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The Things They Don’t Teach Us

A short story

Photo credit: Andra Velișcu

They teach us a thousand things. They teach us so many things, yet I feel like the essentials are always left out somewhere, outside the circle, outside our visual perimeter. They teach us how to analyze poems and plays; they teach us that a right pyramid has its apex directly above the centroid of its base; they teach us chemistry and sociology and how to distinguish between political parties, and yet they fail to teach us how to touch another human being.

They never teach us how to approach someone, how to start trusting ourselves, how to stop blaming each other. They never teach us how to view others — how to understand. How to see. They never teach us that nothing comes back as it once was. They never teach us that things which are broken cannot be mended, even if we try our hardest. They never teach us to stop using words as weapons when we are afraid, so we attack without giving it a second thought.

They never teach us to take risks, even though we may be wrong, even though we might be pushed back. They only teach us how to follow the path that they have been following — the path they know. They teach us the safest way. They teach us the simplest things. They stay away from the sorrow of the soul; they stay away from the shades and shadows of the blue hidden in between two corridors at night. They teach us how to be like them. They teach us that in this world, you need someone to feel safe, you need someone you can go home to. They teach us that we can and should weigh things a thousand times before deciding, before abandoning a cause, before running into the woods. They teach us that it’s cold outside.

They teach us to be safe, to go together to the bathroom as girls. They teach us to be careful when we are wearing dresses or skirts. They teach us that there’s a timetable which should be followed. They teach us that people are mean — that we should always be careful with our drinks. They teach us how to work with PowerPoint and Excel. They teach us that in a few years we can have everything we want, on the condition that we work.

And what do we want? A house. A car. Someone to share the car with on our way to work. A coffee machine to make two cups of coffee, one with milk, one completely dark. A dog, because it’s too early for kids. There’s a time for everything. This is what we want, right? This should be what we want. It’s safe. It’s comfortable. A blanket that covers us when we get home from our internships. A TV to watch the football games we want with popcorn, while resting our heads on each other. Wine bottles, used preferably during intercourse, which sadly end up being used — most of the time — to drown our tears and screams when the other is not home yet. We don’t want to sound desperate or needy, so we quietly take the medicine and drink it from the biggest cup — bottoms up, bottoms up, bottoms up.

They teach us so many things, and yet they never teach us what needs to be taught. They are scared. They don’t know any other way. They want the best for us, but maybe what they know is not enough. Maybe there are so many other things that haven’t been said, and we could never know; I mean, how could we? But we do know. I know. I know. I know. I know that it’s easier to go after another one, because the footsteps are clearly there — the dust hasn’t even had time to settle.

But at one point, I happened to look away for a second to look 30 degrees outside the border, and I want to go there. I’ve been wanting to go there. I think I know what I have to do. I believe in soulmates, and I also believe that if you are destined to meet yours, you will. I believe that for now I only have myself, and that’s OK. I think that being warm is something we are all searching for, but maybe that’s not for me, not now, not yet. I think that I cannot rest my head on anyone’s shoulder, because I’m too short, and I cannot reach theirs; I need to grow, I still need to grow. I’m a late bloomer, I guess, but I trust spring.

I think I need to know what I want to do, where I want to be. I want to give hope to others. I want to remind them to look up at the sky to try to count the shades it holds at 7 o’clock, when they wake up and yawn. I want to let them know that they have warm hearts and that it’s not compulsory to have someone else to warm their bed. They can have their own arms to hold at night, their own breath to watch over, their own skin to caress.

I want to shout at them not to forget the childhood memories they were holding on to so dearly; not to forget the yellow chair from their grandmother’s house, the name of their first dog, the ripped blouse grandpa used to wear when he was going to feed the animals. I want to make them remember sounds, people, colors, moments, to pick up the phone and say hi to an old friend whom they haven’t talked to in months, not because they had a fight, but simply because each of them was busy living their own life.

I want to remind them that they are good people, and all the good people make mistakes; all the good people feel low and scared and lost and unworthy. But they are the best people. The kind ones. The loving ones. The givers. The dreamers. The fools. I want to tell them that love comes in countless forms and shapes, and it is not defined nor limited; it’s not understood as having one certain person with whom we share our bed and our days with.

I want to remind them to stand up for themselves and also to apologize when they know they are at fault. I think I need to shout, and I think my voice is cracked, but hopefully my words will be carried over the Big Sea. I think I know what I have to do. I have to use words and shape up the version of myself that I wish I were. Stronger, bolder. More courageous. I think I know how to do it. I’m chopping off parts of my ears and putting them at the core, so I can listen to everyone at once; parts of my lips and putting them in the middle, so I can reply faster; parts of my eyes and putting them at the edges, so I can see all the pain and take it on my shoulders — carry it so that they can rest.

Skin on skin, I breathe upon myself, and I am living under my eyes.

I think I’m flying with the seagulls tonight to spread words like droplets of rain.

I think I am not afraid of heights anymore.

I think I am disintegrated into the horizon; my face turned blue and my feet grew long feathers. I think I am exactly where I should be: somewhere along the way.

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Written by Andra V

20 years-old. Passionate about music& literature. In love with the sea. I write as I go, about people, for people, in the name of the things I believe in.