The day was extra-ordinary. What I mean to say is that it was so ordinary that it was excessively so. The atmosphere was hot and sweaty, and the people were too populous and too loud. Nevertheless, we acted like we were alone; there was no other way to do it. There was nowhere else to go. We were enclosed by the confines of our school, which was the only world that we knew, when we were in it.
Ignoring the meaningless chatter, she leaned her head into my shoulder, while I executed the tricky action of putting my arm around her while trying to prevent it from appearing as an amorous gesture, a skill that needed to be perfected by every boy in an environment such as ours.
She asked me, for the dozenth time, if I loved her, her voice full of ego, but brimming with the foam of insecurity. For the dozenth time, I responded in the affirmative. I said I loved her, and it was true then. It is also true now, and this happened only about a week ago. But for how much longer will it be true?
My mind appears to have expanded since then, with absurdly vast speculations about the future, and how my present fits into it, and all I have managed to conclude so far is that the universe is too big to be contained in my comparatively insignificant head, so, despite it being two am, I am now standing near the edge of a steep incline, listening to rustling leaves and feeling the wind blow.
I consider the idea of jumping off the edge – not suicidal, just curious – and I am almost overwhelmed by the lack of consequence of this action to the progression of the world. Whoever grieved would, soon enough, get over it. The world wouldn’t stop rotating on its axis. My friends would find other friends; my girlfriend would find another boyfriend.
I was, by no accounts, exercising self-indulgence. I thought about the reciprocals as well. I didn’t think of my friends as insignificant, but until now, I had never actually considered the relational changes that would take effect. In about 30 years, would I even remember their names?
Suddenly mentally weary, I sit down and absent-mindedly pick up a rock. It is small and rough, and I toss it from palm to palm, familiarizing myself with its contours and edges. I had never realised how much I actually needed this rest – this mid-term break. I had been so caught up in the tasks, activities and routines of life, too much to evaluate even my own idea of reality.
I said I loved her and I swear I meant it. But it made me uncomfortable to think about what would happen to us after graduation, only a year way. We’d spend the whole summer constantly calling and meeting up, I suppose. Then, when we went to college, we’d update each other almost too frequently about our lives online. An email a day would eventually turn into one every two days, then one a week…and as we slowly but surely got caught up in our new lives, once every three months, and eventually, hardly ever.
My friends and I always talked like we always knew what to expect. There’s something about the invincibility of youth and shelter that made one feel so all-knowing. As if our futures were set in stone.
The stone is in my left hand. I pick up another stone in my right hand. With the second stone, I chip away at the first until I can chip no more.
It makes me feel better, in a small way, to know that stone can be broken.