| never (adverb) | /ʒamɛ/

Coming home each summer is strange; it’s like re-entering a parallel reality to which I have no access during the other eleven months of the year. Once at home, I find myself trying to reintegrate into a community of normal people who live normal lives. People who own more than a desk lamp and live in spacious homes with other normal people who they may or may not love.

And this summer was so especially difficult. I found myself confused, asking the universe and its so-called divine Power, “Why, why me? Why this? Why now?” And my unique situation only compounded my incredible loneliness, for who among me could attest to the specific brutalities of a meandering life? I had to watch as loved ones eyed me with pity, as they shook their heads in disbelief. Is hardship so rare that it warrants disgust?

I’m thinking of one particular occasion during which I was trying to justify a terrible thing I had done. I was sobbing, drunk, and my friend simply squinted her eyes and nodded. As if to say, “It’s your fault. All of it. Look at how you live.” In that moment, I knew that she could never comprehend what I was trying to explain. Our lives were so very different, and no length of time or verbose explication could truly force her to understand. I felt small, because I realized, that despite being a close friend, I was so very foreign to her.

My hardships would never be hers. She would never understand what it felt like to be torn between two countries or to have handed over her humanity to numerous, undeserving people. To be so lonely that you allow yourself to be manipulated and abused, because emotional pain is still better than being alone. To have an overwhelming desire to shock and betray, because you foolishly believe that attention is synonymous with love. To approach, curiously, the fringes of your own sanity, because flawed and strange was so infinitely better than being a normal person with a normal life, a person who owns more than a desk lamp and lives in a spacious home with other normal people they may or may not love.

About Gabriella

I'm a twenty-something insomniac with a caffeine addiction and chronic wanderlust. I recently graduated with my M.A. in French, and I've spent the past two years living and working as an English teacher in France. I now work as an English professor at a university in Lille, where my students are learning to never omit the Oxford comma.
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