I sat on a huge rock right by the water’s edge, sand on my feet, the sun setting over a very calm sea, a disposable barbecue alight on the sand beside my rock. The two lovebirds sat on a towel together and cuddled up while my fellow third wheel and I sat on rocks talking about boats and I don’t even know what else. We skipped stones and we tried to climb on the rocks even when they went way past the edge of the shore (while the lovebirds were all cute with each other) and we had a can or two of alcohol each (well, the two boys and I did). There were rolled up skinny jeans and warm baggy hoodies and and laughter in the air. We took goofy photos of each other and pulled stupid faces and our laughter rang out over an otherwise empty beach. The sun sank lower and lower and across the eerily flat horizon ships lights started to blink and we laughed and screamed and shouted as we tried to count them and struggled to see what was where. We toasted marshmallows as big as the palm of my hand. When it got dark we turned the disposable barbecue into a bonfire and I was a little too tipsy (and unwell) not to sway as I stood and we laughed and laughed. And it felt like all we did was laugh, until my stomach hurt and even then I didn’t want to stop – I didn’t care. We howled with laughter. We played music. We sang along. We remembered, we made each other laugh (which I am surprisingly good at making people do whenever opportunity allows) My fellow third wheel and I copied the lovebirds’ little Titanic pose on the rocks.
Sixth form friend’s girlfriend and I made our way back along the beach and it was about twenty metres to the sand covered steps back up to the caravan park. The tide had come right in and we roared with laughter as rogue waves completely flooded our route and we shouted that the sea had tried to eat us. We were laughing too hard to explain why we were laughing when the boys caught up with us (laughing too much to talk at all actually) and we didn’t even know what was so amusing but we had laughed so much all evening we didn’t want it to stop, we were free. Walking up the steps gave me chest pain, and shoulder pain, and a very sore jaw, and a weirdly hot/ numb feeling arm. Continuing up the slope (although extremely slowly) made me dizzy and breathless and everything started to drift out of focus entirely but I didn’t care. There was a suggestion that I should be carried, that we should stop if not, that one of the boys should attempt to find a wheelchair. Of course neither of these things happened, because Inam a stubborn little Icarus who flies too close to the (surprisingly very present here in England today) sun.
We walked back to our static caravan barefoot and we showered off our feet and opened bags of popcorn and watched Family Guy. The lovebirds went to bed and my fellow third wheel and I stayed up until past 1am just talking about being broken and people’s reactions and how health affects life, but then Biomed and how amazing the human body is. We found a weird bug thing and it made such a noise when it fell into a cushion that we decided it had to be removed.
No worries. Not about a single thing. I was free. This is more than I ever dreamed my first holiday with friends would be. I have finally hit a normal young person milestone. It’s amazing. I am so, so lucky to have these guys in my life. I’ve only known sixth form friend’s girlfriend for two weeks (or just over) and we feel like we’ve been good friends for years! I’m so happy. Honestly, I am so, so happy.
After the disaster of earlier, we took a very slow walk to go and play family bingo (which my fellow third wheel and I think we are going to skip tomorrow, because it was full of tiny kids and the prizes were… For tiny kids). There were arcades on the way and the lovebirds love the ticket machines, so my fellow third wheel and I wandered off and found an air hockey table. Playing that game of air hockey was so exhausting. I could barely walk beforehand and my eyes were trying to shut and breathing was already difficult before we started – by the end I was wheezing and (my breaths were) crackling and I was coughing up watery stuff and breathing in what felt like soup, but it didn’t matter. It was so fun. I had so much fun. Then the beach. Heaven. And I forgot how unwell I had been a couple of hours earlier, how close things had come. I didn’t care about how unwell I felt right there. Absolutely nothing mattered other than what I’ve described above.
This all feels like something from a film. And it is a post I never thought I would write. I didn’t think I’d ever get the chance or find the friends.
My lower legs are swollen and there’s a cut on my foot and my clothes smell of smoke and there’s sand under my nails. And it’s fantastic. Because it means I lived. I am so, so happy. Happy doesn’t do this feeling justice. I feel like a normal 20 year old.
And why did I share this? Because read through the other posts. Read the posts where I am defeated and hopeless and scared and hurting and I don’t want to carry on with my existence any more. Read the posts where I want the grim reaper to call my card but don’t have the guts to seek his presence myself. Read the posts where I am lower than low – the ones written after I nearly died or when I know I’m going to again, or when I realise how uncertain and potentially awful and bleak the future is. Read the post even a week and a bit ago where I was crushed by the words of a nurse and completely broke down for days. And then re-read this. Because I’ve no idea how I ended up here, no idea how I found this smile (the future is just as uncertain and potentially bleak, in fact I’m probably about I get very seriously unwell), but I don’t need to know how I just need to know that I did. There never was any way but through. There never will be. But I now know this, because I have been given a taste of it:
There will be another side. There will be moments where the world that ground you to fractured pieces of what once made up a human, will put you back together and lift you into the sky. You will find your feet. And realistically speaking, it will probably all fall away again at some point, only for the cycle to begin all over again. But just for those brief moments of amazingness, nothing will matter. They make all the pain and the hurt and the hopelessness worth it before we fall apart again. It’s ok to enjoy them.
I never in my life imagined I could have anything as amazing as today has been. Especially given my current proximity to the grim reaper (I can feel his breath on my neck)… But I now believe there will be another side, that there is, indeed…
My body is seriously outraged and malfunctioning (so I have to go and try to save it a little bit again) and it is half past two in the morning, so I will stop this now. I can hear the wind rolling in from the water and roaring around outside. I cannot believe this is my life right now. It is more than I ever hoped it would be.
I am no longer hoping this lasts, because hope isn’t a powerful enough word to describe how desperate I am to enjoy this entire holiday. I might be able to fend this off for a week? If I can’t, I’m not sure how I will cope.
But I do know, as always, that there will be no way but through.