Fear

If you were to ask me, six months ago, how I felt about Boulder and the thought of leaving, I would’ve expressed how much I wanted it. Be it New York City, Seattle or even 30 miles away in Denver, I would’ve wanted to get out of this town because I felt like I’d outgrown it.

I’d first fallen in love with Boulder when I came here, nearly two years ago. Back then, I only knew one route to campus from my first apartment. I had no idea what half the buildings were called and got lost in almost every single one I entered. My first football game was a blur, literally. I was sick as a dog and got dragged to the game by my roommates when I had never seen a football game in my entire life.

I’d also first fallen in love in Boulder. I remember the nights spent walking down streets to his apartment and back to mine together. Or the different places we’d get coffee together. Or the rooms in the library we’d pull late nights in. It seemed like every inch and corner of this town is reminiscent of the relationship I had with B. From the creek that flows through the city to the obscure sports bar with great wings, I was there with him. And so when it ended with B, I felt like I could hardly go anywhere without thinking of him. I resented this town, saying that it was overrated and immature.

But trotting down the streets of Denver last night with my bright green back pack after a meeting left me uncomfortable. It wasn’t that late in the night but because we’re about to enter the dead of winter, skies were dark by 6 p.m. I navigated through quiet streets and alleys, trying to find the quickest way back downtown. I had never felt so out of place. For once, fear was a real feeling for me. I could walk the streets of Boulder at 1 a.m. without the slightest feel of doubt, but not last night. I was afraid.

Sirens wailed in the background and my active imagination convinced me that I would quite possibly meet my predator if I took a wrong corner. Denver is not by far the most dangerous city in America but it was a city nonetheless and I wasn’t familiar with any of the streets or buildings.

I made it to the bus stop and never felt so relieved to be heading back to the comforts of the town I’ve grown to love. As I’m about to close this chapter of my life, I feel the urgency in preparing myself to say goodbye. To the quad in the middle of campus, historical Pearl Street, the rooms I’ve had.

Looking ahead, I see a blank future. It’s like staring into white space and stepping into the unknown. Being in school, everything was easier. My life revolved around schedules and grades. There was only one thing to do over the weekends and life just repeated itself. Sporting events were among the many perks I enjoyed and missing class carried no heavier consequence than just getting a lower participation score.

Graduating however, relinquishes me from all of that privilege. For once, my action could potentially impact others. So yes, you’re right. I am so scared. I’m scared of the towering buildings and shadows in alleyways. I’m scared of not knowing what my next step is, where I belong, if I’m good enough to even make it in a city.

But I also can’t stay, because staying, would only make me a coward.

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All I Know Is That We Said Hello

I find it rather to difficult to process the series of events that’s happened in the past 24 hours, along with my emotions.

I don’t know if my feelings right now are real or not, but today was one of the best days I’ve had in a while. It was everything I’ve missed and everything I’ve craved for for such a long time.

C was awkwardly funny and extremely sarcastic. We met in one of the most cliches and conventional ways: at a bar.

It was one of my least favorite bars in town. The Downer, as it’s known around here, reeked of PBR and sweat. On a Tuesday night over fall break, the dingy bar was empty, and people lingered around in dark corners, taking turns at playing pool.

I pulled out my phone out of boredom, and suddenly, I see random fingers tapping away at my screen. Annoyed, I looked up to meet a pair of brown eyes and a boyish smile.

“Are you in ROTC?!?!,” he yelled over the indie music playing in the background.

What in the world was this kid on?! Clearly, I did not look like I belong in ROTC but judging by his state, he had one too many drinks for that night.

I was told that this 6′ 2 brown eyed mess goes by the name S. Whatever. He moved to stand next to me and we got into some jokes about the Broncos and bar fights, if I even remember that right. Somewhere in between that and commenting on his cheap looking hat, he’d leaned in to kiss me in the middle of a half empty bar, with everyone pretty much staring.

Feeling extremely uncomfortable with that, I motioned for us to leave the bar and possibly head home. The night was young and surprisingly warm. We stayed up and talked. I learned that his name was actually C and he’d recently moved to California after graduating with a degree in chemical engineering this past May.

I said goodbye to him earlier tonight after spending nearly all day together. We had lunch on Pearl Street and we talked even more about family, jobs and dessert. Lunch was over within an hour. We decided to walk around the mall, making quick stops at a t-shirt store and a newly opened candy shop. But with no other plans left for the day, I invited him over for a movie.

Curling up against him and watching The Matrix for the first time was quite an experience. He took the patience to explain essentially what was going on after each scene and didn’t seem to mind that one bit.

We stayed in the same spot until it was dark outside, until we ran out of excuses for each other to remain in that state. I don’t know why but I felt somewhat disappointed when he said he had to go home. Looking at the big picture, I actually barely even know this person. I’d just met him and the surest thing that I know about him is that he really likes pumpkin pie and that he hates country music.

But sitting alone in my living room right now, I keep going over the “what if’s”. What if he didn’t live in California? What if he’d chosen to stay? What if he valued the six hours or so that we’d shared today?

What if there was a chance this could be something more than a mere hello and goodbye?

Homeless

In between crunching the leaves under my feet and trading my shorts in for jeans, I came to the sad realization that this is another winter I’m spending alone.

I can’t help but choke back a tear.

I’m usually just fine. I’ve learned how to be fine. How to fill my schedules to the brim and I like it that way. It doesn’t give me time to think. That much time anyway since my brain never sleeps.

But break is here and the atmosphere is changing. My friends are talking about home and parents, and I cannot relate. I don’t have a home. Not here at least. Not yet.

I keep looking for a person that can try to be a meager substitute to my loneliness. The last time I had that, I had the ex-boyfriend and he was the closest thing to comfort that I had. But I don’t have him anymore. At least, not in that way.

He decided he wanted to see me today after weeks of silence. I am not phased by the process anymore. He comes and goes as he wishes and who can stop him? There was a way he looked at me today in the dim lighting of my room. It reminded me of the time we were finally together after spending the summer apart.

It reminded me of an afternoon in July and my bright yellow sundress. The sharp U-turn he took when he decided we would spend the day at a small amusement park on our way up to the mountains. It reminded me of dusk and the lake behind his house. Of oars and a wooden swing overlooking the water. It was the perfect summer night. 

But I’ve spent every summer since reminiscing and reliving the memories in my head. They were comforting and for once it felt like I had a home. Like I had a place with him. And now, I feel like a speck of dust floating in the ocean. I feel lost.

I know that opening up old wounds is always a bad idea and I can’t afford to tear down what I’ve spent the last year building. I guess I’m just a little bit scared of doing everything on my own. I like the idea of having someone else’s hand to hold, just in the event I slip a little bit.

But there’s the harsh reality that greets me every day–– that as surely as I go to bed alone every night, that is how I’ll wake up in the morning too.

Hope

I got into a crying hysteria with my parents last night.

For obvious reasons, I’ve been putting off the idea of graduation for the longest time, trying extremely hard not to face reality because honestly, the thought of it does not sound appealing at all.

I’m so comfortable here. Right here, right now where I’m at. Everything I need in my life is within a 5 mile radius, literally. I have the gorgeous mountains to my west and throbbing energy of life just 30 minutes southeast of where I live. I don’t know what else I could ask for. By now, I know where everything is.

Still, I feel like I haven’t gotten to know this place entirely yet and the thought of leaving, already, is a little painful. I think of the friends I have right now––the ones that have held my hair back, the ones that have sat by me while I cried, the ones I’ve gotten into laughing fits with––I don’t want to leave them. Not yet.

It’s like somehow, unknowingly, I’d fallen in love with this place and the people.

I curled up in ball after abruptly hanging up on my dad, with a clouded mind and foggy eyes, and thought to myself, how in the world am I going to live on my own. The fear that gripped me was like nothing I’d ever felt. More than anything, I felt helpless and I had never felt so small and so insignificant in my entire life.

But I’ve made it this far. I’ve made it this far on my own and it doesn’t make sense for me to reverse that. Thinking about the sacrifices I’ve made in the past two years, the Christmases I’d spent alone, the family weekends without my family, the friends from home whom I barely ever talk to anymore––these sacrifices; what were they for if I give up now?

President Obama was reelected by the American last night to serve a second term. In his speech, he kept the message of hope alive.

And maybe, sometimes, that’s all we ever need.

 

What I Miss About You

What I miss about A was unpredictability. I would never know when I would hear from him next, or again at all. My phone would ring at 3 a.m. and, foggy with sleep, I would carry out a muffled conversation with him into the early hours of the morning. That was the first time I’d fallen in love. I was 18. He could never make up his mind, whether he wanted me or not. But I held on to him for two whole years, all the while on an emotional roller coaster ride, swearing him off every two weeks, only to find myself sneaking him out in the morning from my room two weeks later. In a small way, I liked having that. He kept me on my toes and although at times it drove me crazy, he was like adrenaline. Besides sharing times sitting in his car and listening to obscure indie bands play through his radio, he indulged me in my childish banters, habits and confessions. At times I could be me, but there where other times, where I absolutely could not.

What I miss about C was childishness. I would know that an evening with him would start off with eating absolute junk food and playing video games. Or watching one of his favorite movies, like Superbad or some dorky sci-fi movie. My favorite way of spending time with him was to challenge him to a game of Guitar Hero, despite knowing I would lose. He loved a challenge. A date with him meant the movies and the pet store. He was a little kid that loved his movies. He was never afraid to make a complete fool out of himself and he would always let me be the DJ in his car. We ate gummy bears in bed together, drank Mike’s Hard and played with fireworks on the Fourth of July. Distance tore us apart and three years later now, I still wonder what he’s up to.

What I miss about B was stability. I would always know what he would say when he IM’ed me on Facebook chat. He was always good with his words and once things started to smoothen out, having my toothbrush at his place and his towel at mine seemed nice. I liked making dinner with him and his enthusiasm for always trying new food was a definite plus point. He was comfortable. We knew each other so well. I knew how spicy he liked his noodles and he knew how picky I was with mayonnaise. He never showered me with gifts on holidays but he showed his commitment by driving me to Macy’s when I was in desperate need of a new dress. And then taking me on a completely unplanned camping trip. And sitting me down in the middle of campus, looking me in the eye, and promising to be there no matter how hard things get. What he didn’t know was that two weeks later, he broke that promise on the same spot on campus.

What I miss about J was safety. I don’t remember the first time I’d met J. Literally. It was during one of our house parties and I woke up the next day to my roommate telling me I’d met J. He added me on Facebook a couple of days later and I accepted without thinking much of it. We became friends a few months later when I gave him my number after a short Facebook conversation. I would hear from him sporadically and it was during winter break of my junior year that I realized how much I wanted to know him. The chemistry between us was unmistakable. I could always expect him to be there in the morning when I woke up and although I’d always pretend that I cared less, I knew inside that it wasn’t the case. We would talk for hours in bed and although he always sounded a little more reserved, I always knew he was honest. We shared past hurt, and somewhere in between the words and his bright blue eyes, I fell for him. I banked on him being my safest choice yet, so I walked the line without a safety net. But I fell midway and the fall was more painful than I thought it would be.

I don’t know what inspired me to write this post. I feel like the days are moving so much faster than they’re supposed to, and I can’t keep up. I think of how many people I’ve met and how many moments I’ve shared with different people. In class, at the bus stop, in the grocery store, at the bar. With graduation looming, I wonder where life will take me after this and how many more relationships I will form and break. How many more people I’ll miss.

And how many more loves I’ll lose.