Chapter 2: Hope for Disappointment

I just want to hide my tears in my pillow and turn to face the wall;
With the door locked, and the curtains drawn,
I want to curl up under these familiar covers
Where the smell of me and only me exists
And I can shut out the rest of the world,
Where you and your hurtful words have never been;
Held back by the gates of a long distance relationship;
Where, as long as I'm awake,
I can avoid you.

It was mid-February and my inbox was slowly being filled with junk emails about Valentine`s Day gifts available online. I had not been in a relationship for two years and the loved-themed decorations all over campus made me feel like I would be Forever Alone.

I had purposely been avoiding my usual campus hangouts because my sixth sense told me that they would be streaming with couples. I glanced at the Tim Hortons sign above the bookstore with a frown and continued my way to the library.

Once in the elevator of the library, I felt relieved to be surrounded by the dull and tired faces of fellow students. I waited until everyone else got off the elevator and continued up to the sixth floor. Here, there were nothing but rows of single desks separated into cubicles. I grabbed an empty desk near the far end of the row.

I pulled my laptop out of my bag and opened a new Word document. I sighed as I collected the thoughts I had had when I made my walk over. The Walker Brothers' "The Sun Aint Gonna Shine Anymore" was the only thing that came to mind.

I started the first sentence and hoped the rest came naturally as I wrote:

"I wish I could see that summer through your eyes,"

I thought back to the summer before my last relationship ended. It had passed without a problem and I had expected our relationship to continue floating along the calm course it had been taking. In September, during the first chilly days of Autumn, Michael stopped responding to my phone calls.

"Because I cannot understand how warm sand and sunshine,
Long walks and laughter, could persuade you to leave,"

I paused to allow my current feelings about him to catch up with me. Upon reassessment, I continued the poem without letting those thoughts slow me down. The feelings were well hearsed in my head but I had distanced them enough from myself to be able to recall them without allowing myself to sink in too deep.

"Here, I felt a security in knowing that things were heading on a calm course,
But were you silently suffocating in my presence?"

I swallowed air and blinked moisture from my eyes.

"If only those greying fishermen had warned me of shifting waters,
If only winged travellers had told me of rapids downstream,"

My family and friends had approved of Michael while I was with him. It was only once he was out of my life that they recounted the warning signs that they had noticed in him.

"I would have known of your stubbornness and hostility,"

I paused there, not able to continue. I had let regret catch up with me and I was now stuck in the process of wrapping up the poem, along with my poorly avoided anxiety. My throat had started to feel uncomfortably dry and I decided a walk to the water fountains by the elevator would prove useful.

I glanced at the desks around me to make sure there were people around that would notice if anyone took my belongings and feeling confident that they would be safe, I headed to the water fountains. As I made my way down the row of desks I recognized many faces from my chemistry lectures. There was a lab report due tomorrow and I reminded myself to work on it as soon as I finished my poem.

I recognized Will's dark spiky hair and the silver framed reading glasses tucked into it as I approached another section of the desks.

"Hey loser," I whispered fondly, sneaking up behind him, "Doesn't look like your working on your lab."

With a slight jump, Will turned his head and greeted me with surprise, "Sarah!"

He minimized the window that closely ressembled before continuing, "Haha, that's not true. I am being productive."

"Words of the Day on is not productive when you should be working on chemistry," I replied, rolling my eyes.

"Stop lecturing me, woman, I'm actually looking up some descriptive words to use for my lab," He said, grinning at me. Sometimes I wondered how someone could be nice, smart and funny at the same time. I hoped that he could retain his social composure for long enough to eventually find a girl friend. I heard impatient fingers tapping on the desk beside his and realized I was distracting other students.

"I'm off to the fountains then. Back to work, William!" I said with my best impression of a snotty old British woman.

"Yes madam. Would you like me to time your visit to the loon? Rumour goes, you have got number two's down to a lightning speed," he announced in return.

I gave him a good smack on the head before continuing to the fountain, with a better understanding of why he could not hold a girl friend.

As the fountains came into sight, Will's friend Regan walked out of the elevator with a bottle of root beer in his hand. I laughed to myself at what a good match Regan and root beer were: Regan had light brown curly hair, he was usually bitter about something or other, yet he was always popular among girls.

"Regan," I said with a very dramatic nod, hoping to lose some of the unfamiliar tension we had between us.

His eyes rose to my face but otherwise he did not appreciate my attempt. With the slightest lazy raise of his eyebrows, he replied "Hey."

By the time I returned to my desk, I felt that no creative fibre was left in my body. A window showing a recent news report seemed to have opened itself.

The headline of the article stated "Unsettled Seas Send Pros Running Back to Kiddy Pools." In the photograph, a very athletic looking swimmer held on to an orange buoy to keep afloat as a rescue boat reached out to him. I could only think about how cold and deep the water must have felt once you had swallowed enough accidentally. The article continued about the suddenness of the storm and how confident the swimmer recounted he had been when he left shore. It left me feeling strangely nostalgic about my relationship with Michael. It was exactly like being brought lovingly into the middle of the sea and then being left stranded and alone.

I hesitantly opened the word document again and continued the last lines of the poem.

"I held on with my life to a different type of buoy
To keep myself afloat in unsettled seas."

I breathed a sigh of relief and sat back in my chair. Finishing poems always brought around the feeling that I could finally release a package of emotions I had been burdened with for so long.

I reread the poem with a smile and quickly uploaded it onto Publish My Fiction. I pulled my chemistry lab book out of my backpack and probably for the first time, I was genuinely pleased with myself as I started a lab report.