“Life is fleeting so we should grab hold of every opportunity and hang on for dear life, for they may never knock on our door again.”
The sign swung on the door like an omen. It repeated itself throughout her day, beating the tiny corners of her mind like a drum to the fast pace of her heart.
“Nothing worth having was ever easy.”
He’d heard it so many times, but was it really true? The phrase seemed to be everywhere, floating across the clouds as a constant reminder. But how did you ever know what you truly wanted?
“I love you.”
Those three words reverberated against her lips, desperate to escape on the cool summer breeze floating through her bedroom window. Her fingers itched to type them, to scratch them into the windowsill, to brand the walls forever with her silent voice.
“Nice guys finish last.”
Would that happen to him? He felt helpless, trapped inside his morals, a fly immersed in amber, no way to escape, just a slow, painful death.
“We have all the time in the world. You can do whatever you want with it.”
The words were powerful, emboldening. It was true; anything was possible. She wanted to run, to fly, to skip across the waves and smudge her toes across the sand. Breathing in the heat of the summer sunshine, she felt alive.
“She’s not worth it. You could do better.”
He knew, deep down, it was true. That it wasn’t the situation, the girl or his friends holding him back. It was him. He knew it wasn’t right. If it was right, he’d have done it already. He gulped down the sense of freedom, his mind his own once more.
“Plan A: Run. Plan B: Stay. Plan C: Listen.”
It was all very well to understand where he was coming from, but she couldn’t stay with him. Or could she? Was that fair, when it was obvious she didn’t feel the same? And yet she did love him, it just wasn’t enough. But what would be?
“Listen to your heart. At the end of the day, you have to live with yourself.”
She smiled, accepting her fate. She repeated the words out loud, weaving the phrase around herself like a shield. With that, she painted her heart on her sleeve, and stepped out into the bright sunbeams.
“Nice guys finish first.”
Turn the phrase around, make it work for you. He sensed a loophole and jumped headfirst through it, his mind blank to all doubts. He could do this; all it took was faith.
“Plan D: Sit tight.”
Sometimes, it was best to make a conscious decision to do nothing, he mused thoughtfully. He savoured the last drop of water from his glass, watching the remnants flow in a smooth arc down the crooked edge; the remaining condensation no longer cool, just a pretty accessory. He drained it in seconds and slammed the glass down, throwing its shattered shards across the room in rainbow formation. Then he shook his head of fear, and drew a cloak of confidence securely around his shoulders before emerging from the dark room into the brilliance of the morning light outside.
“When life throws you lemons, make lemonade.”
Perhaps there was no right answer, no right method, no right understanding. Maybe they would never all be on the right page. But the phrases played alongside her day, like a karmatic playlist. She took in the strangers coming towards her and felt their confusions, their fears. She understood that they were all in this one place for a purpose, be it to learn something, or simply pass the time before they all grew up out of recognition. In such a short time, they had come so far. It made her wonder where they would all end up. But first, they must accept who they really were. Friends, strangers, it made no difference. Together, they would simply be.