Growing Up Goes Slow
You were so starved for some kind of physical touch it hurt. Was that dramatic to say? Maybe it was, but being so close with your parents, still young, “broken up” with your best friend, and 3,000 miles from home had put you in a state of isolation you’d never felt before.
I wonder what my mom and dad would say
If I told them that I cry each day
It’s hard enough to live so far away
Deciding to follow your dream wasn’t always a piece of cake. In order to do what you wanted to do, you needed to pursue your degree in another state - 3,000 miles from home. For you, it might have well been an entire world away. You didn’t regret trying to follow your dream, but it sure was isolating, especially now that your best friend had decided that drinking weekend after weekend was more important than school. After you’d confronted her, she told you that you were an awful friend and person and that she was fine.
You couldn’t sit by and watch your friend drink herself to death, so you’d left. She was toxic for you, but maybe not having anyone there was just as toxic? You didn’t know anymore. With your scholarship basically covered, you were able to pay the rest with the job you’d gotten, but you didn’t have money for anything else but school and rent, and you had no insurance, so seeking out some medical attention for the way you’d been feeling was out of the question.
Doing what you could, you started writing in a journal, but even that didn’t do all that much. You’d constantly snap at your friends and you’d been even more curt with your roommate Spencer. After meeting just shortly after orientation, you’d both realized you needed a roommate and had decided to room together, but after your “big breakup” you got rude with him too. “I’m fine, Spencer!”
And all you need to know is I’m so sorry
It’s not like me
It’s maturity that I’m lacking
So don’t, don’t let me go
Just let me know that growing up goes slow.
You were so lonely. After class and work one night, you entered the apartment to see Spencer studying at the kitchen table. “How was your day?” he asked hesitantly. He’d been trying to talk to you, but you’d been in such a state of isolation that every human interaction felt false.
Spencer was a complete stranger to you for the most part, but maybe this was the opportunity to get to know someone new. Honesty was the best policy you assumed. “Not good, Spencer.”
“Why not?” he asked, sitting back and closing his book. “Besides talking a lot, I’ve been told I’m a great listener.”
Over the course of the next ten minutes or so, you poured you heart out, going so far as to start crying in front of him. You cried in front of no one. “I’m just really alone and really sad,” you cried, wiping the tears from your eyes with the back of your arm.
Before, he seemed to be wary of you, walking around on eggshells and wondering when you were going to snap at him next, but his eyes had softened as you cried. “I understand that feeling,” he replied. “I’ve felt it.”
“Really?” He had a sharp jaw, fluffy brown hair, soft brown eyes. Sure he was on the skinny side, but he definitely had the kind of look that would be enjoyed by both men and women, and you knew he was studious. Brainy was the new sexy after all. He wasn’t well liked?
Over a cup of late-night coffee, Spencer told you all about his childhood - how he’d been bullied, the many times he’d come home late to realize his mother hadn’t even noticed he was gone because she was having a bad day - “I’ve felt alone most of my life. ” He finally stopped. “I’m sorry about your friend though. You were only trying to look out for her, but…you can’t help everyone.”
You shrugged. He was right of course, but it was easier to say than to truly realize deep down in your heart. As he looked toward the corner, he glanced at your movies alongside his. Apparently, he’d never seen which of them overlapped, because all of a sudden he got excited. “You like old movies too?”
“Yea,” you said. “Movies in general bring you to another place. And when you really don’t want to be in the place you’re in, reading and watching tv helps me to escape.”
He nodded his affirmation and got up, grabbing his copy of Singing in the Rain. “How about we watch this? Together.”
Nearly five months after that night - the night you’d first allowed someone inside your lonely bubble - you opened the door to see Spencer had already ordered your pizza and was sitting on the couch with The Wizard of Oz ready to play. “Ready?” You didn’t know what had developed over the last half a year. During breaks you went home to see your parents. When you saw them, you felt better. Your best friend had never come around; she was still partying every weekend and she was at risk of losing her scholarship, but you couldn’t do anything about that.
Now, the feelings of loneliness seemed to turn to ones of guilt because you hated that you couldn’t help everyone. At least now, you didn’t have to fight those feelings alone. Your classes and differing degrees kept you from hanging out together as much as you’d liked, but every Friday night Spencer would order pizza as soon as he came home from class and you’d watch some of your old movies together. After a while, you’d even started to cuddle together under a blanket he’d brought from home.
This whole new life you were leading was still fairly new. Romance wasn’t absolutely necessary, but maybe it was there. For right now you were fine to let whatever this was just be.
Some days were bad, the loneliness overwhelming you to the point that even Spencer couldn’t comfort you, movies and pizza or not, but most days, he could help you through it. You supposed that these feelings tended to ebb and flow like waves, and although that thought frustrated you (you just wanted to feel better instantly), at least Spencer understood where you were coming from, and that you instantaneous happiness wasn’t real. It was work. And he was willing to help you work at it, as long as you’d do the same in return.
And I’m so sorry, it’s not like me
It’s maturity that I’m lacking
So don’t, don’t let me go
Just let me know that growing up goes slow