University is a memorable experience for each attending student for many different reasons. In the process of taking on some serious student debt, you learn life lessons that will often prove to be priceless long after you’ve officially graduated and smiled for the camera in your cap and gown to prove it. And of course, in the years that you are an undergraduate, you will rack up many stories about the people, the places and the partying that you undertake. Therefore, after being inspired by a friend and fellow blogger to write about my university experiences here in the UK, I’ve decided to pen/type down my favourite one so far. Enjoy!
“Never thought a train goin’ any place could’ve change my life
Never thought I’d say I could go insane, ‘til I saw your eyes
And I had to take another look to know for sure
That you could be for real.”
– Losing My Mind by Daughtry.
Thursday 7th November 2013.
As I woke up in the late morning hours for my only lecture of the day at 12pm in the Dorothy Hodgkin building, I could really feel the dryness of the skin on my face. Last week Shelby and I went to the Halloween Ball at the Student Union. She went as Harley Quinn and I went as Katy Perry. For the second time after wearing that costume, I’d woken up the following morning with an allergic reaction on my face. It was just dry skin now rather than the red rash which meant it was getting better. I decided not to moisturise it because I knew I would most definitely be squeezing in a gym session before my early evening train to Reading. I decided to go to the lecture in tracksuit bottoms over my gym kit to save time later on. Shelby had asked me to have lunch with the group before heading out after the lecture. I’d been having a hard time and she wanted me to talk to her about it and I’d finally agreed.
The Chancellor’s Building is always busy at lunch time. This meant that I spent a lot of time waiting for Shelby and Ashleigh to return back to the table with their food. Her annoying bus friend also shared that lecture with us too so he was also at our lunchtime. (I shall refer to him as Bus Boy for this story.) I didn’t really know him but one thing I did know was that, within reason, wherever Shelby was there was a likely chance he’d be there too. Bus Boy liked to joke around but one thing that wasn’t a joke was his crush on my Stoke best friend. The bustle of the lunchtime queues meant that it was just Bus Boy and I at the table making awkward small talk. He looked at you when you spoke and I felt under scrutiny for the current condition of my shrivelled and dry skin. Once the girls finally arrived, I politely stayed until they had finished eating and then cycled to the gym. After the gym I cycled straight back to Hollycross (my hall of residence) and began to get ready for my trip to Reading.
At 4pm I looked MUCH MUCH BETTER than I had earlier that day. I’d straightened my hair, did my make up and going as far as putting foundation on my face after finally moisturising. As I boarded the bus for the Stoke-On-Trent train station, I couldn’t quite believe it when Shelby and Bus Boy got on at the Student Union stop. Of all people to bump into! They sat behind me and it was a rather amusing journey. When Shelby got off, Bus Boy and I sat together. Surprisingly we had quite a few things in common and conversation came easily. He was also going to the train station as he commuted to Keele from Wolverhampton, initially being from Dudley (yes he had the accent). The train station was very busy and I was relieved that Bus Boy was with me because I hadn’t used the train alone many times before. He helped me buy my rather expensive ticket and acknowledged that I was a good friend for paying that much just to visit them. It’s always nice to hear that from somebody you don’t know too well, it’s reassuring. We happened to be on the same train; yet another relief for me.
As we stood on the platform we continued to exchange jokes etc based on our similar sense of humour. At one point he asked to try on my Ray-Ban glasses. And THAT was the moment when everything changed. A moment quite unlike any other, as I would later come to realise with age. As I watched him messing around trying on my expensive specs, something inside me felt very different. Like a wall giving way or a switch turning on, or maybe even a spark igniting, I no longer found him annoying. I suddenly found Bus Boy completely adorable. I was seeing him in a completely different way and I really wanted him to like me. The atmosphere changed and it felt as though it was just Bus Boy and I on that platform. As we boarded the jam packed train, there were no seats available so we both had to stand quite close together. The close proximity meant that we kept teasing each other saying “I can hear you breathing” and “I can hear you chewing” throughout our journey together.
A girl from my degree and also Hollycross was sitting on the floor of that same packed train. She was reading The Yellow Wallpaper which we had to read for Monday. We spoke to each other briefly and I could see her out of the corner of my eye smirking at the interactions between Bus Boy and I. The chemistry between us completely transparent. We were so close that at one moment as I was looking up into his dark brown eyes, I thought he might be daring and kiss me. I wanted him to but obviously he didn’t do that on a packed train. Nevertheless, butterflies may not have been seen but they were definitely felt.
“Some moments pass as though they wish to stay.
We have not long to love. A night, a day.”
– Tennessee Williams.
I didn’t want him to get off the train. I wanted to stay in that moment for as long as possible. But after 40 minutes we had finally reached his stop and it was time for us to depart. As he walked towards the carriage door and I watched him go, he texted me and it was apparent that something had begun. I already had his number because I asked for it one time when I spoke to him on Facebook. I had him on Facebook because I wanted to know more about Shelby’s mysterious friend. One day I’d finished typing an essay but didn’t know how to double space it so I asked him and a few people how to do it. He told me at a later date that he knew that I liked him at that point and he was going to tell me Alt + F4. He didn’t though. I’m not an idiot and I know what that shortcut does. I later told him that I always make sure I have the numbers of a few people in my classes in case I need help with something and that I usually ask several people the same question so that I don’t have to spend too long waiting for a reply.
We never know what life has in store for us. A simple train journey changed my life. Always remember that it’s the small things that make up the big things.
Some stories never get old.
Some moments stay with us.
Some people change our lives unexpectedly.