It’s 4 A.M. right now and I am officially awake. Yay. What’s the point in sleeping anyways? Sleeping supposedly helps you learn, though I’m not learning anything in the slightest from anyone, and it won’t happen for a while, if ever. So I am beginning to think, like all people do at 4 A.M. when they can’t sleep. I suddenly thought of a question I don’t dare to answer: who am I?
Identity. What is it? Does it define who you are, or simply how you appear? I have struggled to figure this out my entire life, but I, as an extreme introvert, has had yet to find more than the slightest clue. I don’t know what I should do with my life. Why should I, though? I’ve got all life to live, anyways.
Do I think I know what I’m doing right now? Of course not. I don’t write anyways, but I have found that since I am incapable of maintaining a steady friendship or even going to see a therapist, I may as well find a way to cope with my serious issues. Rose called them my “quirks”. No wonder we’re no longer friends. She couldn’t lie.
People always tell you to follow your heart, but what do you do when you don’t have one? Do you rely on other people? Nah. They’re unreliable and in the end only care about themselves. Call me cynical, but it’s true. Do we rely on our gut feelings? I mean, we could, but we would make many rash decisions that we couldn’t fix. In my opinion, the best solution is to do nothing at all. Just wait it out. What’s the point in doing anything if you don’t know how it’s going to end?
Writing again, am I? I’ve already begun to become accustomed to the feeling of this ballpoint pen in my hand as the smooth, black ink runs steadily from it. I met a new person. Most people don’t stand out to me, but for some reason, he did. Said his name was Julius. Dark brown curls against a long face and a Roman nose. His eyes sparkled when he talked, and he seemed to be used to talking to people. Unlike me, of course. If you’re reading this, my distrust in all humanity is probably irritating you to your fullest. Go. Spare yourself, spare me.
Anyways… this guy now works in the coffee shop I love going to. It’s so solitary, so quiet… but now this new guy, Julian, has to come and ruin it all. Thanks, man. I really appreciate it.
I saw him again today. Julius. He wasn’t so bad this time. Apparently, we watch the same shows, drink the same drinks, and vent about the same things.
I saw him twice, actually. The first time, he served me my coffee. The second time, he was vaping outside. He offered me a puff. I took one. The flavor was mint. Rather fitting for a guy like him. Seemed like a guy who liked classics. He asked for my name. I told him my real name, surprisingly. Jolina. He laughed when I said this, so I left in a huff. I don’t understand. I finally trust someone, and they laugh when I tell them my name?
Julius taught me how to puff a smoke ring today. It made the smell of mint linger in the air around us for quite a while. Really, it’s funny how differently I view him within barely three days of meeting him. I see him as the only one who can be trusted in this world. His views are nearly as cynical as mine, though that doesn’t stop him from enjoying life at its fullest. He is untrustworthy, yet appears so sweet and trusting. I guess a lot more hides under peoples’ skin than is shown at the surface…
He asked me to go for a walk with him. I told him I would if he taught me how to blow a smoke ring. Hence the smell of mint and the lightheaded feeling one feels after a good deal of nicotine consumption. What was I supposed to say? No?
Walking down the streets with Julius, I noticed how vibrant the red and gold leaves on the trees were. We talked awhile about one thing or another, and as the wind blew, he pulled me closer. It was such a strange feeling: I had chills yet I was warm. My heart pounded even though I wasn’t even moving. I searched it up, having no one to ask. Is this really the feeling called “love”? I had never felt it before. I had also thought that it was comforting to be in love, but to me, it seems to be a terrifying leap of faith.
In simply a week, I feel as though my life has changed. There are still many things that I don’t understand, but I now have someone to share those experiences with. I had never realized how important friendship is, whatever that means. But now I ask myself… has my life really changed, or is it simply my view of it?
It’s just another not-so-manic Monday today. I don’t have much to write about today that’s truly interesting except for a few snippets of conversation between two teenage drama queens.
“Omg, did you sleep with my boyfriend? I can’t believe you!” said the dumb blonde.
“Well, it’s not my fault that I’m so much better than you! Ooh, Regina burn!” said the dark-haired one, doing a toss of her hair. And this argument continued the same way for nearly half an hour. No need for me to continue the transcript.
I’ve never had trouble with drama queens or even drama itself. Not like I ever talked to anyone anyways. Those girls were always covered in makeup and were stunningly beautiful even without it. Me? I was never like that, and will never be like that. With my straight, mousy brown hair and boring gray-brown eyes, I didn’t stand out as particularly ugly, per se, but I certainly wasn’t pretty.
I used to want to be like those girls. Pretty, surrounded by friends…. Then I came to appreciate my status as an “invisible girl”. It kept me out of trouble, and besides, no one bothered to come talk to me anyways. I’m glad I didn’t become one of them.
He walked with me again, his arm around my shoulder. For the first time in years, I felt confident enough to wash my hair and pull off my hood. My heart jumped when I saw him, and butterflies fluttered around my stomach. Julius smelled minty and fresh, like he had just vaped a bit, and his wet hair clung to his forehead. I’m not sure why I noticed all of these things about him… but I did.
When we sat on a bench, he pulled me close and ruffled my hair. Like an older brother. Is that how he considers me? Like a younger sister to an only child? My heart twisted slightly at the thought. I leaned my head against his shoulder as we watched an episode of Stranger Things, and he in turn leaned his head against mine. It was better after that.
We vaped again today, Julius and I. The smoke curls out of our mouths as we talk, as we laugh. Once in a while, one of us blows a smoke ring at the other, and we end up rolling on the ground with laughter. I’ve never been this happy in my life. Maybe it’s just a side effect of the nicotine or just the adrenaline of being with him, but nevertheless. We shared a Coke, shared the vape, and watched as the sun set right before us, a kaleidoscope of reds, pinks, oranges, and purples and blues galore.
Just as twilight falls, we leave our bench and begin heading in opposite directions. But just as I was going to go, Julius said, “Wait! Let me walk you home.” It wasn’t even a question, just a statement. I accepted, of course. So we walked down the boulevard together, arms linked in a friendly way, fingers entwined in a way more intimate yet less friendly.
We ended up in front of my house just as the very last of the periwinkle of twilight faded from the sky and was replaced by the deep purple-blue of the night sky.
“Well, this is it!” I had said. Julius smiled back at me, but slightly uneasily. He pulled me into a tight hug and I could feel tears dripping down onto the crown of my head.
“Jolina… Jojo… I got a job. In Paris. I took it.” His quiet statement was like a blow to the stomach, knocking the breath out of my lungs. In less than 2 weeks, we had become such close friends. I pulled him closer and breathed in his scent.
“When do you leave?” I had asked through suppressed sniffles. Julius pauses.
“I’m supposed to leave on the 28th. Jojo… come with me to Paris. You’ll love it there.” I stiffened up at this last remark.
“What? Are you serious? But that’s so… complicated.” Julius sighed as those words spilled out of my mouth. “Besides, why do you think I’d like it there?”
“Everyone there is as cynical and as sarcastic as us,” Julius said with a sad smile. I laughed through my tears. Burying my face into his white shirt, I whispered, “I’m coming.”
And so it happened. I’m going to Paris!
A crazy day, possibly the craziest of my life. I didn’t think packing and getting rid of things could be this stressful, but then again, I had never been in a situation like this before. Julius and I cruelly sentenced many items to the end of their stay with me, and I found that I owned many items I had no use for. And before I knew it, my last day in the United States had come to a luscious finish, with white, puffy clouds sneakily covering the moon and the midnight sky draping us in shadow.
The time had come to say goodbye to my shabby apartment for the last time. I looked around to see if I had forgotten anything, and for the first time, I saw the apartment for what it was: just another step in the staircase of my life. Without a second glance backwards, I slipped out the door and locked it.
Vibrant colors and the smell of grease and sweat are what got to me the moment we stepped inside the airport. Loaded with our bags, we were already able to tell that the voyage through the labyrinth of an airport wasn’t going to be easy. We huffed and puffed (but thankfully did not knock our baggages over).
The moment they ran our bags through customs was the worst, though. We had so many devices that we struggled to find them all, and ended up holding up the line. Talk about an angry crowd!
We attacked the shops for food and neck pillows the moment we got through security. We were only satisfied after 45 minutes of hoarding all sorts of things. After a good 10 minutes trudging around and trying to find our boarding gate, we found it and managed to snag some seats. The bag of sour cream and onion Lays are the first to go and we manage to wolf down a ham sandwich as well before we rushed to the jet bridge to board our plane.
Finally, I can write about the present. After all, we haven’t taken off yet. Julius managed to get Business Class seats (don’t ask me how), so he sits next to me, in the aisle. The pilot has just announced the takeoff.
“Takeoff in three… two… one….” the pilot says as I watch the wheels come off the ground. I squeeze Julius’ hand tight.
“Hey, Jojo, how about a haircut when we get there? You know, new life, new hair?” Julius smirks at my split ends a bit. In response to this, I take my neck pillow and smack him full-force.
“Ugh, so rude!” Julius laughs as he smacks me back. Unfortunately, it was the same moment as when a flight attendant came around.
“Uh-oh….” we both say at the same time.