Stress Relief

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Or to be more specific, boredom relief. But stress relief sounds better as a title.

You see, my Sunday’s total food intake was eight Mars bars, six Snickers bars and two strawberry Bulla bars. It was only after I had finished devouring that second chocolate covered strawberry flavoured deliciousness that I realised “Oh fuck, I’m going to turn into a ball of lard by February.”

So, I applied for a volunteer writing position at a magazine. It was just a local one, but it was that type of magazine where I could write about things that I enjoyed. Such as talking about my mental problems. Well, to an extent. Anyway, the interview went a lot more optimistically than I thought it would.

It was a colourful underground studio with murals covering the walls. As soon as I entered, I knew that my mind was going to be engaged for hours looking around at everything. Damn short attention span. More people came in and we started talking more about what the magazine was about.

Basically their main categories were Music, Art, Fashion, Theatre, Social Issues, Politics, Film, you know, that stuff that your parents discourage you from getting into when it comes to career choices, because it doesn’t pay as well as say medicine, or law, or business, or drug dealing. Luckily for me, the category I was interested in, social issues, had plenty of availabilities, though I could always write for other topics if I wanted. And I start on Monday next week. It’s pretty cool.

So for once, things are looking good.

Well, with the exception of my trust issues flaring up once again. They do that. Especially when it comes to strange humans.

Seriously, why do I let myself interact with the human race? What’s it with me and throbbing emotional pain that I find so addicting? And I’m getting better for fucks sake! Supposedly.

Sigh…

For those who can’t speak Cat Madiganese, after the interview, I remained behind with another strange human to wait for the managing human of the magazine to discuss stuff. After the managing human phoned in saying that they couldn’t come in today, the strange human asked if I wanted to go get lunch.

“I already ate,” I told him. “Plus I’m poor. Lunch with me would basically be me watching you eat food.”

“Okay. Do you want to come and watch me eat food then?”

“Um, okay. Why not?” I didn’t have shit to do that day. I already did a makeup thing in the morning and I didn’t have to be home till 4 in the afternoon. Not to mention if I was going to be working amongst strange humans, I might as well get used to them.

“So I take it from the interview that you write a bit about mental health stuff?” he asked.

“Um, yeah. It’s…just something that I’ve had to deal with a lot for the past few years. Usually I just use it in fiction and things like that, but yeah.”

“What sort of stuff do you write?”

“Well…pretty random things,” I admitted. “Mainly short stories at the moment. I like psychological, philosophical stuff. Things that make me think.”

“Cool, I did a lot of that stuff in uni,” he told me.

“I thought you said you did programming at Murdoch?”

“Oh yeah, but I helped around as a lab assistant for my friend, when he was working on his thesis.”

“What was he researching?”

“Well, basically his research was looking at if it was possible to change a person’s way of thinking using electrodes and stuff like that,” the strange human informed me.

“Oh yeah, I’ve heard about that stuff. Well, I mainly looked at the ways of thinking. You know CBT?”

“Yeah, cognitive behavioural therapy.”

“Yeah, I just had a look into it. My psych gave me a few pages on thinking patterns. It’s pretty cool. Only thing is I can now see all the bad ways my friends think.”

“Yeah…self diagnosing isn’t a good thing to do though.”

“Well…technically I’m doing it to other people…but yeah, I get your point.”

“Yeah, there’s just too many people going “Oh, I’ve diagnosed myself with schizophrenia or PTSD” or whatnot. I mean, sure, maybe that’s the problem, but if that is the case then maybe you should get it checked out by, say, someone who actually knows what they’re talking about?”

I thought of the girls at school who talked about struggling with depression before sniggering about someone who had scars on her arms. “Yeah, I get what you mean,” I said sadly.

“Really? Because I just looked back on what I said and thought “Wow, what an asshole.”

I laughed. “Nah, it’s okay. You’ve got a point, some people tend to make things like this become a trend. It’s hard to know what’s real and what’s an actual illness nowadays. It’s the truth.”

“Yeah, well, I guess you’ve got a point.”

“Hey, you’re the one who said it.”

We entered the cafe, he offered me the comfy booth seat and ordered his lunch; deep friend squid, beer and cheesecake. “Want one?”

“Nah. I can have icecubes.” I slipped one in my mouth and crunched down on it.

“Oh yeah, that’s right, you’re what, sixteen?”

I stuck my tongue out at him. “Seventeen. And I don’t even like drinking anyway.”

“So you have drank?”

“Once in Europe on a cruise,” I confirmed. “But it tasted like crap.”

“You’ll probably change your mind at some point,” he said. “Everyone does. It usually comes with the knowledge that life is shit and that it’s nicer when you’re plastered.”

“Well, I’ll take your word for it. But yeah, based on everything that has happened these past few years, it’s probably better that I stay clean. I don’t wanna relapse.”

“Yeah, I guess you’ve got a point. Well, you’re smart enough to make your own decisions.”

I burst out laughing. “Yeah, no.”

“Well, you’re doing better than I did two years ago.” Strange Human took a sip of beer to prove his point.

Later on…

“Aww, why did I order cake?” Strange Human complained.

“Yeah…probably should’ve waited until you finished actual lunch before ordering dessert.”

“Hey, do I look like the sort of person that learns from life’s decisions?”

“Yeah, true.” I grinned at him cheekily.

“Hey!” He cracked up. “That’s not how this conversation’s meant to go. You were meant to reinforce the fact that I’m actually a good person and make me feel better about myself!”

“Yeah. I wanted to see your reaction though. Humans are funny.”

“Hey, you’re one of us. Get used to it.”

I shrugged.

“Now, do you want this cheesecake? It would be a shame for it to go to waste.”

“It’s okay, I’m fine for food.”

“Pleaaaaaase? Wait, let me sell you this cheesecake.” He held it up to his face and smiled seductively.

I covered my face with my hand. “Oh god, don’t,” I giggled. It didn’t help things that he looked like Byakuya Togami from Dangan Ronpa and actually could’ve passed as a cheesecake model. “C’mon! You’re taking advantage of the fact that I’m a complete idiot when it comes to laughing!”

“Everyone hates how they laugh,” he replied, still modelling with the cheesecake.

I groaned. “If I eat it, will you stop?”

“Yes please.”

“Fine.” He held out the spoon and I took it. “Meanie. Now my face is red.”

“Shush and eat.”

I stuck out my tongue.

Even later…

“Tell me something interesting about yourself.”

“…ummmmmmm.”

“C’mon. There’s gotta be something.”

“Weeeeeeeell, to be honest, most of the interesting stuff about me….also happens to be in the same sorta category as depressing stuff.”

“Oh…now I feel bad, can I give you a hug?”

“Yeah, okay.” He moved over to the booth seat and put his arm around me. Then he brought his beer over to my side of the table. “Was that just so that you could sit in the comfy seat?”

“What? Awww, I’m not that bad a human being!”

“Yeah, I know. Just teasing.”

“Meanie.” He elbowed me. Which resulted in an elbow off which lasted about ten minutes.

Finally….

“I need to go home,” I told him.

“Where do you go from here?”

“Oh, I just need to go to the bus station.”

“Cool, do you mind if I walk you? I need to go to the train station anyway.”

“Oh yeah, you live in Thornlie. Yeah…if you want.”

We paid the bill, well, he paid the bill, and we walked out. “I thought of something kinda sort of interesting,” I volunteered.

“Oh?”

“I made my ball dress for my school ball.”

“Oh nice! What does it look like?”

“I….uh….it’s…I dunno!”

“Well, I’ll probably understand the technical terms if that makes it easier.”

“Oh yeah, you’re a fashion photographer. Okay….yeah, it really doesn’t. I’m not good with…verbalising things.”

“Fair enough.”

“I’ve gotta pick it up on Monday anyway. Chances are you’ll end up seeing it anyway.”

“Cat!” A girl’s voice called out.

I waved back. “Hey Elle!”

“Hi random human!” Togami called back. I cracked up. “Who’s she?”

“Oh, she’s a friend of mine. She’s pretty nice. Her boyfriend doesn’t like me though. Not that I care.”

“Oh? Is he an ex?”

“God no.”

“Then what is he?”

“Oh, just someone who slept with my ex.”

“You’re a lesbian?”

“Nope,” I replied. He thought for a moment. “Think it through.”

“Ohhhhhhh.”

At bus stop…

“So you’re starting Monday?” Togami asked.

“Yup. Monday Wednesday and Friday, till I get assigned.”

“Well I’ll see you then.” He gave me a hug and let go. He frowned at me. “Are you single by any chance?”

“Um, yeah.” I looked down. “For a pretty good reason too. Because I’m mad.”

Togami looked at me for a moment before leaning in and kissing me on the cheek. “It was nice meeting you,” he told me.

“…thanks. You too.” I stepped onto the bus. “I’ll see you Monday,” I told him. He waved and started walking to the train station.

So that was the cause of my anxiety flare up. Because the only reason I could see a human showing interest in me in that manner was because they were Ted Bundy and they were going to rape and torture me. Or sell me into human trafficking. Or something BAD.

Goddammit.

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