When I was 8, my teacher decided I was not socializing enough with my peers, so she called my mum and, together, they found a suitable friend for me – a girl in my class called June. The weird thing about her was that she had actually been born in June. I found that intriguing. I wondered if my life could have taken a different course, had my name been October. June was peculiar. Her hair was so blonde it seemed almost white. Her eyes had a curious shade of blue-green, like the ocean. She wasn’t very friendly towards other people, either. On our first play date, we spent two hours reading. She had brought a book with her. I can’t remember the title, but she seemed very into it, so I asked if I could borrow it one day. She looked at me, with no expression on her face whatsoever, and replied “no” with the flattest voice I’d ever heard. So I grabbed one of my books from the shelf and we started reading. Two hours of complete silence, except for the rumbling of the paper when we had to turn the page. When her mum came to pick her up, I walked her to the door. I watched her climbing in the car. She was staring at me from the window. She never smiled. That’s how we became friends. Or so I thought. We’d spend our time together reading. There was nothing but silence between us, a mute protest against forced socialization. Yet somehow, I felt we were very alike, June and me. It was like two cats finding each other, in a world of dogs. I was often wondering if she had the same thoughts as I did, the same little peculiarities. I had no idea, because she never talked to me. So one day, as we were laying on the floor of my room, reading our books, I looked up at her and said “I can’t go to the loo if I have my shoes on” There was no reaction, for a few moments. She was probably trying to finish her paragraph. Then she closed her book and looked up at me, with her emotionless face. “You’re weird” she said and, for the first time ever, her voice was not flat anymore. It had the tiniest hint of disgust in it. I stared into her eyes, into her deep, ocean-blue eyes and right there and then, I felt like I was drowning.
June changed schools the following term and for a while I was pretty convinced it was because of me. Even years later, when I found out the real reason – her parents’ divorce – I still couldn’t let go of the certainty that she had left because of me and my out of the blue confession. I never got to see her again, but her words stuck with me to this day. I’ve grown up feeling out of place, like one of Picasso’s paintings in a Renaissance museum. Always too exuberant, too out of line, too colorful, too difficult to understand, compared to those around me who seemed to have every little detail of their lives figured out. That made me feel both unique and unaccepted. That’s where my peculiarity nowadays comes from – the feeling of being two people at once. I’m both confident and utterly insecure, brilliant and ignorant, caring and malicious. I’m sure there’s a switch somewhere, to help me control the dominance of these two people living inside me, but I’m still looking for it. Welcome to my journey!