Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Even If You Cannot Hear My Voice

Even If You Cannot Hear My Voice

I was sat on the top deck of the bus, Snow Patrol playing in my ear, when I glanced out to the street below. A woman carrying too many bags. Two men smoking and having an unknown conversation. A girl rushing for a bus that we both know she had little chance of catching.

Then I did a double take.

In the street, waiting at one of the many bus stops, was someone I used to know very well. On our first day at High School she'd managed to spill tipex all over her white shirt - we'd laughed about it and, as it is when you're 11, that was enough to cement our friendship. For the next seven years she was one of the constants in my life, through bad clothes, first crushes and fumbles, boy bands and, erm, PJ and Duncan AKA. Aged 16 in Dublin we ended up getting no sleep in a room next to a group of rugby players, aged 18 in New York we went to the top of the Empire State Building in the twilight and I could hardly breathe because it was so beautiful. It's funny how at the time the fact that our futures would - inevitably - be so different didn't seem to register.

But then came University. I was in Oxford for most of the year but - more than that - the changing horizons that it brought with it started to matter. How can you reconcile two such different worlds? I don't think you can, but possibly more importantly, I didn't want to. All those important, life changing, perception altering events I shared with other people. So days became weeks, weeks became months and months became years. Until I got to the point where I stand now, unable to grasp everything I was then, unsure if the person I am now is even on the same page.

For a fleeting moment I thought about getting off the bus. Of running up and embracing her and my 11 year old self, just to see how she was, where her life stood.

But I stayed sitting.

I was on my way to work.

And, anyway, where would I have started?


alex said...

Wow. I'm about to start at Oxford and I can completely relate to this post.

Corinne said...

Alex, I felt a pang of envy when I read that you're just about to start Oxford - it's such an incredible place and you'll have such an amazing time. I know it contributed hugely to the person I am now.

Just watch out for the kebab vans ;-)

Nik said...

Did someone mention kebab vans? Even I miss the kebab vans and I didn't even go to Oxford! ;)

Alex said...

Haha ^_^ I encountered Ahmed's on the first night of interviews when the promised meal failed to materialise. Chicken burger. Quite possibly won me the place.

Now I'm just very very scared.