Happy faces are cheering me on and shouting, “Blow it… make a wish!” I wish to not live this life again, today is a painful day. I am turning twenty-three today, and my loved ones planned a surprise party for me. I hate surprises. What am I really celebrating? The worst and most miserable years of my life! I am not happy, this smile is being forced and I hate doing that! I am still here, living with my mother. No job. No inspiration. No ambition. I am falling apart. I am dying inside, look at me!

It’s the day before my birthday and I remember my life cycle. I am nowhere and lost in the desert alone to find my own way. I have the will and hunger to succeed. I am thirsty for opportunities. People keep on saying I am still young and have my whole life ahead of me. But how I see it is that we’re dying young. I don’t want the material things as much, but what comes with it including the security, the need of feeling wanted or needed, not asking for money from mommy or can’t go out because you don’t got any money.

I keep my distance from a lot of people because I avoid being invited or asked for contributions. It’s sad, it really is. I feel sorry for not being accepted for a job, it makes me feel worthless. If that is not all, people out here asking when I will work, when I will move out, how this and that already has this and that, it hurts and I think we should normalise not saying or asking people such things because we’re fighting hidden battles. Anxiety is the worst one of all. We have so much time to ourselves so we overthink. People commit suicide because of this! It is no joke.

God, if you can hear me, please heal me. Please get me out of this dry season. I am dehydrating, I am hungry. My eyes are dry and my heart has thorns. It hurts knowing that it always rains the hardest on the people that deserves the sun.

But here I am being celebrated. On one hand it makes me feel special but on the other, dissatisfied. I don’t like where I am so I don’t think celebrating anything is normal. It just isn’t. People hugging and kissing, handing presents and giving blessings. I smile and when everyone is going all about it, and I observe them still seated in the chair. Candice is laughing with one group and all of them work.

Candice went overseas when she finished school and is now one of the top lawyers at a young age. Mandy has her own retail store. Chris is a professional rugby player. Quiet and nerdy Nancy has her own spa. I could go on.

“Are you okay?” Loren asks behind me, smiling widely. Even she is happily married.

“Yeah…” I just say and stand up.

“Are you going to join us next week…” she asks but I cut in.

“Sorry need the loo,” I then walk off into the room and close the door and lay down on my bed. I didn’t lie, I do need the loo, just not now. I wish for it all to end. Maybe if I close my eyes and count to ten.

“1…2…3…” I start counting with my eyes closed and my face covered with my hands.

“What are you doing?” Jack asks and gives a soft laughed.

“They’re still here,” I say but don’t remove my hands.

“What?” he asks but in my head I tell him how I wish they could just go. It seemed like he read my mind, or heard my thoughts. “Come on dude join us downstairs, it’s just a few more hours, than you can go back to ignoring us again.”

“That’s not what I am doing,” I say almost biting at him.

“Now please explain?” He lies down next to me.

“Nothing…” We lie there in silence.

“I sometimes feel like a waste. Like I don’t belong among you or I don’t fit in anywhere.”

“Why do you feel that way?” I ask confused.

“Because all of you look like you have your life figured out already and here I am still in this town, still in the same room. My parents say it is fine and that everything will come together. But when will that be, will that even happen, Emily?” he says almost in tears.

“Look who you’re talking to, Jack. Here I am, in the same room. This is why I don’t celebrate and go out with you, because I have no reason to… no reason to be happy,” I say and lay back down. “I have enough troubles as a woman, and now I have to stress about taking care of myself,” I continue but pause because my heart becomes heavy and my eyes blur from the huge sensation to cry.

“Wow Em, I didn’t realise you have it this difficult, you always the motivational one…” He sits up.

“I know… but sometimes I just need someone to hold me and tell me that everything will be fine,” I sit up straight. Without expecting it, he hugs me. He smells nice with also a touch of alcohol but it is not strong as he is not a drinker. I break loose from his hug and our eyes lock.

Jack, Jack, oh my childhood friend since kindergarten. Has he always been this sensitive or am I only really realising his presence now? He has hazel brown eyes, his face structure compliments his handsome gesture. He is a head taller than me and has soft small lips. I find myself observing him intimately but before I embarrass myself, I look away but he catch my chin.

“Don’t be afraid to talk. Say when you breaking down, I will catch you while you fall and it will be up to you if you want me to help you up or let you just lean against me while getting up by yourself. We will get there but first we need to start believing that we also can. Let’s begin this journey together,” he says and leads me by the hand. Downstairs everyone is happily cheering and for once I only see a room full of happy people.

Thank you Jack.


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