There was comfort in tearing myself apart in this room.
It was nine in the morning and a comrade was naked save for a pair of shorts and an apron draped about his neck in the kitchen. He was making breakfast: instant noodles and french toast, the diet of college kids on lazy mornings where we try to make an effort.
"Breakfast!" he called. It was the end of the semester, the end of the year and we were celebrating.
The rest of us had just woken up. I had been up a while, unable to sleep from the misadventures dawn so often brings; ill-timed alarms serenading the way sun rays kiss dusty furniture, nightmares drowning the momentary peace of slumber, alert senses not immune to the outside world. When we sat down in the kitchen, though, I wished for nothing more than that very moment.
Seated on the counter, seated on the floor, seated by the pantry, smoking by the window, we were five friends chattering about life and love and the in-betweens, reduced to nothing more than damaged kids vying for a place in this world. "A little bit fucked up in the head" was the phrase most of us identified with and yet, there we were -- in a room where there was no judgement, just an exchanging and understanding of stories, a trade of hearts and souls.
I've not known this group of people long. I was in the first year of university, moving onto my second and there were a few final years in the room, but this group of people -- big-hearted, big-souled, big-passioned misfits -- I think they're here to stay. I don't know what it was about them, but their eyes that never seemed to squint at the mention of scars and their bodies that never seemed to flinch at the mention of imperfections seemed to play a huge part. I guess that was why I could break myself in half right then and there when I have saved myself the liberty of being guarded for the past 19 years.
It was a rather foreign word to me, friends.
I've never quite felt worthy of the word both on the giving and receiving end, always too afraid that my tendency to drift will disintegrate the term, always too aware that my locked up heart will bend the term. But there I was, seated among a group of friends, innards gleaming under the morning sun and none of them have upped. I'd grown up quite a lot.
I made myself a cup of coffee and returned to my seat on the counter, the perfect vantage point to observe the story-aged eyes of my companions. I took a sip. The morning slipped away outside the window as we sat and chatted for hours.
What was the one thing you learned to do in 2016?