I didn’t have a date. A boyfriend. Not even a crush. I didn’t need one to be happy, but it would, I admitted this to myself, it would contribute to my cup of happiness. Sometimes I just wanted someone to hold hands with, a boy with thick winter sweaters to steal, a gentleman who randomly bought me a box of heart-shaped chocolate. Someone who played with my hair and told me nice things that I never knew about myself.
I always told myself it didn’t matter. And it didn’t. Not really, not in this world of terrorist attacks and terrible American presidents and endless Yahoo hacks. But I wanted a romance in my life… I wanted it rather badly. And I wanted to be a mum, too. It all seemed so unreachable – so freakishly far off, if not unreachable. I sometimes felt like my life was a notebook filled with blank pages.
But NO, Anna. You have amazing friends, a stomach filled with food and a good life and stop whining. You have a cute dress with a pineapple print. You have a clock in your bedroom in the shape of an owl. You own the entire box set of Downton Abbey. You have straight teeth and you’ve never had cancer and you’ve got a cute Welsh accent and you once saved a dog’s life. You are lucky and good and fine on your own and you have so many little happy things to concentrate on. There are starving kids in Africa who would die to have your life.
Brains are like the oceans of the earth, with new waves of thought layering over the other in endless circles. I had these moments sometimes, when I felt like I was only person with these problems. It’s always a crushing feeling.
At times like that, I would always go someplace public and quietly sit on a bench or something, and watch strangers pass by. I would observe their faces and see their strained expressions, worried eyebrows and clenched jaws. Of course, some strangers were gleeful and gay and happy, making group selfies and laughing about ridiculously small things and wearing matching clothes. There were couples, of course, always. Giving kisses under trees and lanterns. But there were always unhappy strangers. You could see unhappiness – spot it – in their face and their countenance. You could see how tired strangers were by their sagging shoulders. You could see how stressed people were by the way their walked and moved their fingers. Sometimes I saw people with eyes that had shed tears that day. Sometimes I saw strangers with a look on their face that made my heart cry.
I always knew, after observing people, that I wasn’t the only one. People all over the world had problems, and mine was probably terribly small in comparison to most of them.
But still, dwelling in my little unhappy realm of singleness is what I did.
The following morning I decided to do the bold and write a message on the wall. It hadn’t rained, so I wrote it under the old message. Reading it again gave me a sweet shiver. Maybe someone really had a crush on me. Oh my goodness, that would be insane. Oh my, what if it’s real?
“Who are you? – Anna” I wrote. In small letters, as if I was attempting to make a private conversation on this very public wall.
This time, I didn’t take a moment to read all the other things on the wall; all the new interesting messages by random strangers. I glanced quickly before I left, but went back home immediately. A C.S.Louis quote someone had written on the wall had caught my eye. It was actually one of my favourites. It replayed and replayed in my brain as I walked home. It soothed me.
Why did I need soothing?!?!?!?!?!!!
To intense the drama, it rained, and to intense the excitement and creepiness, the mystery lover wrote another message to me. (Lover was probably a far too strong word for this situation, but I gave up and let the poetical side of my brain decide what words to associate with what. My practical side of my brain was too small to compete.)
I’m serious, Anna, I’m honestly so in to you. We have mutual friends. I’d rather not say who I am on the wall. I’ll try to think of a way to tell you who I am sometime.
Not only was this the longest message (after the GONE WITH THE WIND quote some literary buff once wrote – that took up like a quarter of the wall space) on the wall, but it seemed so… intense. Dramatic. It was the sort of thing that I wished I didn’t make such a big deal of, but yet, for some stupid reason, I was always thinking about it.
(Come back next week on Monday for more. Dun dun dunnnnnn.)
(Come back next week on Monday for more. Dun dun dunnnnnn.)