I love people who challenge me, who question what I’m thinking and push me to think differently. I love being quick witted, and kept on my toes – I get such a rush from actually realising that I can handle and respond well to a number of different situations (even if that includes random debates on the universe…)
When I started my undergraduate degree back in 2011 the anticipation of meeting my flatmates was pretty strange. I was the first to move in so I had a few hours to get my bearings, then the first of five others moved in. The main thing I remember is being asked if we were supplied with coat hangers and bed covers (we weren’t and I had to break the bad news ha). I was incredibly lucky with my flatmates, they were all really really lovely, and each had such a strong personality and character – it was ace. Starting university is such a strange stage of your life because you’re immediately thrown into the deep end, but everyone is in similar positions so you create a bond that’s sorta brotherly-sisterly (if you’re lucky like I was).
During the Christmas break of my first year (3 months after starting uni) I received a phone call that I thought and prayed wasn’t real. It was devastating and it felt so far from reality that I still have no idea how I handled it. One of my flatmates had passed away three days after Christmas, and my other flatmate (who was back at uni) had phoned me to tell me of the news. I honestly thought it was a really really bad joke, but then everything hit me – nobody would make a joke like that. I cannot explain how heartbreaking it is to lose someone who you’ve just met, but you trusted, loved and cared for so quickly. Although T was so different to me he was the first person (guy) in a long time that I’d allowed myself to actually have a friendship with where I could honestly be myself and feel comfortable.
The last contact I had was before I left for Christmas, we had a good proper hug and said goodbye – which to this day I am so so thankful that I somehow managed to get over my complete hate for physical contact (I sound like a scrooge, but really I am such an awkward human). Even more importantly I’d actually interviewed T for a radio documentary a few weeks before, and I had at least 30 minutes worth of audio where we were chatting about stuff, and joking around (talking about Oscar Wilde and strangely Ricky Gervais?) And I am so thankful that I still have that audio.
When I found out that he’d passed away it was the start of a long, deep spiral of self-blame, hate and lack of hope. Honestly I felt that everything in my life was doomed, and I felt that anyone I’d speak to or get close to would get hurt. At the same time I didn’t know how to grieve, I had another few weeks until I had to go back to uni and I felt so incredibly lost. It’s incredible how much of an impact T had on my life, I thought very highly of him (even though he was one of the cheekiest/sassiest humans ever).
It was T’s birthday recently, and naturally I’ve been thinking of him. I loved the cheeky bugger like a brother, he constantly had me laughing and then arguing over some huge meaningful debate about life. Loss is a part of life, but I don’t want to forget certain things. I worry that I’m forgetting things, I know it’s not possible to hold onto everything, but I don’t want the past to be a distant memory. This is one thing I don’t want to let go of.