We slept in the same dorm room. It was a comfortable little structure, with wooden beams across the open ceiling, supporting the aluminium roof, which was red with rust and housing small birds. There were four double-decker beds on each long side of the wall, and one window fronted with grills. The walls were light blue. So was the door and the one window, as was the wont in high school dormitories. She slept on the left side near the exit, I slept further in, on the right, near the window. She was built squat, with a cheery smile and an open face. Fairly along in physical development. Unlike some of us who looked like we never even heard of that bus. But we didn’t become friends until Form 3.
I was painfully bad at social interactions. It was very difficult for me to carry on a typical one on one with just about anyone. I had crippling social anxiety. One that you couldn’t hide it felt like a built-in warning on my head. I was so quiet even I wondered what was wrong with me. She, on the other hand, was something of a loud mouth. She never ran out of things to say she spoke a mile a minute. As I watched from the side, I used to sigh and think about how I could never feel any pressure to go back and forth in conversation with her. Not with a mouth like that. My role would be to listen. And I had that skill in spades. Could do that without even thinking. Continue reading “RAYLIN”