This Beautiful Mess


Maybe today was the day that set everything in place.

Today was a nice day. I was a little tired, but not more than usual. It was odd, because I slept less than usual but I didn’t feel so exhausted. Odd. Looking back, maybe it was a sign.

Today was one of those days that I feel that I’m a little out of it. Just a little. You know, today is one of those kinds of days where I would just look outside and think. On the way to school, I looked at the passing scenery, shrubs and bushes that I’ve seen for a long, long time. I wondered a little, if I was going to miss them when I go off to college. It was such an inconsequential question.

I walked into school thinking that I needed to do well on the test. That was it. The only thing on my mind. I flipped my study book open and read. I saw you in the corner of my eye and smiled, a little. I don’t know what kind of smile it was. An I-know-you smile? A hi-how-are-you-smile. I don’t know.

Later, I would see you. It was odd, me being the quiet, silent one, while you laughed at other people’s jokes. I felt so alone, like I didn’t know anyone. I felt like that girl in the corner.  But… I knew everyone at the table, and I was friends with some of them. Why did I feel that way? So lost and confused, like I was watching everything and everyone from a glass wall.

I once hypothesized that we all have slightly different personalities depending on the people we are interacting with. It’s a “Captain Obvious” statement now, but to the nine year old me, it had seemed like such a profound thought. I won’t lie to you, but I will admit that I am slightly different when I’m around people at work than I’m at school. It’s not just politeness and sincerity, but I am a little more open at work. Just a little.

I sat there, doing my work, while you talked and laughed. It was such a role reversal, because I’m usually the one talking and you were the one who was quiet. Maybe it was because of the people that we were around.

I don’t think I’ve felt so alone in a long time. When class ended, we both left. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw you interacting and joking around with drastically different people. It seemed like you were friends with all of them.

I felt a little alone again, like the kind of loneliness that you feel when you discover something. No, loneliness is not the first emotion you would think of when you think of discovery, but that’s how I felt. Lonely. I had stupidly thought that I knew you pretty well, but I suppose not.

It made me reorganize my perception, about myself and about you. Deep down inside, no matter how hard I try, will always be that shy, quiet girl. It made me a little sad, because I thought she was gone, but no, she was still there.

I thought of that, and how everything was in a mess. No, it wasn’t in a mess really. Everything was chaotic and jumbled up but there was a odd sense of beauty in it. Like the first line in the college brochure I just received today, “This beautiful mess…” 

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Maira Gall