I walked alone in the dark. My black coat and grey scarf were pulled tight around me in a vain effort to keep my body heat in and the fall chill out. I had no destination, no motive and no determination. My body, the only surviving part of me, just told me to keep walking.
All consolation had come and gone and I was fresh out of hope for finding anyone who could understand me. I needed someone to be able to look into my eyes and see the depths of emotion beyond them, someone to see the pain, struggle, drive and even sometimes joy. See the soul that walked beside me through this life and smile at our unity. Protect the heart I keep out on my sleeve.
In the darkness I see a form crossing the grass but choose not to take in its detail. I didn't want to look into another set of empty eyes. I couldn't force myself to feel the disconnection and discontent with humanity anymore than I needed to.
"Irish Girl?" his voice called out from the darkness.
I stopped dead in my tracks.
That form that I had chosen to ignore knew me. He was wearing a long grey coat—something similar to mine—with a black sweater showing through the V shaped gap had formed due to his laziness in buttoning up.
I had been part of a show that had just closed two days earlier. I had played the Irish Girl…he had played the Husband. We had had a very long dialogue in the last act about what we would do if the end was finally upon us. It was supposed to be a very serious piece, but with my witty personae and his charming mannerisms we had had the audience doubled over in laughter.
"Alex," I nodded to him.
I never referred to him as the 'Husband' but he had seen it fit to call me Irish Girl no matter where we crossed paths. The dining hall, dorm halls, outside rehearsal…no place was safe. I guess it was part of this strange friendship we had formed.
"What are you doing out here?" he asked as he turned to walk towards me.
He was an RA for another dorm but I knew that if I told him what I had witnessed that he would have half a mind to walk up to the offenders room right now and set them straight…whilst the other half urged him to comfort me. It was just the way Alex was, charming, sweet but fiercely independent.
"Walking, just like you," it wasn't as witty as usual, not enough sting in the words, and I knew he noticed.
"You don't like the cold. You don't go walking around at night for no reason," he was right beside me now, matching my strides, even though his were much longer.
"I go walking when I need to think things through," I stated, keeping my eyes set on the asphalt below our feet. No more empty eyes.
Those two words were enough to bring a smile to my face. To anyone those would have been considered a prompt. I knew for a fact from the tone of his voice that he was quoting the play.
"I walked in on my ex…with a new girl in his bed," and just like the characters in the play I fell into the prompt.
But this wasn't a soliloquy in the white light of the stage, this was a dialogue between two living people. This emotion that I felt, this hurt and abandonment that I felt, it was real.
"He break up with you?" the way his question shortened made me stop walking to ensure that he didn't start to back track towards the dorms.
"I told him that I didn't have enough time to give to him, what with the play and all. We just don't have the same aspirations for life. So I told him we needed to be friends," I took a deep breath and then released it in a big cloud of breath steam. "I just didn't think he'd move on in two days…it kind of shocked me."
He shook his head and looked back towards the dorms. Then he unexpectedly turned back and wrapped one of his arms around my shoulder.
"Dating is tough kid, but you know what? You're a beautiful, intelligent and motivated girl…you're too good for anyone here."
This made me smile, despite the tears that had been pricking at the back of my eyes for hours now, "Thanks Alex,"
"Don't let him bring you down, okay?" his smile was beyond genuine, it was inspiringly beautiful.
"I'll do my best to keep my chin up,"
"No, you're my witty and fiery Irish Girl, you can keep your chin up," he said with a slight chuckle.
"Thanks for having faith in me, Alex,"
That one sentence held so much more meaning than he knew. All throughout the play I had struggled to project my breathy voice so that everyone in the audience could hear me. You put an accent alongside that problem and you have something called a daunting obstacle. But everyday Alex would come in and ask me how I was, what he could do to help and if I wanted to do vocal warm ups with him.
The result had been positive. My director stopped complaining and the crowd heard my lines clear as day.
"Like I said, you're beautiful and fierce. You'll go far in this life," he pulled me into a hug.
I couldn't help but hug him back. There was something comforting to be found in a boy who walks alone at night and smells like cigarettes and fine cologne. I held him until I thought it was time to let go.
"I guess I'm going to be heading to Core Building now," I stated as I smiled up at him.
"You live in Leacher though," he stated pointing a thumb over his shoulder.
"I'm currently living with some friends in Core because my roommate is driving me nuts," I murmured with a roll of my eyes.
He laughed and I knew that with that roll of the eyes I had given him back the Irish Girl he knew and admired, "You just can't catch a break, can you?"
"Nope," I shrugged my shoulders, "but so is life."
"Well if you ever need to talk to someone about life my door is always open," he said this with a hint of sincerity.
"I'll keep that in mind, Alex," I answered with an odd sort of calmness that washed over me.
"Talk to you later, Irish Girl," he said as he turned on his heel and began to walk the other way.
I continued walking as well, the smell of his cologne and cigarettes still fresh on my coat. I walked past Philips Auditorium where the play should have been held and then Bailey Choir Hall where it actually was held. The choir hall was more intimate, forced us actors to become closer to one another. I supposed that Alex and I were proof that our director's seemingly ridiculous plan had worked after all. I knew now that I wasn't alone on this campus that I had at least one person who would try to understand my agony.
Half way up the stairs to Core Building 4th floor I realized where Alex had been walking towards Leacher Dorm when I had left him.
"Damn," I ripped out my phone and began to dial his number when someone coughed behind me.
I turned to see Alex standing on the landing just below me, "I took care of your little problem…he won't be pursuing your love and affection anytime soon."
I threw my forehead against my palm, "Alex," I groaned as I tried to think of how I was going to explain my way out of this one.
"Save it for someone who deserves it," he said with a quick smile and a wink. "Good night, Irish Girl,"
With that being said he made his way into the second floor of Core and out of my sight.
I was left standing there with a slight grin on my face. Alex was right, there was no one here who was worth my time, but I couldn't think of anyone who was a better waste of time than him. I closed my phone and continued the trek up the stairs, ready to face the rising sun of day. Ready to vanquish the impurity in humanity. Ready to live the life I had worked so hard to create.