A Solitary Island

The girl, lets call her Debra, had a perfectly fine life. A nice room in a nice flat, a family that loved her, a decent graduate job, a boyfriend, and good health. Debra was known for being silly and self-conscious at times but overall she seemed like a happy person. She was fair skinned, blonde, pretty with a good body. Colleagues would describe her as ‘highly motivated’ and a girl that ‘always looked on the bright side’.


All in all, she was categorised as normal.


Debra was often a couple of minutes late for work. Debra would tell her colleagues: ‘I just slept through my alarm again. It’s so weird; I couldn’t sleep last night. I think I need to replace my mattress.’


Except that was a lie.


At night Debra would go to her flat, make spaghetti for one, go to her room, put something on Netflix and eat in bed. She’d continue watching for hours, not really enjoying the program, wishing she was outside, wishing she had the confidence to go outside alone. Debra lived in the capital city: London. Her friends from other cities would tell her she was crazy; there was a lot to do out there ‘go out and explore!’ Or Debra’s favourite was: ‘How can you be bored in London? When you’re bored of London, you’re bored of life’.


When it was around 10:00pm she would shower, return to her bed and look at Facebook and Instagram for an hour. Everyone is so happy. Everyone has so many friends, Debra would think scrolling through pictures of people she vaguely knew smiling. No one looked lonely. No one was lonely.


At 11pm she would try and go to sleep, but first she would check one last time if her boyfriend has text her back yet – but no. Even her own boyfriend didn’t like her.


Debra would then flick her lamp switch off and lay on her back for hours, willing sleep, willing an escape from the emptiness. Alas, no. Her mind would explore many subjects:


a) Why was she suddenly friendless? People-less? No one text her, or replied to her messages. She was alone in the world and was desperate for just one person to want to talk to her.


b) Had she always been boring? Debra was popular at school, played netball for her school team, and was able to get any boy she wanted then. But now no one cared to talk to her. Best friends slowly died away. Debra thought this was because they got boyfriends and didn’t have time for her anymore – or that they lived far from her and lost contact. At night Debra realised it was her. She was boring and that was why she had no friends.


c) If she suddenly died would anyone notice? Debra wondered. Her flatmates wouldn’t; they keep themselves to themselves. She supposed work would, and maybe her mum. That made Debra feel slightly better but also worse on the days that Debra considered killing herself.


d) Why did Debra struggle with every boyfriend she had ever had? She envied her friends who spent every day with their boyfriends, moved in together, and got married. Debra’s current, and past boyfriends, always lost interest after a while. They would see her once a week at most, squeezing her in-between boys nights out and fun things they’d do without her in the day. At present Debra had broken up with five of her boyfriends for this very reason. Was it so hard for her to be number one in someone’s life? When she saw her boyfriend Mike last he was hungover from a night out with his friends. Debra was feeling low so he told her to come round. When she got there they went straight to bed. Ten minutes later he was fast asleep. Debra laid next to him wide awake wondering whether there was a point to life. She wanted company, to feel wanted, needed even. Her insides were hollow.


Her bed was an island – a solitary island.


Then, she would sleep.


Her alarm would go off. She’d press snooze until it was 8:15am, giving her 15 minutes to get ready. In sleep she forgot about everything; she was at peace. It was almost like she was dead.


Debra would then stumble into work at 9:32am. 2 minutes late.


‘Sorry I’m late. I slept through my alarm again. It’s so weird; I couldn’t sleep last night. I definitely need to replace my mattress.’


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