Nope. Actually we were still kind of arguing. It was starting to become sort of habitual, if two days counts. I felt bad. I also felt motivated and excited; for university had begun and I was fairly pleased with my choice of papers and that there were people in my classes that I actually liked. I felt like I could feel things in a natural way neither idealized nor indifferent, like I could do something, sustain it, feel good about it. I felt motivated not just on the surface, all the way through like a hot, buttered crumpet that leaves a greasy residue on the bench top. I had this big book to read, I only just got it but everyone else had read so much of it. I had to read 500 pages in 3-4 days. Well, I thought, I have the day off tomorrow so I can read it then real heaps. I need to stop thinking ‘real heaps’. I was looking forward to it because the book sounded fairly miserable and I like dystopian novels.
University meant I was biking a lot more as well. It took half an hour each way so that was one hour of bike rides total nearly every day. The endorphins are going to make me so happy, I thought. I’m going to get so fit. Initially, the atmosphere at university disheartened me. I complained to Matt and Ben and Jono and Georgia and Sam and Hannah and David and Kit and Regan and Gina how I hated the people at university because they are stupid and like to party and talk to each other in queues. Really, I was jealous because they were talking to each other in queues and no one was talking to me. I felt bad in my cultural activism class when TS Eliot said that culture is for everyone and not the élite. I am conceited even though I have nothing to be conceited about, I thought. I’m a bad person. University has this certain scent in the summer: an ardent aroma of pledged assiduousness, sworn aspiration, impenetrable desire and sausages. It made me feel better. Also I had done something that had taken me two years to do.
Wed 23 Feb
Wed 23 Feb
my appointment card read. I text you to call me. I felt like I had made a ‘major breakthrough’. I am still at uni just biking home now I made an appointment with the counselor let’s talk when I get home I said. You said OK.
When I got home we talked and the last rays of sunshine streamed through my window. Something yum was being made downstairs: tortillas. I had two and a cup of tea. I ate with my parents and we talked about our days and I mentioned how excited for university I was and how I had lots of work to do and how I also had lots of work at my job that week. I felt like things were going to be good this year. We were going to be okay too because we were going to make that collation of pictures, poems, gmail chats, skype videos, stories, texts which would make me feel better about being far away from you and help me understand and perhaps get over some deep-rooted anxieties. I read more of that giant book, talked to you, went to sleep before midnight and actually slept.
I didn’t want to write a love poem, but I woke up feeling a bit better. I didn’t muck around with the computer or staring at the ceiling or watching videos: I had a shower and got dressed straight away. I made myself a cup of tea and sat on the sofa downstairs in the second lounge under the big window and read my book in the natural light that tumbled in. I was going to read 250 pages that day which would be half the book then I would read another 50-100 that night and then the next day I would only have a little bit more book to go. I’m a pretty fast reader so I’m not entirely sure how ambitious that was. My friend Rosie sent me a text at 12.08 either about finding a flat or about camo-pants and I replied. I went upstairs to my room because I needed to check my gmails and online auctions and I looked for flats to live in. There were two really good ones and I emailed the property managers about them and thought about going downstairs and making myself something to eat. I am going to have a toasted sandwich, I thought. That was at 12.49. At 12.50 there was a rumbling sound far off but also very close, right under my feet. They started jiggling even though I wasn’t moving them and then my desk shook. I’m not sure what I heard, whether it was the sound of the earth moving or the sound of everything falling down around me: my bookcase and all the books, the set of drawers, the stereo, the china cabinet, the 50” plasma screen TV, the computers, the drum kit, the pool table, the pictures off their hangers, the clay pots, the amplifiers, the speakers, the tiles cracking in the hallway, plaster falling from the ceiling, the glass in the pantry, the windows taut and shrieking, the swollen drive, burst pipes flooding and everywhere in the city exactly the same. I ran to the doorway I thought this is it. I’m going to die. People are going to die. Where is my cat? I need you. I’m scared. I’m sorry. The city will be ruined. My parents are in the city. I don’t know what to do. I need to get outside. I don’t want to do this. This will be bad. Things will be different. I’m scared. I hope Mum and Dad are OK. I hope Nana is OK. I hope Ben is OK. I hope Matt is OK. I hope Rosie is OK. I hope work is OK. I am glad I didn’t go to the movies this morning. I still want to see True Grit though.
I text you need to ring me and you called as I wrenched open the front door. Usually the door would move freely but the ground had blown up so much it was like trying to fit into pants you wore ten years earlier. Outside civil defense alarms screamed and car alarms and house alarms and people. I cried and you comforted like always even though you sounded kind of panicked too. Everything is fucked I said. Everything. I need to ring my parents you should ring yours call me back afterwards. Please be okay. I watched my driveway swell as if the concrete was inhaling except this wasn’t breathing. This is the opposite of breathing. This is dying. This is my city dying. But this is me loving you still.