I kept it to myself, I tried to hide it away from everyone, secluding myself from the world and not infringing on anyone’s happiness. This made me going from a happy teenager to a rather silent one, putting up a brave face with ‘friends’ and getting continuously into trouble, skipping classes and generally not caring about things related to my education, as that was the ‘cool’ thing to do. I was at the forefront of trouble, but all that really was was a desperate cry for attention. One that was never answered.

Then I went on summer camp, sailing for a week. I enjoy being on the water, it is peaceful and quiet, unpredictable at times and really refreshing. When we arrived (I went with two friends) we got settled into our separate sleeping quarters and had a quick tour of the facilities. There were many things to explore, but that would have to wait until the evening as we were split into groups. I went with three others into a small boat, a falcon (or at least that is what they are called in Dutch), and I was with one of the guys from my home town. He was trying to hit on this girl which was in our boat and did so by trying to push me down in the pecking order, stating I was fat and whatnot. This only made him look like an idiot though, fortunately for me, as as soon as our eyes crossed paths time stood still, my heart froze and I was lost. As if I had just seen an angel for the very first time. The best part of it all was… she was looking in exactly the same manner at me.

I got red and flustered, she retorted to my friend that he was wrong and continued looking straight into my soul, warming my very core. I must have looked like I won the lottery that day, but this was a much greater feeling. I was in love, in an instant I knew exactly what I wanted and she was the core of those desires. We did not talk much for the first few hours, but we did sail for the greater part of the afternoon. This was up to that point in time the best time of my life and I still remember that first sailing trip with her with great fondness. Her blue eyes and half long blonde hair neatly packed in a ponytail, her soft smile, her cheeks slightly coloured and her total body language just leaning towards anything that had anything remotely to do with me.

We made land and packed away the sail, anchored and secured the boat in the small dock. I helped her get out of the boat which was also the first time we really touched. Her hand felt soft in mine, warmth pulsating from that short interaction made the both of us blush and smile shyly. It was not long before we walked to a secluded place to sit, it was behind the girls sleeping quarters where a small raised flowerbed was. We sat there, next to each other and just talked and I was nervous when I put my arm around her shoulder and pulled her a bit closer. Time should have stopped right there and then. I was at peace, I was happy, happier than I ever thought I would ever be.

Soon we were called for dinner, but over the next few days we just could not really eat or drink anything, we just drowned in each others eyes and simply forgot there was anything but the other around us. I got a lot of questions and remarks from the other boys at camp who were clearly jealous. Some even said ‘I am going to take her away from you, sorry dude.’ But somehow their words never reached me, I was in my little piece of heaven, my angel within arms reach. This lasted for about three days, when she refused me for the very first time, she had no time for me as she was doing something else at the time. Insecurity hit hard and all my dreams felt like they shattered right there and then. Was it because we could not yet kiss, as I simply dared not? Or was it something else, was I really not good enough. I panicked.

My heart raced, my breathing very very fast and very high in my chest. My body began to tingle all over and I felt myself get light-headed. I fainted and when I came to I was in one of the girls bed with three or four of them standing over me, my angel with teary eyes holding my hand, fear written all over her face. My head hurt and I was, as I later found out, soaking in my own tears. I had been crying as I was out my eyes covered under small pools of my tears, streaming down my face. The tingling in my legs was gone, but I still felt light-headed. And I sighed, I knew what this meant. I was unable to feel anything from the waist down, some sort of mental block that prevented me from even the slightest movement in the lower part of my body. The ambulance followed not short after and took me to the hospital, my angel at my side, asking, begging me what to do, if she did anything wrong. My best friend also with me next to the driver, enjoying the speedy ride to the hospital, but also worried a little. He had seen this happen to me before, so he was not as shocked.

My parents were called and they drove all the way over to come pick me up, I was merely in a state of shock, so I could go home and not be under observation, there was nothing life threatening about it. Once my mom and dad arrived they looked at the doctors and then at me and simply said ‘Right, get up and come along with us, it is late enough as it is.’ My parents were a bastion of hope, a safe haven, they would always be there for me and my mental block faded as quickly as it had been placed. Still a bit uneasy I got up, a hopeful smile on her face and me asking to stay. My parents refused profoundly ‘We did not drive all this way just to get you up and walking again and go home as if nothing happened, you are coming with us.’

Reluctantly I dragged myself in the back of the car and mournfully looked back at my angel and best friend still at the hospital. It was late, they were far past curfew, but they went back. Once I got home I was feeling really sad and wanted nothing more than to go back, so when my friends dad was going to pick the other two guys up, I literally pestered him into letting me come along. Not that he would need much convincing as it was more fun to drive with someone next to you than it is to drive alone, something I now know to be very true indeed. We played driving games like city names connect and counting different letters of the alphabet on the number plates of other cars. Counting non Dutch plates and so on. We also talked a lot about the camp, or at least I did. There was one subject I just could not stop talking about and was also the main reason I desperately wanted to get back for. She was waiting for me, we called a few times, I told her things not even my parents knew. She was my confidant, my partner, my future and I knew it.

The car had not yet stopped or I already jumped out of the car as she was waiting for me and leapt into my arms. She hugged me tightly as if to never wanting to let me go again. We went back to the place we had first sat down behind the girls sleeping quarters and she kissed me, deeply, passionately. The first since four years, something I had been trying to avoid, something I was afraid of. It gave me memories, flashbacks just thinking about kissing, but as our lips touched none of my fears came true. All I could feel was warmth, love, safety and joy. We spent a good long time kissing until we were found and were told sternly to stop as this was not proper behaviour on the camp site. The grin we both had on our faces made sure they knew we cared little for it, but went to collect our things regardless. We exchanged addresses and I found out she actually had relatives living in my town. We were soon to meet again.

The next three months were great, I was able to tell my pains, fears and history. I was able to feel safe, to play and explore. She gave me more than she will ever realise. She mended my shattered heart, something I thought to be utterly impossible. Though when we kept exploring, trying more and more things, getting more and more physical I simply could not go any further. Nervous, fearful, loads of expectations and not all of them good. I simply could not and I broke down again. Apparently she had begun to find several questions being unanswered and probably thought I was not being truthful all the time, not being able to push through my insecurities was most likely for her the last straw and she broke up with me while visiting me, exactly three months after we got together. My world fell apart.

This was the first time I actively tried to end my life, in a panic she called my best friend who turned up within minutes and ran up to my room where I was crying, hitting the wall, not knowing what to do with my frustration and as I made my way to the window he burst into the room, pulling me out of the window with all his might. A stern look on his face mingled with a worry and fear for my life. ‘Don’t!’ was all he said. I broke down and slumped on the floor, utterly defeated. By this time my mom had come home and she broke down in a panic as well, called the doctor and was in no way even remotely coherent. Seeing this I got even more desperate. ‘What have I done?’ I thought to myself and locked myself in the bathroom and spent a few minutes trying to dismantle the razor that was there, so I could slit my wrists. But all I managed to do was hurt my fingers a little. The doctor arrived.

The doctor was a very patient and understanding man, listened carefully at what I had to say and talked to my mother for a bit. He then came upstairs again, my mom behind him and he asked me if I wanted to repeat what I told him. I reluctantly agreed and I think a part of her died in that instant, the minute she found out what had happened. My mom was in no state to do anything any more and was reduced to tears and not understanding what she had been told. She was at this point no longer this insurmountable fortress of safety she had been before. I got a little bit more scared. When my dad came home later that day, he simply got really angry, said harshly ‘This is not true!’ and stormed off into his car and drove away. Helplessly I tried to find a place where I could be alone for a while, not wanting to hurt myself at the time, I got onto my bike and rode to our old neighbours. She was there to listen to me, put her arm around me and let me cry until I was merely sobbing gently. Swaying me back and forth gently as if I was a precious little baby in her arms. I calmed down, found some peace. After I calmed down I gathered all my courage and went back home.

The next few days were awkward, I built walls, fabricated a mask, avoided the subject and was less than cooperative in therapy. My armour hardened, my shields were raised. I was to be my own bastion, my own solitude. My story only hurt people, so if and when I decide to not tell anything, I never ever can do so ever again. My silence only hurts if and when it is broken. This backlash of pain across so many people through my actions or lack thereof was something I should avoid happening ever again. My walls thicker, my heart a cold lump of coal. My passion had died, my will to live as well…

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