I’m sorry for my huge absence over the last week; I’ve had a friend over since Tuesday. She left today and once I got home from dropping her off at the station, I just knew I had to write a post talking about everything that happened. This week has helped me so much, in far more ways than just one.
The friend that came to stay was someone I call Rapunzel – you can read about her on this page. She and I have known each other for almost 3 years now and as soon as we started talking, I could tell that we immediately “clicked” – to use a cliché phrase. We’ve gone through so much shit but the fact that we’re still such great friends after it shows that we care about each other. We’d been planning this for ages; she made her second independent trip down to London – 3 hours away by train – from Tuesday until Saturday. I couldn’t be more proud of her.
Tuesday – Arriving at my Non-Impressive House
Because my parents were at work or abroad respectively, my sister got on the train with me just before lunch to travel to a large station in London where Rapunzel would be arriving. Travelling with my sister is always interesting: she and I have a tendency to get both stressed and paranoid; however, nothing went wrong! I was so excited to see her, as we hadn’t met up since February, that I don’t think I had room to get very stressed. Finding the platform that she was on was the only mildly worrying part but because of the fabulous inventions called phones (they’re very, very rare, I know), we got to where she was. Honestly, I haven’t shrieked or hugged someone so hard in a very long time… I probably got weird looks.
Have you ever tried leading 2 almost completely blind girls, both with canes, together with a large suitcase which was in danger of being forgotten through London? My sister hadn’t and the helpful tips provided by me, from the last time that about 4 of us had walked through a busy place, might not have been as helpful as I wanted. Anyhow, we managed – after about 15 minutes of looking – to find a Pizza Express and after having had lunch, we went to my house to get Rapunzel settled in. By this time, it was about 5:30 and, typically, I was exhausted.
The rest of the day was rather uneventful. We went for a walk with my dad in the park: it’s one of my favourite things to do because it’s so peaceful: nature seems to calm my thoughts and I know that we both enjoyed that. When we got back, Rapunzel and I chatted for literal HOURS, yellow and shouting and generally acting as if we’d seen each other the day before, not almost 6 months before. I had to transfer some of my stuff upstairs because we were sleeping in my sister’s terrifying room in what used to be the loft. Okay, it’s not terrifying but I’m a complete moron.
Wednesday – Nostalgia and a Beautiful Conversation
On our first full day, I decided to prove my narcissistic tendencies to Rapunzel by showing her some of the stuff in my room. Granted, she’s been wanting to see all the stuff I’d mention to her in passing – like the bear that’s as big as me when I was a baby, my old coin collection and some random braille books I had lying around. Instead of treating me like the sad , strange person I probably am, she actually seemed to be interested in looking at what I was showing her. I don’t know why, either. That day was very nostalgic for me; there were a lot of memories from my childhood it was really nice to have someone who had seen so much of my recent personality to get a glimpse of the room I grew up in, to see a little of what I was like as a kid.
She and I have both experienced a lot, both when we knew each other and when we didn’t. There have been some times where miscommunication has caused us to do a lot of stupidly shitty things, or times where we haven’t been honest with each other. On Wednesday, she opened up to me about a very personal situation that had happened to her; we also had a hugely deep conversation about our emotions. I’ve never been very good at expressing my feelings to other people in real life; it was so lovely to be able to do that. It was also amazing to have her speaking to me as she did: it let me understand her and how she acted. Tears were involved from both sides but with her, I don’t feel a pressure to explain why; she and I now almost have a brutal honesty with each other for which I’m so grateful.
After that conversation, we decided to relax again: the next day, we knew, was going to be busy so we thought we might as well get an early night. Usually, I don’t get much sleep but that night, I slept like a log. It was kind of ridiculous but I had a lot to think on, above all the refreshing conversation I’d had with her.
As soon as we got up, I decided to be mildly productive: whilst Rapunzel was sobbing in happiness over an email she received and also while she was going through her poems, I sent off the application for the Residential College for visually impaired people I want to attend for a year after A-Levels; I also went and recorded something for a potential Voiceover job. Yes, I probably sounded ridiculous reading one half of a script but I think it’s good experience (I cringed when I listened to myself though). At 2 o’clock, a Mobility Officer from Guide Dogs – who’s working with me in the summer so I can become more independent – came over and honestly, Rapunzel was the best person who could have been there beside me.
I’ve never been the most independent; if I ever wanted to get a Guide Dog, I’d have to know three routes. Now, the rather insignificantly large major huge problem with that is that I don’t. I don’t know my local area either; I decided enough was enough and I was going to actually do something instead of just being a lazy human. The lady who came to talk to me, to organise mobility, was amazing: right away, the three of us went completely off topic and ended up talking about school, technology (or my lack of proficiency) and laughing: the atmosphere was so friendly. Once the boring forms were out of the way, we actually got on to doing, well, mobility.
Well, I can safely say I know the incredibly short route to my closest bus stop now. Impressive, right? But seriously, I was actually proud of myself: as everyone says all the time, I don’t give myself enough credit ever and lock myself into a cave of “HELLO I AM SHIT AND A FAILURE DO NOT BE DISAPPOINTED!” When I was prover wrong, for once, I felt hyper: Rapunzel and the mobility officer walked behind me, talking; I felt confident and like I was in control. After that, we sorted out plans: I’ll have four lessons this summer, the next being next Wednesday: having a concrete plan of what we’re going to cover made the panic less oppressive. I could have cried. I almost did, after she’d gone; I squealed and hugged Rapunzel until it hurt. She knows how much it means to me and so I didn’t hide any of my blatant, screaming, happy hysteria.
Maybe, after such a long day, it was a bad idea to talk to a good friend of ours for 5 hours. We did it anyway, wearing face masks and going from talking about serious topics of mental health to trying to muffle the laughter that couldn’t help but escape. S – the friend – is fantastic and we all spoke equally; it didn’t feel like I was left ′. It’s one of the best conversations I’ve ever had, simply because even when one of us was upset for whatever reason, the other two supported them and made things feel less awful. It was open, honest and painful but also hilarious. Saying that, going to bed at 3 A.M made me feel ill the next day.
Friday – A Picnic and Afternoon with Friends
Last Saturday, at volunteering, Rose – a friend I’ve known since I was a baby – suggested that us three plus her sister Poppy should go for a picnic in the park. As I’m a child at heart and love picnics more than anything in the world (is it possible to be picnic-deprived because I hadn’t had one in years), I agreed almost before she finished the sentence. There may have been some clapping and shrieking involved. At midday, we all went to the park with an assortment of food. Whilst sitting on the grass, I took about 80 years to eat a bagel; a deer nearly ate our food (why wasn’t I scared?) and I felt so amazing. I’d wanted those three to meet for ages; Rose and Poppy are like my sisters and know every single little annoying thing about me. They make sure to embarrass me horrendously, every single time they meet one of my other friends. I 1000% hate them.
In the afternoon, we went to Rose and Poppy’s house. I know it almost as well as I know mine: the amount of time I spent there as a child meant that I had to know it. We jumped on the trampoline – or rather Rapunzel and Rose jumped whilst I didn’t because I’m about as unfit as you can get. I re-connected with my inner child again by lying in a hammock and grinning far too widely; Rose and I were also sobbing with laughter over Poppy’s story which she wrote when she was 7. Nobody else would understand why it was so funny but because Poppy wrote it, Still was howling. We sang a particular song non-stop which I don’t want to name because it’ll get stuck in my head.
Whenever I see really close friends, I spend the whole day with them: such was the case with all four of us. Poppy and Rose came to my house for dinner: it involved us singing so loudly that I nearly kicked Poppy. They also embarrassed me further by showing Rapunzel the cringiest, most awful video of me ever. Luckily, I stopped screaming and running away long enough to realise that they’d stopped the video. When we were done with dinner – a mix of vegetarian Thai cooking and chicken – we watched more hilarious videos before the two girls left and we went off the bed. Yet again, I didn’t sleep for very long. I’m really stupid because the next day, we got up at 7 in the morning.
Saturday – Feeling Alive but Saying Goodbye
One of the main things that makes me feel the most connected to myself and the most real is to go volunteering at Parkrun with Poppy and Rose. Wonderfully, Rapunzel got to join in. Unlike with many people, I don’t feel mortified when I shout stuff around them which ends up sounding too sarcastic; all four of us were standing together, clapping and in my case, screaming in encouragement. Poppy calculated the percentage of the run that had been done so far, I yelled aggressively and embarrassed myself by o responding to someone who recognised me and, to top it all off, I felt happy because I was with my friends. It energised me, even though my body felt tired; volunteering always seems to do that to me.
I hate things ending. As we got home, I could feel the impending sense of sadness already creeping up on me; it was so much worse when Rapunzel took her bag down and we drove to our local train station. It took us an hour or so to get into the centre of London and all throughout, Rapunzel and I spoke, laughed and shared moments of slight sadness. We hardly ever get to see each other so which. we do, it always means a lot. When we hugged goodbye for the last time, I could feel my throat closing up. I’ve got so many memories from the last 5 days – both happy and sentimental – but still, saying goodbye is the absolute worst especially when she lives so far away.
My Thoughts Afterwards
I’m home now and I’m feeling really weird. The house feels kind of empty: I’d got used to having her here and so too, I think, had my dad and stepmother. She’s such a beautiful person and she helped me so so much: there’s hardly anyone I can be so honest with, who won’t judge me for anything. She’s remained a good friend for so long; her coming to stay was a really good thing for both of us: her so that she can experience new things and me because she made me feel like I was a good person. She let me laugh and never treated me like some fragile person: our discussions on mental health are some of the most constructive I’ve had in months. Without even trying, she’s been someone who’s let me be myself.
Sometimes, friends really are what let you feel like you’re really human and that as can be happy. I wouldn’t change that for the world.
I’ve had such a good week, filled with happy memories. Now, I feel quite listless but this just proves to me that things aren’t hopeless. I have her to thank for that.
If you’re reading this, thank you. Shank you for being such a great and kind person. That goes for both Rapunzel and any other friends I have, no matter how close you are.
From Elm 🙂