My name is Gabi and I tend to look in the mirror a lot. I am and always have been aware of my value as a person and I have a hard time listening to the others. I secretly wish I could be a renowned artist or a public figure that inspires the others. Yet, every day, I struggle to reach the next step on my personal ladder, consisting of a series of small goals, such as finding a job, using spare time in creative way, being my best, listening better to the others. I am a work in progress.
I always think of life as an episodic happening, where people go from childhood to adulthood and then old age surrounded by people, laughing, enjoying the ride and the thrill it offers. I never think about how sorrows and misfortunes make you bitter, sucking the joy out of you, leaving you resentful and envious.
I never thought of leaving home as a way of losing my roots. Leaving the small village I lived in was a purpose in itself, one small goal to achieve in the long list of goals that will ultimately lead to fulfilling my dreams. Dreams which, in my mind, had the same abstract meaning that the word itself, not associated with anything, has.
I never knew what I was going to be when I grew up, whether or not I have a calling, a vocation for anything. Maybe for dreaming… certainly for dreaming.
Looking back, I realize that life hasn’t turned out the way I outlined it and it still continues to play tricks on me, hitting me whenever I least expect it. I still dream, every single minute, but I also developed a discipline – the discipline of being grateful for what I have and taking it slow, trying to make sound decisions. It doesn’t work out every day, the longing for those fulfilled dreams finds me every once in a while, making me think of myself as a failure.
But I do keep one thing in my mind: one can only achieve a goal at a time and it takes time and perseverance to do it. It is my first teacher who told me that and I still recall it when I get hit by life, other people or my own fears.
Let’s just say it is autumn, and the color of the leaves is still a charming golden, streaked with flaming red. The sun has a warm light, the kind that throws you in a melancholic state and fills you with sensations. The truth is I don’t remember too well the setting, it’s been too long ago and I was too busy trying new emotions to notice the beauty of nature in the early autumn. All I remember is that I felt lost, nervous, ashamed and sad.
I had just left my house to live with strangers in a high school dormitory, all for a better education, therefore a better chance to a bright future, but I wasn’t expecting what was going to happen, how my life would change. On my first day in the dorm, I picked up a fight with this strange looking girl, with very long blonde hair, a freckled red face and burning ears. We fought over who gets the bed closest to the door and she started crying. That was an epic start to an unlikely friendship, a relationship that was going to teach me as much as the other relationship that marked my teenage and youth years.
Let me tell you about this friend: she’s tall, blonde, skinny (even though she thinks she’s fat), has a great soul and an even bigger fear of herself. She’s brave when it comes to the others, coward when it comes to her. She’s addicted to clothes, very self-absorbed, still kind and forgiving. She’s got the memory of an elephant and she especially remembers bad things and bad words. She’s got blue eyes and funny teeth that she doesn’t like to show and she speaks in the funniest way possible, because she cannot pronounce “s” and “r” very good. It drives her crazy at times and it’s the cause of her innate fear of speaking foreign languages.
Blonde, freckled girls should not be friends with brunettes, they put in too much, compete too much and give up too little. Looking back eight years, there are too many emotions that come in waves and they’re overwhelming, too much for a soul that tries to find a logic and coherence to the pile of feelings and happenings.
She used to sit quiet in her part of the room that we shared with six other girls. One could only feel her presence in the evening, when she was doing her running-in-the-same-spot for about half an hour. Of course it was an attempt to be fit, it didn’t have anything to do with staying healthy. That, and starving herself were the two ways she took care of her silhouette.
You know what she told me one night, in the middle of one of our fights? Gabi, I never forget anything, I remember every bad word you ever told me, every critique, every remark. That turned my world upside down, made me take another look at this skinny tall, blonde-with-blue-eyes girl that was my friend. It was one of the things that made me start writing. It looks like it worked, because now I write about her.The best thing about her is that she’s reliable and she has this warm soul that you want to have next to you forever. The worst thing about her is that she’s unstable emotionally and she doesn’t like to think logically. It’s a dangerous combination, makes you prone to terrible outbursts of anger and frustration.
Still, when she said: Go out with him, who knows – you might have fun, I went out with him, not even suspecting what a new course my life was going to take. She is one of those whose advice you take, because there’s something inside telling you she might be right and, even if she’s not right, maybe it’s worth trying.