Worried that I might be late for class, I took two steps at a time as I rushed upstairs towards the classroom.
“Sociology canceled” – the sign on the door read.
It went on to explain that the professor fell ill at the last minute and that a make-up class would be scheduled and announced via email at a later time.
Sociology was a two-hour long class, after which I had Politics. A dilemma presented itself. Since I did not live on campus, I could not go back to my room and nap for the next two hours. Instead, I would have to wait for the bus, which ran every 15 to 30 minutes, then sit on the bus for another 30 minutes, before walking home for the next 15 minutes. By the time I got home, I would have to come back. It just did not make sense for me to do that.
Everyone must have already gone home since there was no one with whom I could hang out nearby. I was left to my own devices for the next two hours. Even though it was December, there was no snow on the ground, and the sun beaming from a blue sky made it almost feel like it was Springtime. Unable to figure out what I wanted to do with the extra time on my hands, I decided to walk and think.
Out the door and towards the train tracks, I went. Then, across a busy road and down the hill. The town was rather small, which meant that you could walk to most places within the hour. I allowed my feet to carry me. My body was on auto-pilot, and my mind was pleased to have a moment of peace. After about 15 minutes, I turned left from the main road and entered a residential area, behind which a river flowed.
I threw my backpack onto the river bank and walked towards the water. The river beckoned me with its song. I closed my eyes and listened. It was inviting me in, telling me to lie down in its arms so that I could finally relax and let the river carry me on its shoulders. I would not have to tilt my head up to see the sun. It would be right there whenever I opened my eyes. Would that not be nice?
Standing there is perfect silence, surrounded by a gentle whisper of nature, I suddenly got an urge that I have not felt in a long time. Trying to capitalize on it, I walked back up to my backpack and pulled out a notebook that my parents got me for my writing. It was something I have not done in months. There was no inspiration, I guess. I opened the notebook and looked at the last thing I wrote in it.
It was not something I remembered writing. The letter was dated December 31st of the previous year. It was a written to my then future self. My now present self, from the past me. I shook my head in disbelief, wondering what made me come up with such a silly idea. But here I was with nothing better to do but to read it. Plus, I was curious as to what I had to say a year ago.
“You have had a rough year this year, but I am convinced that the upcoming one will be your year. It will be a magical one.”
The letter must have been written during one of my better days, as it was filled with hope and optimism, something that now seemed so foreign to me.
“You will lose the extra weight around your belly.”
I looked down at my protruding stomach. I have steadily gained weight every month this year. This resolution definitely was not kept.
“You will find a girlfriend who will love you more than life itself.”
There was no one sitting next to me. No girlfriend. No friend. Not even a random girl. No one…
As my eyes ran down the page, they started to lose focus. My hands trembled, and my throat felt constricted.
“You will finally feel comfortable in your own body.”
The corset around my breasts became unreasonably tight at that very moment, and I had to loosen it. It reminded me that with my breasts still there, I will never feel comfortable in my own skin.
Unable to any read further, I closed the notebook and placed it back in my backpack. When I stood up and looked around, I realized that the sun was now gone. Clouds that appeared from out of nowhere were now covering most of the sky. It was not raining, but somehow my cheeks felt moist.
The trees were perfectly still. All the birds have flown away.
I slowly walked down towards the river. My reflection was distorted. The waters that were calm just minutes before now appeared angry. The river was not beckoning me gently anymore. Its outstretched arms reached out for me in a display of hunger and held onto my wrists tightly. Putting one foot in front of the other, I walked into the river.
As I got to a place where I could no longer touch the ground, I laid down, allowing the river to carry me on its shoulders. All I needed was to just rest for a moment. To catch a break. To feel at peace again.
None of my New Year’s resolutions from last year were accomplished, but there was still time to make this a magical year. A year to remember.
I stretched out my arms and took a deep breath.
The jacket now soaked became more and more burdensome by the second, making it hard for me to remain on the surface.
“Just breathe” – I told myself as I drifted towards the bottom.
I no longer struggled to be at peace. I no longer had to fight to fit. I was one with the water, and no one could take that away from me.