After watching Stand By Me for the hundredth time a few days ago, I was urged to finally finish Stephen King’s The Body from the novella collection Different Seasons. This throwback of sorts was triggered by binging all eight episodes of Stranger Things, a Netflix series about many things strange (alternate dimensions and gooey monsters) and heartwarming (a mother’s love and the solidity of childhood friendships).
Consuming all these coming-of-age stories is not doing any good to my self-esteem. I am currently trailing the remaining days of my 24th summer and being reminded that I am now older than River Phoenix when he bid buh-bye makes me feel deeply sad and lonely.
Aside from that one time when I went out on a picnic with a few friends, I did nothing else this summer but work and sleep and sleep some more.
I’ve shut down everyone who’s invited me to go out and bask in the elusive Alberta sun. I’ve said no to a barbecue, a photo session, a beer night, a visit to a popular festival, and a walk-around to search for Pokemons. To be fair though, there’s a fat chance I would have said yes if somebody had invited me to go watch Suicide Squad.
But I do feel bad when I say no; it makes me feel like an asshat. Imagine having the luxury of so-called friends, of people willing to tolerate my higher-than-thou snark, yet still turn my back on them like they just offered me the dream job of being a multi-level marketeer.
If there’s anything I’ve learned about myself in the last decade, it’s that I’d rather be a recluse than turn homicidal in the company of people I don’t fully get along with. And unfortunately for me, the company I truly enjoy is back home. Man, I just don’t think I can ever have friends like the ones I had when I was in college.
But I guess being so hung up on who I hang out with is counterproductive. I’m not home anymore. Beers are not as cheap and so are random out-of-town trips. I’ve been in this country for years and to this day, I still feel like an alien who doesn’t destroy and invade but instead tries to fit in. Someone like Ford Prefect, I think, although it doesn’t really matter because I am an outsider all the same.
Everyday, I just remind myself that I chose to leave home. If Chris Chambers chose to make it out of Castle Rock, I chose to make it out of UP. My perspectives have changed since I let go. It’s not easy and I’m struggling but at least it’s my own decision to play this game on the toughest mode.
Yes I did burn some bridges—quite a lot of them—when I left home but that’s part of moving forward. A more important goal, perhaps, is to not burn the ones that are right in front me. #