I gaze around at the blank, dirty-creme walls of my new bedroom, trying to stay optimistic. It’s not a big room by any stretch of the imagination, not even for a single, but I tell myself that’s not a problem - I’m not a big person, and I don’t have much stuff to fill the room with anyway. And then there’s the tiny, grime-encrusted excuse for a window, which is letting in less natural light than a ship’s porthole. But the landlord promised he’d be round to fix the light fitting tomorrow, so that’s not a problem either. And once I’ve unpacked my few boxes; and gotten to know my new housemates (three music school graduates - George, Gina and Harvey); and once I’ve found a job; and gotten used to the city, I’m sure I’ll feel right at home here in Bristol. I’ll just have to keep repeating that to myself that until it’s starts to feel true.
At that moment a spring pops in the single, second-hand mattress on which I’m perched, bouncing up with a dull, resonating twang and jabbing me unexpectedly right in the behind. For a second I’m not sure whether I’m about to cry or burst into hysterical laughter. But then the first tear falls and before I know it I’m in the foetal position, my body shaking with self-pity as I clench my mouth and eyes closed against the oncoming storm of sobs. The last thing I need right now is for my three new peers downstairs to overhear my outburst, but after weeks of holding it all in I guess that, just like Yellowstone, I’ve been overdue for an eruption. All I can do is bury my face in my knees and try to muffle my crying as my tears slowly soak through my jeans.
I’m not supposed to be here. I’d had it all planned out and this - this room, this unfamiliar city, this bleak future - was not a part of it. It’s hard to believe that less than four months ago everything had been so perfect - my life had been right on track and the future had been more than bright, it had been positively gleaming. But I should have known that any light that shines too brightly is bound to burn out sooner or later, and mine was abruptly extinguished on a Wednesday afternoon in late June. It was results day, and for most of my fellow final-year uni students, it was the day that either makes us or breaks us. I just didn’t anticipate that it would break me in such a way.