top of page

A Quarter Past Happiness

It is a quarter past happiness, the night falls, and the lights blaze... I move to the other side of midnight, the other side of my world—unknown, unseen, grey seat covers, a mixture of perfumes. Frank Ocean hums blissfully for me through my earphones. I travel to a distant town, and my mind to a distant land—four months have passed since I last sat in a bus full of strangers without a companion, without the company of myself.

I had slept with a sweet dream preparing myself for a burlesque of a bitter nightmare – but I never did like sweet; bitter’s my baby, bitter my life. I rummage through my backpack looking for a book that would scream its tale to me, drowning the voices of my own past. However, void of any literature, today I will have to bear with the tears and voices that make my story. The dramas, which, to me, are more real than the faces in the bus.

I reach into my pocket, pulling out an empty wallet, some spare change, and a diary full of names and numbers. Not so long ago, the names meant a lot to me; now they seem like worthless scribbles. A Polaroid rests peacefully in my wallet. The many faces in the group photo look right through me, mocking my every reaction. Her face is also there, sticking out among the multitude like a rose in a marsh. She loved laughing; she often told me, "Life’s a joke." Hmm... life is a joke, but I still haven’t learned how to laugh.

I take the film out of my wallet and throw it out of the window, not realising that I was still carrying with myself an unmissable suitcase full of memories that would haunt me forever. Some things are bound to happen... Why? The simplest questions bring ever more complex answers—that is, if they bring answers at all. Today, I will not let tears take over because words have failed me before. I search for my muse in the bus, in the strange faces, in the tunes of Ocean. This is how I try to free myself, but freedom fears me. Freedom—it is just another word for nothing left to love.

With a cup of coffee in hand, I sit on just another stool in just another midway hotel, waiting for the driver to take the bus home. I'm waiting to move closer to my unacquainted destination, away from the people I once knew and from myself, running from the spirits that still strangle my memories. I don’t want to meet more people or make new friends; they are just scars waiting to be born. Wounds that never heal. I will stay content in my solitude, or so I hope.

The bus has a number of new faces. One of them replaces my silent neighbour and friend, nothingness. I do not bother to talk to her; she, however, does not hesitate.

"Hi," she said. I replied with a raised eyebrow and a nod. She tells me her name, and I don’t want to tell her mine. "What’s your name?" I look at her and, turning away, put on my earphones without uttering a word. I know it left a bitter taste in her mouth, but I let words fail me again, consumed by the ghosts of the past, biting on the bitter pills of my life.

“If she's amazing, she won't be easy. If she's easy, she won't be amazing. If she's worth it, you won't give up. If you give up, you're not worthy... Truth is, everybody is going to hurt you; you just gotta find the ones worth suffering for.”

- Bob Marley


bottom of page