← Issue 9
by Lynn Nyaera
She is everything you’ve ever wanted to be. Every accomplishment you’ve made, she’s done better. Every failure you’ve made, she hasn’t.
You meet in her in high school. She’s smart and lively and active. Those first days were awkward, painful for you—a girl who didn’t know how to make friends, didn’t know what she was doing at any point. When you finally got a grip and adjusted well enough to exist, she was thriving. That first exam, you got your grade and didn’t know what to do. She got her grade, a perfect A. She didn’t maintain it but she remained among the top 5 percent in the class. You, on the other hand, did maintain your grade. Failure is a new look on you. You do not wear it well. You don’t know how to handle it, so you don’t.
Then the year is gone, two. Now you are in your third form. You have friends you share interests with. You have a spot at the table with people who, at the very least, like you. It’s great and lovely and you want to stay here forever. Another year, your final exams, you remember her. Remember to check up on her. She is in the first class. You are in the fourth class. You are sad. Happy for her but sad for you. She is still amazing. You don’t really hang out with her friends but you know them well enough. You aren’t in that crew. You are happy with the people you know. The friends you have made are great.
Then it’s over. Four years. Your friends, you won’t speak to most of them again. You won’t see most of them anywhere except your phone screen, but that’s okay. You love them and they’ll always have a place in your heart. This school was yours and theirs and the life you’ve had was sweet.
Results day is horrible. Everyone you know is nervous for you. You feel like you can’t take a full breath. You don’t want to talk to anyone or do anything. It turns out fine in the end. A Hail Mary pass. You didn’t expect it. You are thankful though. You can see your parents are relieved. That is what is important. You breeze through the days. You are lonely. It has been a while since you have been. You forgot how lonely a person can be.
Campus comes. You are excited. It’s a new place, a new chance. Those first few days you love it so much, it’s intoxicating.
But then, it’s not great. It is, in fact, pretty horrible. You realize your ability to make friends was in fact your friends’ ability to make friends. You barely talk to anyone. You desperately want to, but it doesn’t happen. You know people’s faces. You wave at them in the streets. They sometimes wave back.
You see her again. You don’t speak to her, but for the first time, you smile and wave at her. She waves back, but you can see she doesn’t recognize you. She is grown. She is beautiful. She has friends. It is easy for her to make them. She is friendly, funny, and helpful. She talks to people. She laughs with people. She engages. She is always in class. She is open in a way you don’t think you could ever be. She plays scrabble on Wednesdays, chess on Thursdays. She knows where everything is by the end of the first semester. She lives. You exist.
This isn’t like high school. You are taking the same courses and you see her everywhere now. She is everywhere you are. She is everywhere you are not. You remain in your room. It is unhealthy. You know this. It is sad. Your roommate wants to hang out with you. You don’t know how. She stops inviting you after a while. Your other roommate wants to take you to church. You go once. You realize you are no longer sure you believe. It is easier to avoid it all together so you don’t go again.
She is beautiful. You are beautiful too. You think you could look prettier if you tried but you avoid people now. You don’t try. You are engaged in the important activity of reading away your life. You whisper to yourself that you are a writer. You whisper to yourself that you are not.
You think you could be in love if you wanted to be. You barely look people in the eye. She is always smiling at this one person. She is happy.
You are lonely. You want friends. You are in your third year and you should have friends. You wake up one day and realize it’s too late. You look at your results for the first time. You have been absent, removed from reality and life, and it shows. You are awake now. It may be too late. You think you have a chance. You try. You try so hard. You realize it may never work.
At some point you’ll have to tell your parents. You think about her, about her life. She is perfect. Your parents would be proud if you were her or someone like her. They’d love her. But they love you. They’ve told you so and you know. They will be disappointed in you, but they will be kind and will still love you.
You think about your future. It is not too far away now. Not an abstract idea you don’t have to think about. You don’t watch her anymore. The future isn’t far. What are you supposed to do? What did you do? What will you do? You don’t see her anywhere anymore.
You walk by yourself along the streets. You don’t like being by yourself. You are lonely. Everything is in hell. It’s just you. It’s just your life you think about now. You don’t see her, don’t hear her laugh. It is fine. You look around, try to find someone else looking at her, looking at someone like her. Someone looking at everything they want to e, everything they’d like to e. You can’t see but you think there has to be. Please let there be.
Lynn Nyaera is a writer. She enjoys reading and research and one day wishes to write a novel based on African history and culture. She is currently pursuing a bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology at Kenyatta University, Kenya.