The class was warm. The rays of sunlight rested gently on my right arm and cheek as the ink from my pen spilled onto the lined paper. The numbers fall so perfectly into place and the structure of it all calms my mind. Everything works out and makes sense. There’s no room for speculation or interpretation. The numbers are what they are and in this very moment, that is exactly what I need.
I am at peace and I am denying the existence of any disruption to my peaceful state.
I can hear gentle murmurs in the background, which I dismiss as classroom chatter. Suddenly, my peace is threatened as a hacking, scraping, unnecessarily emphatic noise bursts though the murmurs. I close my eyes for a second, take a deep breath in and refocus on the numbers. The hacking continues and I resist the urge to scream at her to shut up.
As sick as she is, there is a large part of me that knows that the volume of the coughs can be tremendously reduced. The raucous noises are meant to snatch the attention of anyone nearby who cares enough to ask if she is alright. As judgmental as I this is to say, she really likes to extend her worth and make a fuss of herself. She truly believes that she is the shit.
I struggle with these feelings. I hold in my annoyance and beg someone, anyone to ask her if she is alright so that I can go on ignoring her and focusing on my numbers.
At the same time, I wish that everyone ignores her annoying forwardness and she learns that people don’t actually care about others that much.
At last, my first wish comes true and the other girl seated beside her asks if she is alright.
She laughs sarcastically, turns to me and says “I am telling you, I have TB!”
I smile at her and shake my head gently, trying to hide my irritation.
I know that she is sick. She is my supposed best friend, after all. I know that she has been sick for a while. But the way she talks about things like this in front of other people proves something to me. She wants others to think that her life is special, mysterious and full of some kind of tragedy.
I know this because I get the same urges sometimes. But I never act on them on such a large scale. Why? Because it’s freaking annoying. It makes a person seem like an attention-seeking bitch. And that cannot be further from the truth. Life really feels like a tragedy sometimes and I know that that is how it feels for her but can she not be less forward?
I know that she is more open, more expressive than I am. But that doesn’t mean that her life or feelings are bigger than mine or anyone else’s. If you don’t want people to know about your tragedy, then shut up and don’t hint at snippets of you broken life. Either reach out or withdraw. I know that I choose the second option and it often makes me seem unfeeling or not empathetic, but that doesn’t mean I won’t be there for those who reach out.
I just find it hard to be there for someone who makes it seem like life’s tragedy is from some fucking movie. I understand feeling alone, lost, upset, depressed, stressed, sick. Hell, I understand it more than most people! But it’s not some piece of mysterious treasure to hone and hide from people but simultaneously making them want to see it. It’s not a diamond ring to hide from your mom.
It’s a life-altering, heartbreaking phenomenon that no one can understand. Hiding it is my defense. Reaching out should be hers but I can’t seem to help her if she keeps parading it like a forbidden jewel.
My cousin suffers with the same ailment but she, like me, is a withdrawer. There is no parading and teasing. It’s real for her. It’s real for me.
If my so called best friend wants my help then she needs to turn to me, and only me, and ask.
I would help her, despite the fact that she, like everyone else, thinks that I am some robotic, emotionless beast. Despite the fact that I see her suffering and she doesn’t see mine. Despite the fact that the only way I let my feelings out is through this blog. Despite the fact that I have no one…
Despite all of that, I would be willing to help. If only this sickness weren’t a treasure to her.