There was one day where I found out I had missed out on a graduate job and that my ex-boyfriend was seeing someone new. I didn’t cry at all. Apparently, because I am a kind of terrifying cyborg whose mask is fixed in a permanent half grin that conveys more sadness than tears ever could. I think I replied “Thanks so much, I understand” and “Okay, thanks for letting me know” though I don’t remember which I sent to whom.
My comfort food of choice was a large bowl of coconut popcorn. It was okay, though I think something about the combination is just fundamentally wrong, like peanut butter and jam sandwiches or the vegetarian haggis I came across at a Scottish supermarket. I found myself violently retching over my toilet bowl at 4.15, but whether it was the popcorn or the oppressive realisation of my personal failure it is hard to say.
To make matters worse, a couple proceeded, rather insensitively, to have screaming sex right next door. Of course I respect people’s right to copulate, but perhaps they might consider that there is a sad girl sitting in the next room on this fine Friday evening and she is not having sex and maybe if not refraining they could have at least kept it down a bit. But that is simply not the kind of thought that crosses a lust-filled mind.
So there I was lying in bed. Fuck this.
In my pyjamas, I grabbed a coat and headed out for a walk.
It was chilly out and people were pouring out bars into the streets.
I walked down one where a man leaned against a wall. “Sorry, darling” he said. I realised he must have seen the sadness written on my face. Though he probably didn’t mean it like that, it touched me that he would bother to apologise for the occasional shittiness of the world and life.
Then I noticed the stream of water snaking its way towards my shoes. My face collapsed in horror and he just giggled. He was pissing in the street. I stared him right in the eyes. He remained unashamed, and that made me angry. Here I was, living my life, being a respectable citizen and using toilets and feeling like a moral failure. This guy gets to pee wherever he wants without an iota of guilt. Rage and jealousy swirled in my chest.
“What the fuck?!” I yelled.
A couple across the road looked up, embarrassed. Whether by my outburst, or by the peeing, it is hard to say. Maybe just by the whole awful situation.
“You can’t just piss here! People need to walk! What the fuck?”
He gave me one last grinning look, zipped up, turned and walked off. I was left in the street, next to a puddle of urine. I knew I was in the wrong, but I didn’t know how.
The couple kept walking. Rain actually started falling. I envied a man with nothing for his freedom.
That’s when I got it. Failure breeds freedom. For the very first time, I felt it.
And I cried.