I told myself not to do this. But either way, I still did; perhaps out of misery, or frustration, or fear. Perhaps there’s too much within me that calls for help and attention, like a child with a wounded knee. Perhaps, the days, the weeks and the months have gone barren now, devoid of all its meaning. Perhaps, all I really want is to be able to let out all the suffocating emotions that dwell in the interiors of my heart and for once, just be truly honest with myself, even if such honesty could crush the fragile girl in me.
We all take risks sometimes.
I took a painful one when I chose to leave the academe. It was a shallow, immature and overly impulsive act which I pretentiously assumed to be a sound decision; telling myself that leaving entails a freedom like no other, like some grand emancipation of my restless soul. And with such a clouded mind, I turned my back and walked away, as far away from reality as possible, leaving behind research papers, assignments, activities, schedules, classmates, friends and memories behind. That was a lot to let go all at once and in doing so, I foolishly hoped that I would find some sort of revelation, a massive turning point in my futile life and change the course of my future forever. But that was a foolish hope.
My painful withdrawal brought me to countless days of sheer nothingness, empty spaces where life is like a vast desertland and I, a tiny spect of dust floating recklessly in thin air, lost in endless circles. When people ask me about my absence, I either throw random answers God-knows-where I got or just be silent. Sometimes, it’s exhausting to explain things to people. They may never understand, anyways.
I always thought that the reason for my leaving was my pursuit for freedom, or at least, that was what I told myself. But when I stopped to look back, I realized that it was not really freedom that I was looking for. It was more of a sense of purpose, of existence, of life, that for quite sometime I was not able to find within the academe. Maybe, I was looking at the wrong place, or maybe I was busy looking at other things that I failed to see the more essential things in life, or maybe I wasn’t looking hard enough. Sometimes, I wish I never gave up. The choices I made when I gave up are the ones that I wish I could undo. There’s pain in such choices, pain that eventually brought death to my entirety. And if there’s anything, anything at all, that is left breathing within me, it must be that little spark of faith from a few people who never left my side even when I was stupid enough to leave them, the people who took time to understand the complications of my calloused heart and accepted me still, the people who believe that I can still make it through, regardless of my mistakes in the past. To them, I am indebted for all time.
There is no better way to say this so I will say it out straight: I long to go back to the academe. I miss waking up in the morning with all the adrenaline rush and a sense of chasing the ever-elusive time. I miss having coffee cups at the cafeteria while watching the break of a new day. I miss climbing the sixth floor; the unpolished stairs, the dragging sounds of rushing footsteps, the heavy breaths, drops of sweat on my forehead, a feeling of accomplishment. I miss carrying my backpack and my books as I pass along the crowded corridors. I miss the sound of the busy classrooms; of pencils dropping, of tapping feet, the turning pages, the chatters at the back of the room, the smiles and stories from friendly seatmates, the look of moody professors. I miss my college friends; I forgot that I even have one. The wild stories, the after-class adventures, group studies that end up in paper-throwing, funny jokes around lunch tables, memories. Who knows why we let go sometimes?
If I ever find my way back again, then I’d be better; a better student, a better block mate, a better friend. I’d spend more time in the library, compliment the cafeteria lady and thank her for the coffee. I’d pay more attention to class, take down notes, share biscuits with a seat mate, share thoughts. I’d spend less time in dressing up and more time in getting to know people and understand them better than I did before. I’d start conversations with my seniors, bring up a topic, disagree with their opinions and thank them. Yes, thank them. Sometimes, we learn better when we dip our souls into another.
Bright lights, illuminate, and help me find my way back.