When The Words Run Out
Sunday is my birthday. I wake up extremely early with my mum because we share a birthday and while the boys are sleeping we exchange presents and open cards. Soon the living room is overflowing with birthday cards and we're answering the phone to friends and family who can't make it to the barbecue. We go to the St. Antony Novena for mass because it's the same one my mum went to while she was pregnant with me and she's had a devotion ever since. People come up to say happy birthday and reminisce about how they never thought they'd see the day. To them, even now at 18, I will always be the miracle baby. We spend the rest of the morning making food and tying up decorations and I'm playing around with my camera. Mum puts the finishing touches on my cake and my family and friends start to arrive. My house is busy with birthday wishes, as my aunt and my cousin also share a birthday with us. I'm not one for big blowout parties, so I'd say the whole thing was pretty low-key. I play balloon games with my little cousins and laugh at the things they come out with. The youngest one turns round to me seriously and says 'I laughed in the face of danger' and I can't help but laugh. Life is good.
The next day I meet my godmother under the clock in central station and we go for lunch and to the cinema. I'm realising how busy my next couple of weeks are, with summer school, berlin, injections, training and ireland. Every moment is mapped out. On Friday it's my summer school induction day. I meet Jack on the platform going into town and while he goes off to meet Brian I get the train to uni. The normal road is shut so I'm walking for ages and then up the massive hill that is university avenue. Somehow I still manage to make it there before the boys. I meet some other girls in the lecture hall and we go for lunch together in the union before the campus tour. I meet Rachael from the interview day again in the afternoon and she shrieks 'ANNE!' and runs over to me. I'm excited to see her too, there's just something nice about having a few familiar faces.
Life isn't always good though. In fact, a lot of sadness transcended over my town and the world these past few days. Things that are so heartbreaking I don't have any words for them. A boy from my year at school is reported missing, while one in a neighbouring school commits suicide as a result of bullying. I feel so much for their families. In Orlando 49 people are killed and one of the first girls I ever subscribed to on YouTube is shot dead. In Leeds an MP is also shot. I feel so helpless. On my way back from summer school on Friday someone messages me to ask if I heard the news and I find out that they've found the body of the missing boy. We weren't at all close, but the lump in my throat refuses to leave. The conclusion to a week filled with tragedy. All I can think about is how many times his daft antics would have our entire year in stitches, because not many first years have the guts to try and start a mexican wave around the assembly hall.
I wonder what I would do if I could go back and live this week again. My heavy heart. This stupid lump in my throat. This sting in my eyes. The fear of blinking just in case hot tears fall and betray my words. All make me think I wish I had done more. I am radio silent, because where are the words I am supposed to use when the world is grieving and I don't know how long it will take to heal? I look at the world conflict map and see so many blinking red conflict zones that my heart is breaking. I have run out of words and for that I apologise.
Fun fact: I have 87 drafts in my blogger drafts folder. Some are snippets of posts, others are completed but the time just isn't right to publish them, others are posts once published that have now been reverted to drafts for a variety of different reasons. Many are failed attempts at me trying to get out what I want so badly to say, the words locked in my heart. What I'm saying is, I don't have words for you right now. I don't have words to describe how I'm feeling, the mixed bag of emotions I have turned into. Sometimes the brutality of the world is too much for me and it hurts me deeply.
I wasn't looking forward to Summer School but the minute I get talking to the people in my history class and our lecturer walks in, I realise this place is an adventure waiting to happen. A story waiting to be written. Our first lecturer is someone many would describe as eccentric. Clever, chaotic and hilarious, with the oversized blazer and funny glasses to go. He makes jokes about Hogwarts and within ten minutes I'm reminded why I love history so much. He's constantly referencing popular culture. When the lecture is over I go up to him and explain about Berlin and how I'll miss a few days and the teaching for our first assessment because of it. He frowns, then smiles brightly, and flaps about gathering his things before telling me to come up to his office. He unlocks the door and I don't know what I'm expecting but I could burst out laughing when he says "take a seat" because literally, there is only one free seat with nothing on it amongst the absolute chaos that is his office. I am surrounded by books, every piece of furniture is covered is bits of paper and books. I hold back my laugh and instead appreciate his taking time out to help me. I'm beginning to realise that maybe these experiences are exactly the ones I needed to get me writing again.
Normally I'd be scribbling little snippets and ideas down on my phone, things that normally form the skeleton of my blog posts but without my phone and having fallen out of the habit of carrying my journal around, I haven't written much down this week. But when we're leaving English class the tutor tells us to take a journal and to write in it for 25 minutes each day for the four weeks we're here. I leave more inspired than I thought I would be.