The weeks which are the prelude to exams are often filled with massive amounts of tension and stress. I deal with this kind of stress by obsessively organising and simplifying every aspect of my life. I cleaned my room, going through all of my possessions and taking everything I didn’t need or use to Oxfam. I went through all of my course notes for each paper, putting everything into relevant and chronological sections for potential exam essays. However, arguably the most important of my organising before things get too hectic, has been when it comes to my relationships, mainly the re-evaluation and purging of unnecessary ones.
There are few people in my life that I don’t get on with for whatever reason, but there seem to be quite a few people in my life that I pretty much just tolerate without really enjoying their company. I’ll chat to them if they happen to be in the room, but I’d never seek these people out for a cheeky pub session or to catch up or lament my troubles to. I’d say they’re sub-acquaintances. Everyone knows people like this. You’d probably never even speak to them if it weren’t for mutual friends, living conditions, or in my case sometimes, the fact that you’ve slept with them. Or in my case this time, that I dated them for nearly half a year. Specifically, Grey.
‘Hey, can I come and borrow that book?’ I said over the phone to Grey, referring to a book I needed for my course.
‘Are you in college now?’
‘Great, because I’m outside.’
‘Ok, I’ll come down and open the gate.’
‘No need to do that, I’m through the gate and walking towards your room.’
‘How are you through the gate?’
‘I used the code for the door. It’s stored in my phone.’
‘Right.’ He said slowly.
‘See you in a moment.’
I walked through his college and to where his room was to find him standing outside with the book. ‘Here you are.’
‘Ta, is it alright if I give it back to you at the end of the week?’
‘Yeah, no rush.’
‘Great, thanks. I’ve got to run, late for a revision session.’
‘It’s almost nine pm.’
‘I’ll see you later.’
‘Bye.’ He said in his typical morose fashion.
I made my way back out of his college and through the side door which I had come in through. I got on my bike and as I cycled off my phone buzzed in my jacket pocket. I ignored it and continued furiously cycling through town, late as always. Once I arrived at the college of the girl on my course whom I was studying with that evening, I locked my bike and pulled out my phone as I walked towards the porter’s lodge.
Can you please delete the code to my college door from your phone?
I frowned. ‘You’ve got to be kidding.’ I whispered to myself, shaking my head and rolling my eyes before walking into the college. Before arriving at the library I stopped to write him back.
Okay, paranoid pants. It’s not as if I’m breaking into your college every day to stalk you, but whatever I’ll delete it.
I rolled my eyes again and exhaled deeply. This was really the last thing I needed at the moment. My phone buzzed again almost immediately.
It’s not like it isn’t weird that you still have it stored in your phone to use whenever you like.
He was always stupidly ridiculous about some things. This being one of them.
‘Ugh!’ I said through gritted teeth before quickly replying. What ensued was a three minute text war that went as such:
Fine Grey, I’ve deleted it. I’ll put the book back in your pigeon hole tomorrow.
I don’t care about the book.
Well, I don’t need it anymore.
Stop acting like a child. My request wasn’t unreasonable.
Don’t worry about it. And don’t worry, I’ll stop coming to you for favours as well. Thanks a lot for the help with the book and sorry I forgot about a random note with your door code in it on my phone.
Well you clearly didn’t forget about the code, did you?
It was stored in my phone and until I actually had a use for it today I had forgotten, yes. But I’m so glad that on top of all of this you are now calling me a liar.
Oh! Oh, now it was time for me to really calculate what kind of relationship ending comment I was going to unleash at him so that I could end this fucking childish banter and get on with my revision. Me grow up? He was the one freaking out about a door code. I could have just as easily gone through the porter’s lodge, but the other door was much closer to me, and to his room as well. I paced in front of the library thinking of what to say. “No, you grow up!” would just sort of emphasise his point about me being childish. Then again, would any response be childish? In case you hadn’t noticed, I have to have the last word, and the last word with Grey was this:
A friendship between us was clearly never going to work, so why don’t I just return this book to you and we can call it quits?
No reply. Good! Leave. Me. Alone. I went on to have a very stress-free revision session, and later in the day felt quite good about finally cutting ties with that absolute arsehole. There are other elements to the story which aren’t exactly worth repeating, but it involves his continued friendship with the girl he cheated on me with. However, I have decided to be like the honey badger and just not care.
After some heavy revising I made it back to my college just before final orders in the bar and ordered a glass of wine. Al was at the bar.
‘Are you alright, mate?’ Generally I don’t like being called ‘mate’ by people whom I’ve slept with, but for some reason I didn’t mind with Al.
‘I’m good, yes.’
‘You look good.’ I laughed while frowning a bit. ‘I mean, you look happier!’ He said, elaborating.
‘I am happier.’
‘I’m quite happy actually.’
‘I think I’ve lost some weight as well from all the running I’m doing.’
‘I was going to say you look slimmer, but honestly you don’t need to lose weight. I do.’
I laughed, ‘Hardly. You’ve been running as well haven’t you?’
‘Your face looks slimmer.’
‘Really?’ He asked seriously.
‘Really.’ I said, laughing.
‘So everything’s okay? Not still upset about Dale?’
‘No, not at all. All of that is behind me.’
‘I think the two of you should work things out.’
I frowned. ‘Why?’
‘Well because you obviously liked each other and were friends, so it seems sad that you don’t even speak to each other.’
‘I tried to speak to him!’ I said, suddenly getting irritated.
‘I know, I mean I know from both sides what’s happened.’
‘What do you mean? What has he said?’
‘Well, I don’t want to go into it.’
‘Well, neither do I. You’re the one who brought it up!’
‘I know, I know. I’m just saying … you guys should try and … make things better.’
‘That is so not going to happen right now.’
‘I don’t want to get in the middle of it.’
‘Sorry, mate, you are right in the middle of this. But let’s just drop it.’
And then we proceeded to have a lovely conversation about nothing exciting or special, but Al makes me laugh and is always somewhat of a comforting presence for whatever reason.
Lady Gaga once said, ‘Some women choose to follow men, and some women choose to follow their dreams. If you’re wondering which way to go, remember that your career will never wake up and tell you that it doesn’t love you anymore.’ There’s something to be said for being selfish and putting what you want above anything else. Having spent the last few weeks with the sole purpose of taking care of myself, I am so much healthier and happier. I may be quite stressed about my degree, but at least my life has gone back to revolving around me, and not a boy or a relationship.
PS: If you don’t know about the honey badger, watch this video.