Day 301 – Folie a Deux – Part 21

Going to struggle to finish this series by end of the project!!!!! You may have to wait until I publish it to read the end!!

Word count: 1262

Cafeteria food piled on her plate, husks of people blurring past with trays and talking. The bright fluorescent light pierced her eyes like a fork on a microwave meal’s plastic film. Clatter, scrape, chink and buzz; the canteen let silence wait outside the door. Each and every table was crammed full of people. Groups of people, huddles of quieter folks and parties of the more popular, swimming around their shoals like sharks: this was all she had experienced thus far of university.
It was day ten. Her dormitory was nice, she supposed. It was enough. An en-suite bathroom, she was very glad of that. Her neighbours were noisy though. The first week had just been constant partying; constant noise; constant alcohol consumption; constant overkill; constant energy. Catherine was struggling with it. It was more than she was used to. She tried to throw herself out there, get herself known for being a party girl. The first night she had gone to the union and spoken with a group of strangers all night. She was so proud of herself, but soon her energy began to wane and the drowsiness returned. She blamed it on hangovers and being up all night, but in reality she couldn’t be awake past nine o’clock at night. She’d wake up midday the next day completely drained. She didn’t want to mention it to anyone, let alone her parents. The called her every other night, just to make sure she was alright.
Over all she was enjoying it, even if she felt constantly out of place. Everyone here was doing things to the extreme; extreme fun, extreme eating, extreme money spending. Catherine found herself being reserved and quiet when the people she was hanging around were like that. She felt uncomfortable, almost as if it were not allowed; as if it were forbidden. She knew exactly what it was: it was parent complex. Too many rules had been instilled in her as a child. To mentally break into a mindset that told her she could have fun without fear would take a lot more than a few shots, cocktails and ten days without parental supervision.
Lectures were going to start tomorrow. Catherine was excited. She felt all grown up when she thought of going to a lecture. She imagined herself taking notes and listening intently to this handsome looking professor. Maybe he’d be her tutor one day and they’d go to the pub and eventually fall in love, just like in films? Catherine was day dreaming just that when a tray of food passed by her vision and was dumped on the seat opposite.
“What are you doing here all by yourself?” the guy who owned the tray was quite cute.
“Ah day dreaming,” she quickly wrapped up the dream and returned to focus on reality which was starting to get that bit more interesting.
“Have we met before?” he asked, his eyebrows screwing up confusedly.
“No, I don’t think so,” Catherine thought she would remember a face like his.
“Ah right, sorry. Long week. Many people,” he shovelled food into his mouth. Mashed potato, peas and some form of pie.
“I’m Benji by the way,” he stuck out a hand for her to shake whilst with the other hand he scooped a big piece of pie with his fork and stuffed it into his mouth.
“I’m… I’m Cat,” Jenny used to call her this. It seemed nicer than Catherine now.
“Cat, cool name. My sister’s called Caitlyn, well almost a Cat, yeah? She hates me calling her that though. Prefers Kate.”
“I get Kate sometimes, but only off my friend Jenny.”
“Cool, cool. So what you studying?”
“History. You?”
“Physics. Absolutely love it. You looking forward to tomorrow?”
“Yeah, kinda. What about you?” she was expecting a no from him if she were being totally honest.
“Absol, absol. I’ve been itching for months! All this partying nonsense, I can’t keep it up forever. I think I must have blown half my money already…”
“God yeah. I’m terrible. I bought my entire floor drinks the first night.”
“Oh right, are you rich then?”
“Rich? Hahaha no I’m here on bursaries. I’m the token poor boy. You look like a spoilt little rich kid if you ask me though, no offence!”
“Oi! I’m actually the poor girl too.”
As nice as Cambridge was, there was no denying that the middle class were comparatively kicked down the class system in this area.
“Good, good. Glad to hear it,” he shoved the last forkful in his mouth and piled all the mess he’d created on to his plate.
“Can I get your number?”
“That’s a bit forward of you….”
“Hey, hey no – just numbers. I like people. All people.”
Catherine – Cat as she now was to him – was unsure. She’d never been approached by a man before. Did she even like him? What would happen if she gave him her number – would he even call?
“Why don’t we just see if we see each other again. If we do, I’ll give it to you then?”
Benji smiled, “I like you. Cool. I’ll bring a pen.”
He disappeared off into the queue that was leaving the canteen. Cat remained and played with her food. It was coming to that time of night again where she would have to leave everyone else behind and sleep. She didn’t mind it too much, but it stopped her from enjoying everything she wanted to do.
Cat returned the tray to the stack and left for her room. She needed Jenny. She took out of her phone and texted her.
Miss you
Jenny was radiating with her pregnancy. Cat couldn’t quite get over it. She was having a baby: an actual human being. There was ages left for the bump to grow, but Cat was constantly worrying that the baby could come at any minute. Jenny texted back.
You too. How’s uni life? Any fit guys?
Cat instantly texted back, Yeah not too bad. Loads of hot musicians, you know my type. Hehe. All pretentious wankers though
Cat was at her room door now. She opened it and collapsed. It was her bedding. It was her stuff. But it wasn’t home. The cleaner would be around in the morning to change the bin. It would be awkward. There’d be someone who wasn’t her sister shouting across in the room opposite. She couldn’t tell them off. The breakfast in the morning would be awful and the shower would most likely run cold for a minute before the water turned hot. But it was hers. All this was hers, so why did she constantly feel this lump in the back of her throat?

She lay down and closed her eyes. What a pathetic student she was. Tired at half eight. At least she had nice dreams of late. Recently she had been playing guitar on stage and singing. It must be all these good looking musicians around her that made her dreams like that for Cat couldn’t play an instrument for her life. At least for a few days the house was not there. The gardens were lovely; the house was lovely: but there was only so much exploring she could do in five rooms and a driveway. The break in dreams was welcome; it felt like she was getting back to normal. The dreams were starting to scare her. They seemed too real at times; like she was watching a film. Sometimes she would wake up in the middle of the night and wonder why she wasn’t there.

~ by S.G. Mark on August 3, 2012.

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