My big day was finally pulling closer. Everything was arranged.
My dress lay in front of me, and all my shoes were lined up neatly. As I breathed in the excitement of it all, he came in.
I looked at him and hugged him tightly, thanking him for everything. He shifted my hair behind my ear and kissed my forehead. He looked at my attire and told me how beautiful I would be looking.
I smiled and packed it all away.
Giggling, I headed down to breakfast where I saw all my cousins sitting at the table. They looked at me and sighed. They seemed happier about it than I did, but that couldn’t be possible.
My mom called me to the table and offered me cereal. As I sat down stuffing everything in quickly, dad entered the room again with some papers in his hand. I looked curiously at him.
I had waited for this day for so long. I knew he would come around, and he finally had. As I held my first ever plane ticket in my hand, I looked at my dad who had just gotten off the phone with the travel agent company. They were waiting for me in London.
Chaos, absolute chaos.
There was havoc everywhere. It was a nightmare to watch. Sparks were flying across the room and people were running, chasing, even hiding. I did feel somewhat responsible for this, but I did not have time to think about that just now.
I geared up and adopted my combat. I could see fire, injuries, yet hopefully no death. There were announcements being made, people being evacuated.
I had thought of making a run for it too, but I had hardly left myself much choice.
Gathering enough courage, I got up from the place where I was hiding and yelled – ‘STOP. RIGHT NOW’. As I stood shivering in my stance, there was absolute silence in the room. All of us stared at each other incessantly, till it broke out again.
I decided it was time to pull out the big guns. The force entered and everything was under control. The people got up, looked at us, and went back to doing their thing while the victorious mothers held on to their tornado excuse for children.
I apologized to the store manager and made my way out of the store never to return (because they made me sign an agreement).
Whose wonderful idea was it any way to bring five three year olds to the electronic store?
‘COME ON. It will be fun! I promise’, my friend was yelling from across the room. It had been days since I had gone anywhere and she had taken it onto herself to make me.
I was reluctant. I had a lot of things to do and honestly, I was not so thrilled about it.
‘Oh, Jane, you need to get out once in a while. Come with me, it is just me and some friends. We will hang out; maybe meet some new people – if you know what I mean?’ She winked at me as she threw herself across my couch.
‘I don’t want to meet any new people! I am quite happy by myself.’ I sniffed and stomped across the room.
‘Look, you will be doing the same thing you do at home, just outside! With other people – it is more fun that way. Trust me.’ She looked at the bottles lined up on my bar. She made a valid point, I suppose.
‘Fine, I will come along. But if I do not enjoy it, I will come back home. I cannot handle the idea of too many crazy people around me.’, I rolled my eyes and sat down as she clapped her hands together.
‘It’s a deal, and everyone will be busy in their own world any way!’ She grabbed my bag and my coat and we left the house.
As we entered the dimly lit yet loud room, I saw glasses lying around, shoes hanging over people’s heads, tiny dresses torn at the bottom, and a lot of chaos. I headed to the table and softly kept my purse. As I pulled out my bottle from the bag and began to paint it, I thought of what a shady place hobby class was.
‘Are you sure you understand?’ She demanded, looking me dead in the eye. She has always known what she wants. We are both sailing in the same boat, except I never wanted to be in this boat.
‘Yes’, I said, wrapping my hair in a tight bun. I knew this was never something I had aspired to do, but not everybody receives what they dream of. I had accepted my life the way it was, and I was ready for it.
‘Don’t make any errors; we do not want to get caught. Just ask him to give you the stuff and be out. Are we clear?’ She asked me, almost whispering.
Both of us stared through the car windshield, then I spoke.
‘As water’, I nodded and turned around. I picked up the keys, sighed, and made my way out of the car.
Running, I entered and yelled – ‘GIVE IT TO ME’
It is then that I realized that I could not just waltz into a supermarket and demand for things.
Apparently, we have to find them for ourselves. That is when the real mission began. ‘What are artichokes even?’ I thought to myself.
All the papers had been filed, the documents loaded, and the coffee machine turned off. I could finally go home.
I clicked my phone open to see if I had gotten any calls. I knew he would be waiting for me. Tucked under the sheets with open arms – it was the perfect way to end the day. I just wanted to stare at him and slowly fall asleep with my head on his chest.
The moment I got home, I yelled out his name as I changed into my pyjamas. I slid under the bed sheets and slapped my hand across the bed to grab on to him and hug tight.
My fingers swept the sheets, but couldn’t find him. I got up with a jerk. Where did he go?
I got off the bed and looked around.
Knocking on the bathroom door and making my way into the living room. I yelled out his name and went to the balcony, the kitchen, everywhere. I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t lose him, there was no way.
While I sat on my sofa lost in thought, I felt him, near my hand. There he was under the sofa pillow – my stuffed build-a-bear.
‘Hey’, my phone blinked.
‘I’d love if you wear that tonight. I know you are a little afraid, but you will have a good time if you know what I mean.’
I knew this night was going to come soon. We had become very close in the past three months.
I also knew that I owed him a lot, everything, perhaps. I picked up my pink crocheted purse and stuffed it in my breast pocket. I was apprehensive because I did not think that I could pull it off.
Staring at my wardrobe, I took it out and laid it on my bed.
I was nervous and excited at the same time. I was not sure if I was looking forward to it.
Feeling gutted, I stared at the dress and formed knots in my tummy. I breathed heavily then decided to just be confident and walk with it.
It was 9:00 pm. I put on the dress and left the house. I could feel people staring. I should have taken a coat with me. Confidence is key, I told myself, and I needed the money.
I finally reached the restaurant and stood outside with the wind slowly setting my hair.
Holding pamphlets in my hand, and making sure the hood does not blind me, I strutted around in my chicken onesie attracting a rather large crowd.
Exhausted, I glanced at the dreaded text again.
‘Yes, boss’, I replied.
Another night, another heart break – it felt like a recurring situation that had gotten me nowhere so far.
Like the amazing friends that they were, they stood firm through it all and came to me with our ritualistic solution.
“It’s time”, Jo said. I nodded.
Anna got the car keys, while the rest dressed me up. It was tough to get back outside and face it but, it was time to be happy again, or at least pretend to be.
Taking my wallet, my phone, my keys, and an extra lip colour just in case, we got into the car and off we drove. We played songs in the car and made our best attempt to karaoke an opera.
Finally, I could see it. It was buzzing; we rushed out of the car and made our way in. The lights, the smell, the people, I could already feel myself getting alright again. I took to the floor as I heard the music.
We sat around a table while my friend brought a bunch of drinks to the table. It had been so long, I was thrilled. I could feel the drinks hit me and relieve me almost instantly. I felt happy, hyper even. We sang along and clicked photos as we munched on the bits and I tried to keep my lip colour in place.
I loved it!
Finally, when it had gotten late enough, we collected our things and staggered and stuttered across the room. There came a voice behind us – “Thank you for coming!”
We looked back at our table which was lined with smoothies and empty burger boxes, and yelled back – “Have a good night!”
McDonald’s had always proven to be the best therapy.