29 May 2018

How One University Party Changed My Life (Part 2)

When I walked into that Halloween party all those months ago, which honestly feels like it could have been last week, I'm in awe. I had to stop and ask myself if knowing everything I know now about what I've been through over the last few months, with those 'nurses'- or just the one in particular- would I still have gone to that party?
Before reading on, read part one here

The answer is yes. I think I would have and largely because of what happened to me today, almost seven months on from that Halloween night. I haven't decided whether that makes me stupid or not. The verdict is still out.

Today, I was doing a quick shop in Aldi, my local supermarket which also happens to be in line with my student-budget. I live in a University town so it isn't unusual for me to bump into people. Some days, I could bump into a handful of friend within one hour whilst on other days I could spend the whole day meandering the town lanes and never see a recognisable soul. I was winding through the aisles of the supermarket in my own world like I usually do; I'd gotten bread, milk, eggs and snuck in a pack of four cookies. I don't usually treat myself. I have walked past the bakery many a time  unfazed by the smell of freshly made breads and cookies, but today I gave in to my temptations. And I'm very glad I did. I opted for a brown paper bag filled with four large milk chocolate cookies which seemed golden and moist.

"I walked up behind him and opted to call him by his name because somehow I felt we'd passed "pharmaceutical science" a long time ago. "

I eventually got the the tills to pay when in front of me I noticed an all too familiar form. He was several heads taller than me and slender. Without hesitation I knew who was in front of me. It was Brandon. I'd seen Brandon many times between today and that Halloween night. Here's another plot twist: He's Julian's house mate. I haven't spoken to Julian in nearly two months now so I have no idea what Brandon did (or didn't know) about Julian and I. I walked up behind him and opted to call him by his name because somehow I felt we'd passed "pharmaceutical science" a long time ago. We stood in the queue, me with my essentials and him with his lunch for the afternoon which he lifted up to show me: a pre-made shrimp pasta of some sort accompanied by what I think was some form of meat, possibly chicken, along with a carton of juice. I didn't notice the flavour. His housemates had thrown a house party the weekend before, to which I had been invited to but opted not to go (mostly for my own mental health) which made for good idle chit chat. Brandon and I had always gotten along and shared light-hearted banter whenever we spoke. What he knew- or whether he knew anything- about Julian and I did slip into my mind. So, when he asked me how I'd been doing, something in his tone hinted that he knew more than he was letting on. After laughing about nothing and examining the content of each other's shopping list, which was truthfully more mine than his, he payed, said his goodbyes and walked off. As I headed out of Aldi, I saw him unlocking his bike from the rack. I waved, told him to enjoy his lunch and walked off without thinking much of it other than it was pleasant to see him again.
I strode off into the sunshine with a new spring in my step and immediately reached into my brown paper bag and started munching away. I merrily and slowly trailed the outskirts of the local park, a usual route for me, on my way home. A few minutes later, Brandon pulls up beside me. I laughed and said: "Well, now that's just unfair." I knew that this wasn't his usual route home because I'd seen him on his way home a few times before whilst doing errands in town, but still this was a minor de-tour. He must have watched me as I walked off whilst he was unlocking his bike, which made me smirk. I appreciated the gesture. In an attempt to look suave, Brandon tried to jump off of his bike and onto the pavement without a hitch but he fumbled and nearly went flying but eventually managed to recover and hopped off of his bike. I offered him a cookie. When we were walking side-by-side, cookies in hand, I grasped how tall he really was. He towered over me but I didn't mind.

We got to the point where we'd have to separate. This was the furtherest point we could go together before walking on together would inconvenience the other one. This 'end point' happens to be a pedestrian crossing outside the main entrance of the park, with a boulevard of trees lining the walkway, like tall and proud guards. Whilst walking his bike, he said: "I'll walk down the street with you." I declared that if he had no where else to be we could claim a patch of grass in the park. I was slightly surprised, but pleasantly so, when he agreed. So, we turned into the park instead.

"He asked about my name which is unpronounceable to anyone that isn't Greek. But, I get great amusement from watching people try so a a quick Facebook search for my name ensued which led to him attempting to pronounce it."

"Shade or sun?" I asked. "Sun" he responded. "Good choice", I said. I let Brandon choose the spot. He walked into the park and turned to the right. We walked a few more metres before landing in the sun. I plonked my shopping bag down and the eggs rolled out. I then placed my black over-used satchel on the over-grown grass besides it. Brandon tipped his bike over and sat down. I offered Brandon another cookie whilst I continued to chomp down on the first one. At first he denied the offer. Then, he settled for half of a second one but I didn't tolerate that and gave him a whole cookie. Both of us stretched out our feet. My gold platform shoes glistened against the sun. Brandon was wearing what I'd call 'builder's boots' and shorts whilst I'd regrettably worn black jeans and a kaki green jumper.
Brandon told me that the park reminded him of his school's field back home. He said he had grown up in a rural part of England. He told me he was only in his first year  which I was surprised to find out. Bearded-Brandon could have passed for a second or even third year student, but he explained how he'd had to do a foundation year first. We spoke about what we wanted to do after university and with the rest of our summer. We spoke about exams and the other extreme- recklessness. We ended up circling back to the party he'd hosted at the weekend. He mentioned Julian very briefly now and again, but I never pried further into what he said and let the conversation flow keenly past all mention of him. Weirdly, he never mentioned any of his other housemates to me. After first apologising, Brandon pulled out his phone to check the time. In the back of his iPhone's case was his learners driver's license. I pulled it out of its pocket and did what anyone would do- judge the babyfaced photo. We chuckled over that whilst I asked him about his middle name and how he got it. Turns out "Cliff" was his grandfather's name and then his parents decided to add the "ford" bit at the end to get "Clifford". He asked about my name which is unpronounceable to anyone that isn't Greek. But, I get great amusement from watching people try so a a quick Facebook search for my name ensued which led to him attempting to pronounce it. Attempt being the operative word.

The weather played a massive part in this whole encounter. Brandon taught me that this is called "pathetic fallacy". He explained it as when people's moods are affected based on the weather. I learnt lot about Brandon over the next 30 minutes; he's always come across as a bit of a joker (which he openly admitted at some point) but he can also be serious and unexpectedly sensible. Had the  London skies graced us with the seemingly ever-resent drizzle we wouldn't have settled in the park. 

I got the sign that Brandon was ready to head off when he slipped the straps of his backpack over his slender but defined shoulders. I took the hint and gathered up my shopping bag and satchel. Then, just as we had done 30 minutes or so earlier, we got back to the crossing or the 'end point' and this time we did separate. I went my way, reaching for the last cookie and he went his way, peddling home.

"This cookie-sharing moment which really made me feel like everything was going to be okay."

So, knowing everything I know now, if someone had given me a book of my life and let me read the chapter beginning from that Halloween party to now and knowing everything I'd face in-between and then proceeded to ask me if I would have still gone to that party I would respond "yes", all because of this cookie-sharing moment which really made me feel like everything was going to be okay.

This encounter may seem small and insignificant but it meant so much to me.

THE END

Do you have a little moment that shouldn't mean a lot to you form an outsider's view but does?
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2 comments

  1. Huh! I cannot wait to read more!! For some reason, I thought you were in London. And I would love to try to pronounce your name! I'm actually pretty good at Polish names so I feel like I might be able to get yours!

    Jennifer
    Effortlessly Sophisticated

    ReplyDelete
  2. Awww this encounter was so sweet Steph!

    Sophie | www.sophiesspot.co.uk

    ReplyDelete

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