She sat at the edge of the wall outside the villa. It was rather a secluded place even though it was situated quite at the entrance. Or maybe it seemed secluded as no one really hung out there. Why would anyone? The entire villa was packed with the swarm of young adults screaming at the top of their voices holding red cups full of booze, dancing, playing hippie party games. Who would want to miss the fun?
No one neither wondered nor bothered to know why was she sitting outside with no company. She couldn’t care less either. Everything going on inside was just plain white noise to her. She didn’t know why she even agreed to come here in the first place? Maybe because she had decided to make some friends in this new country and didn’t want to decline their invitation. Well, she really regretted that decision at that point.
At 19, there were too many lessons waiting for her. She had just learned her first one and that had motivated her to leave her country and start afresh. However, the change of scene hadn’t worked as well as they showed in the movies and books. The deep valley inside her heart was as empty as it was in her home country and nothing really helped to fill it.
It wasn’t like she hadn’t tried to drown her sorrow in booze, she had also tried to smoke it up. Just how most teenagers start off getting into substance abuse. But her heart didn’t even give her temporary relief. It burnt more with the alcohol and she ended up crying and puking most of the time. With her inhibitions lowered, she was also at risk of being used. A simple touch of half hearted pretentious love could also make her melt. She didn’t wish to be that vulnerable again. Definitely not in a foreign land. The pain seemed somewhat manageable with her sanity at hand.
So she just sat, staring at the night outside the villa, desperately trying NOT to think about what broke her heart and ending up doing exactly that in the process. Music was blaring in her ears but she wasn’t able to comprehend the sound. Everything was numb inside and outside her.
A gentle tap on the shoulder broke her trance. She looked behind reflexively and saw a young boy, much older than herself grinning from ear to ear. His smile caught her off guard. He was a conventionally good looking fellow but such a genuine smile on such a pretty face? Rare. She thought. He could score left and right with that face; he should have a permanent smirk plastered on. But he seemed so genuine and warm.
Appearances can be deceptive — she thought. It was only natural to think that way. It was kinda her lesson 1 in adult life after all. She just kept looking at him waiting for him to speak.
“What are you doing here? Everything alright?”
“Yeah, I just need some fresh air. You don’t seem to belong here with high school kids. You must be in college.”
He rubbed the back of his neck with a shy smile before admitting, ” I’m way beyond that actually. Just starting my second job next week.”
She raised her brows. He seemed much older but not THIS much.
“Seriously? What are we talking here? Your thirties?”
“Ah! Late 20s. I’m 27.”
“Twenty seven! You’re practically from the next generation, what are YOU doing at such a party?”
“My brother is the host. This is actually our parents’ house. I’m here till my job starts!”
“You must be loaded!” she said looking at the house
“Well, you must be loaded too, otherwise you wouldn’t be studying in my brother’s class.”
“Well, my dad is loaded. I’m not.”
He smirked, “I’m sort of loaded because my dad was. You see, I didn’t have any education debt. So whatever I make is mine. But being loaded doesn’t save you from pain, does it?”
He had hit a nerve. She turned to his face a little too quickly.
“Hell it doesn’t!”
“Yeah, otherwise no teenage girl like you would be sitting outside, secluded while everyone else her age was busy exploring the new found adult life!”
She gave him a hard look. ” Well, who says I’ve not explored those things. Never really had that much fun though.”
“It’s good. You don’t realise how many precious years you drink away and waste worrying about guy problems.”
He had hit a nerve again. She only nodded in response.
“Ooooh, so it is a guy problem!” He concluded.
She did make a face but she felt like she could open up. “Well, I saw my boyfriend cheat on me with my best friend!” And then sighed.
He seemed to be waiting for more while she felt she had said enough to convey the gravity of the situation.
“And….?” He asked finally.
“And what? Of course I broke up with him but it SUCKS to be betrayed like this especially by the very same people you TRUST so much! I told my dad I wanted to move here right away and came here to finish my last year in high school. I couldn’t STAND being in that country!”
“And has the fresh start really done the trick?”
She thought for a while, “ Not really. I feel the same.”
“That is because you’re running away from the problem instead of dealing with it. Is it the first thing in your life that has caused you pain?”
“I don’t know why I am telling you so much about myself but – no. I lost my mom when I was an infant. I don’t really have any memories of her. And my dad never really had time for me, I always felt neglected. It wasn’t that I wanted him to be there constantly. But he could meet me once a day, right? Take updates on my life? Hug me? Hold me? Be around on important days? He never did that!”
“So your best friend and your boyfriend were probably the first people that made you feel loved?”
“Now that you pointed it out – yeah! Actually it was just my best friend. My boyfriend and I were going out for just 6 months. It’s her betrayal that counts more than his.”
He smiled. “You see, you’re too young to know this. Sadly you don’t have anyone else to tell you this. So I’m going to step up. The problem isn’t your dad or your boyfriend or your best friend. What they did was wrong and you are absolutely in the right to feel neglected, abandoned and betrayed. But what you’re trying to do is, forget what they did to you. Hence you end up thinking about it even more.
The centre of your happiness needs to be your own self. It is not love or validation from your father and it is definitely not love and validation from the next person who gives it to you. You need to know how to include people in your life to multiply your happiness. But if you have none to begin with – 0 into anything is zero. You’ll be handing over the strings of your happiness to someone else. You’d be a puppet in a world which is already too full of fake and plastic faces. So if someone decides to drop your strings, you wouldn’t be able to propel yourself ahead.
It will be so much better if you learn early on in life that people are going to leave. Some will ghost you, some will betray you, some you will remove from your life, some life will remove by its circumstances, some death will take away. No matter the reason, everytime you lose a person – there will be heartbreak and grief. And this has a process. You can’t speed it up. But you can definitely slow it down by overthinking and staying stuck in one place. Moving on will not happen if you don’t ACTIVELY try. It doesn’t happen on its own and “time heals” is bullshit. Time can push those things at the back of your mind but healing is an active process.”
She was just intently listening to all that he said but she raised her brows at the last line.
“Active process? What do you want me to do? Meditiate and think about healing?”
“Ah! Well, all these psychologists and researchers say it will help. They also say we should seek therapy at such a time. I personally feel it is something we should learn how to figure out on our own. Every individual has a unique process and it can’t always go by the book. Obviously this is my personal opinion. There’s a lot of contradiction to what I’m saying. But I say this because it creates independence. It is tough the first time but it gets easier and faster again. And you aren’t afraid to open your heart because you think if you could do it once, you would be able to do it again too. It’s really true. Trust me, you WILL have to do it again and again in life. So why not learn in the very first instance?”
“What you’re saying is making sense to me but I’m at a loss here at what I REALLY have to do!”
“You have to find EXACTLY that. Trial and error and once you do it – grief would enter its last stage. Acceptance. It would be like a jigsaw puzzle – one piece fitting into another with a click. Something would just fall into place in your universe, and you would KNOW when it happens.”
She nodded her head.
“Can you tell me your stories of move on – for you know like – inspiration!“
“I could but then you’ll start relating things with your own situation and get influenced. But I can take you to a better place than this shitty party.!”
“Where?” she asked. A sudden distrust appeared on her face.
“Jeez. Don’t look at me like that! I’m only taking you for stargazing and some decent coffee!” he said with his hands in the air.
“Its defence. What if you’d want something in return for all your wisdom?” she said playfully.
“Don’t worry I’m not a Pedo!”
They laughed as he took her out. Her first friend in the new city was definitely sent by her guardian angel!