Short Story: Daunting
Clashes of heavy beats that sift through his earphones are aligned with the hidden thoughts that he is hopelessly working to push out. So he raises the volume. Allowing the flurry of words and unrelatable poetic lines to take hold of his mind. He loses his tainted train of thoughts. Melting away, those words rattling inside his mind. Easing himself of the footpath, he buries those vile words that were created by his kin and given life by his insecurities. Walk, just walk away; this mantra is all he is fixated upon. He doesn’t want to be dragged back into the dingy town full of misshapen ideals, violent beliefs and terrorised souls.
A pair of soft and unpolluted green eyes dart around making it difficult to pinpoint the direct line of his pupils. His eyes are trying to absorb the unknown vastness around him. This new world that he plunged himself into.
Familiar earth he treads upon, yet, he finds himself on an alien turf, which neither lessens nor adds to his nausea. Nausea that is pumped, in and out then in and out or out then in, all through his body, making his entire being alert with something akin to fear, but not quiet.
What an array of emotions.
Slipping through the suffocating bodies, droplets catch onto his eyelashes, gloveless hands, the Santa-sized bag. Droplets everywhere. His shoes shift across the cold and ash-grey ground seeking shelter. A sanctuary not just from the rain but from the unresponsive bodies that he left behind in the place that failed to act as a home for him. The dark shadows in his mind form images into memories he ran from. Unable to push the memories down, he forces his mind to see his future and not his past.
Painful feet to accomplish.
His hopes lie in the bonds he longs to form. A pack, taking him on as a cub; ready to engulf him in fur and protect him even from the whispers of the wind. Mothers who would camouflage their pup when others swarm around him ready to nip at his feet or tear away at his hide. Mothers who will protect. Never will he be lost or starved of love. Never will the cub’s paws hit the ground without its Mother to guide him. He will build a friendship that surpasses his biological bonds. Yes, maybe he had huge expectations, but that’s what kept him going. One had to hope to live.
Sunkissed dress or midnight blue hair – a vision of him or her. The brain has not entirely conjured up this image. But, he knows the real body will be a thousand times more ethereal than the mirage in his mind. The heart is not actively seeking out for love, but it is prepared to love, to receive and give. Unhesitant to take new risks and take the chance of a momentarily shattered core. A core once cut through, will grow new heads and fresh fantastical forms of power. One day, he will hail the Hydra within him, intensifying his own independence.
My future awaits me here, he thinks as he gazes at the creation that holds onto his freedom with an iron fist. Yet, he vows to remove this vice-like grip and obtain the present that he wants. He challenges the omniscient building for a reward. Reward in the form of an unboxed growth, hope, and a being that will not conform. Within the confines of the tanned brick wall, waiting for him is himself. The part of himself he is yet to discover. This allusive idea of ‘himself’ has laid dormant within himself until he has melted the iron. Until he has moulded his shape. Until he finds himself.
“Hi, I’m room 54.” Shaking the stranger’s soft hand, he accepts this greeting eagerly.
“That’s amazing. If you need any help just let me know.” He points back to his own door.
His room is prepared. He is ready. His mind is bustling with excitement.
“No, two cites away, almost a three-hour train journey.” He describes the gap from his former home to his new one.
“Damn, getting home must be a challenge.” The girl with orange-tanned even locks ties her hair into a low tail before responding to him. She’s the third greeting today.
“It’s nice, though. I didn’t exactly cross seas. But I have the freedom I didn’t before.” His reply is one full of hope and fear. Fear of regressing back into his old accommodation.
“Ah, tryna escape from your parents and your home.” Empathetic words flew out of her mouth, letting him know, subconsciously, she is there for him.
“I get what you mean. A chance to lay your own rules, find your own independence and self. Sometimes the best way to do that is to throw yourself in the deep end.” John, room 54, completes their little circle. Their circle that is slowly forming trust – for a lifetime, handing medicine – during sickly times, two am talks – for desperate times.
Making his way to another hour spent on a lecture. A lecture about the beauty of University and the wonders found in this specific module. Each person seems to put their module on a pedestal. Only one speaker piqued my interest. Their words all tangled and left in a mess left me confused. Left me curious. Defamiliarisation? Deautomised?
Steadying a shaking hand into a fist, his legs move in long strides as he forces himself to focus on the gigantic theatre. Endless rows of cushioned seats provided with desks lay in front of him.
Endless rows with no privacy.
After a millisecond of admiring the view, his eyes unconsciously hunt for a seat at the back. Secluded away from prying eyes. Near an escape. An escape from foreign minds. Yet, his eyes notice. Those eyes see colour. So many colours.
A girl with ivory skin.
A boy with raven-kissed outer-layer.
One girl glorified her hair with pink dye.
A boy dipped the tips of his hair in delicious gold.
He’s used to the neutral colours, his favourite; his eyes, greedy, drinks in all the colours. Shades not included in the rainbow, colours that define his generation. Diverse minds, diverse trends. Some have moved towards the ticktock age, others sit comfortably with their Nintendo-dogs. He prefers dogs. Shoving down his fears, he allows himself to be excited. Excited to grow among around so many people. People who want to progress and not be stuck in a perpetuable cycle of anxiety. These peers are like-minded he senses.
“Thanks for not falling asleep.” He’s honestly grateful that his comrades hit it off so well. Three weeks in and they are a perfect circle despite their slight flaws.
“You would do the same for me.” – John.
“I have nothing better to do.”- Greeting three Eva.
These both translate to ‘I’ve got you, my brother.’ – His pack, his circle.
University doesn’t seem as daunting with these two by his side. It looks more exciting and sincere than it did on day one. It’s evident by the glow in his skin, his eyes and his soul – this daunting experience was one he needed. One that liberates his dreams and crushes his fears.
Using this building as a stepping-stone, he begins his climb.
Striking use of repetition.
© photo from Unsplash
Have a story to share? Contact us. firstname.lastname@example.org Also, don't forget to follow us on Instagram! @featherpenblog