calm after the storm

been back in le havre for a week now, but just haven’t had any heart to sit down and write. i went through a particularly difficult time in the last week as z and i were on really rocky terms. on top of that, i was running out of money and had nine million administrative things to do. thankfully, the worst is over. if days were breaths, today would be my deep, heavy sigh of relief after a week of quick, short snatches of air. my bank draft has come in, i’ve régularisé my situation at CAF, CROUS and the bank, bought my tickets to Geneva, checked things out for my 3rd year and smoothened things over with z.

living alone for the second time, but also for real, has so far been less of a shock than i was dreading it would be. for once, my room feels like me and i feel like my room. it is neater and filled with pretty things which give me pleasure. i love the dragon draped over my white mirror, the warm maroon of my bedsheets, the little zoo of creatures (a gorilla, a white tiger, two lions and a gigantic smiling heart) gazing at me from the top of my shelf, the dried blue roses posing delicately in the champagne and whiskey bottles z left behind, the pile of bags and paper strewn on the floor, all of it.

earlier today i was just sitting at my lunch table writing for the magazine and i felt a sudden wave of calm wash over me. the late afternoon light streamed in through my windows, bathing my kitchen and working area in honey-gold hues of light and casting the remaining half of the room outside the reach of the sun in dimness. at that moment, i was completely aware of the fact that i was living alone. it was a sensation that had never arrived in my first year at Le Havre. i don’t know if it would have been any different last year, but today the calm just felt very bittersweet.

i can already tell this year is going to be a trying one. my calendar is so crammed with deadlines, meetings, promises, events, conferences and travels that i won’t be able to afford slacking off anymore. i still haven’t fully broken out of my dazedness at being back in le havre and am generally uninterested in the new students. i still feel the occasional jab of pain when i think too much about z and sometimes suspect that i am only numbly going along with the mechanics of daily life.

no, the beginning to this year has not been ideal. the room feels a little too big for someone who hasn’t yet learned how to feel comfortable being alone, the world a little too brutal for easily bruised babies.


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