The wooden chair by the stairs looked uncomfortable. It didn’t have to be fancy or anything like that, but the idea I’d have to sit there for the next six hours straight was not one I found particularly amusing.
I placed the wheelchair in a non-obstructive area by the window and sat myself down in the wooden chair with my name hovering over it.
It was a grey Saturday morning, the kind perfect for a shameless lie in, but I was already out the door and in an accessible Uber around the same time I’d usually be returning from dreamland after a long night fighting my duvet and pillows on a haunt for a good sleep. I’m still not a morning person at all, but adulthood and work sure have a strong way of forcing a different lifestyle on an individual.
It was my first time in that house in nearly two years and unlike the chair I was now sat in, everything else felt cosy to a comfortable degree of familiarity. Tessi and I had the usual chit chat of two people who had not seen each other since before the virus took over our lives and turned ‘normal’ into awkward distancing.
“It’s been so long… oh so you are working now?”, she said as she picked up the bag of hair extensions I had brought from home. “I thought you had found someone else, or you had forgotten about me!”, she said with a sarcastic smile that made me wonder if she might have been seriously offended by my disappearance. I explained to her it wasn’t that at all, but due to the pandemic, I was being careful and not too bothered about what my hair looked like as I was literally going NOWHERE. Now being double vaxxed, and with the world reopening it felt only right to have my hair done by my favourite hairdresser. I wondered if I may have come across a little condescending and exaggerated but I definitely wanted to stay on her good side before her hands touched my hair.
Her kids started to make their way down the stairs one after the other, after the other. From what I recalled she only had three children but right then there were about seven different toddlers running around the house whose eyes were filled with sleep and hunger after what I assumed had been a fun long slumber party. A horrific thought came to mind; ‘I haven’t even started my hair but we’re never going to finish with all these kids around’. The thought didn’t roam around my head too long, however, as not even a room filled with unruly toddlers could take my mind off the one thing I’d been thinking about all morning…
My hands were steady, but my heart was bouncing to the rhythm of terror. I felt uneasy on the inside; the kind of fear that attacks you right before stepping into an echoey room for an oral exam in front of a group of black-suited men. The bad kind of butterflies that eat you up on the inside and don’t let go until they consume you.
‘It’s not that big a deal… it’s not that big a deal, I can handle the result either way’, I kept saying to myself as I unlocked my phone with the restless look on my face before entering the six-digit code to open the email app.
The screaming of the children running back and forth from the living room and kitchen was completely drowned out by my anxiety at that point and I probably wouldn’t have heard the choir of a hundred people calling my name in harmony– the pounding of my beating heart was louder.
The email I was awaiting was right there, staring me in the face with a fixed glare, knowingly having the entire upper hand in the situation. I knew there would be no going back once my finger met the screen, my life would either stay the same or change forever, and I was sick to my stomach with familiarity.
My hand was doing all the work as my eyes struggled to focus on the screen: the moment just carried too much weight but there was no going back or unseeing the unread mail. It was time to find out the outcome that resided in that attached letter.
It’s never good news when a letter starts with ‘Unfortunately’, yet unfortunately time could not be turned back around once those words had caught my eyes.
My Saturday was ruined. My weekend was entirely ruined.
I sat there as the children walked aimlessly around the room while Tessi begged them to sit at the table for breakfast. I froze whilst everything around me kept moving, even my heart as it sank below my chest.
Rejection stings to the core, I was reminded as everything in me shrunk. It bites with sharp teeth and leaves the nastiest marks. It grips you with claws until your flesh bleeds invisible streams made distinguishable by the pathetic look on your face.
I smiled at the three-year-old playing with the zips on my new backpack, but the tearful sadness on the inside could have probably drowned the whole room and left me swimming in a sea of my own disappointment.
I messaged my besties in our old high school WhatsApp group chat immediately as I thought letting someone know would help me process the fact that when Monday came nothing in my life would have changed; and only then did I realise how much I wanted things to change. My friends were the best, as I expected, they expressed sadness and showed sympathy.
“Don’t let it get you down”, “Keep trying and I’m sure you’ll get it next time”. It was all I wanted to hear but somehow, at that moment their words of encouragement fell flat like the hope I had that was now dead.
My day went on as planned as nothing happened at all. Although Tessi’s children kept interrupting the progress of my hair, as the parents came to pick them up each their own, my head was slowly filled with lung curly braids I would pay full price for. The black cab I order arrived miraculously on time and took me all the way to my facial appointment, then after that, I hopped on the next tram home. Truth is, that day I went to so many places, but in reality, I wasn’t really moving. My most aware self was still sat in an uncomfortable chair reading an email that would turn her smile upside down thoughtlessly till the end of the day.
Rejection stings. It hurts badly when it catches you unaware and pinches you until you’re sore. Yes, you will learn from it, you will grow and mature and push yourself ahead channelling the pain it caused, but for that day it sucked to not be the chosen one regardless of what anyone said, and On Second Thought; it’s normal to acknowledge that.
Your restless romantic roamer
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