For a long time it's just been me, my art, and my meds. But that was before my classmate Alfred dragged me to a coffee shop. That was before I talked to the anons. That was before the muddy waters of my depression started to clear.


3. Insomnia

Have you ever woken up at the asscrack of dawn, fucking tired, but unable to fall asleep? I'm just lying in my bed, looking out the window, at the blurry stars. I can hear Yao's breathing, and Gilbert's snores from the other end of the room.

Because of light pollution, there are few stars left. I find the North Star, and trace out Ursa Major. She used to be a nymph called Callisto, turned into a bear by Hera.

Sagittarius. The immortal centaur Chiron, shot by an arrow tipped with Hydra poison. He gave up his immortality and took the place of Prometheus. You know, getting his insides ripped out by a vulture.

I smile grimly. I'm not the only one with a screwed up life, at least.

I stand up and make my way to the bathroom. I have two razors. One's the one I use for shaving. The other's my backup razor, the old school kind that looks like a folding knife. I haven't used it in a long time...

I go back to bed and stare at the ceiling for god knows how long... until I either fell back asleep or it all blended together.

The morning sun is nothing more than Satan's flashlight. If I didn't love the stars so much, I would've never taken the window bed.

I roll out of bed and change into these old black skinny jeans. There's a My Chemical Romance t-shirt sitting in the back of my closet, something I've been meaning to wear, but I'm too much of a coward to show my old scars. Instead, I grab a hoodie I got from the Bolshoi Theatre, back when my dad was alive and we went on some trip to Russia.

"Did you take your meds?" Yao asks as I trudge down the hallway. He's wearing a button up, like for an interview or a date or something.

"Of course, you don't see me slashing my neck with a butter knife."

I know he's trying to help me, but he shouldn't stress himself over someone who he'll forget about next year.

"Have a good-"

I close the door as he says 'day'. The best days I have are ones that don't end in me doing some depressing shit. Those are rare.

Usually, I walk alone on my way to the Arts and Sciences building. But today, Alfred runs up and tackles me into a hug. I'm really not one for human contact, but with him, it feels like he's trying to spread around that sunny nature of his.

"Heey, dude, you ready for that test? I'm sure as hell not."

"What? You let me borrow your notebook even though you didn't study?"


I swat his head. "You shouldn't do that."

He pouts. "Even for you?"

I shake my head "Don't even."

He sticks his tongue out at me. "Too bad. I wanna." Then he kisses my cheek and runs off, leaving me at the side of the road, with my hand on my face.

"... What."

 I think I'm blushing. Am I? When I look over at Alfred, he's looking away from me, but I see that his ears are red.

 After the test, I'm walking out of the lecture hall listening to the dark tones of ‘Paint it, Black'. I find it amusing how the Rolling Stones see depression. I feel the darkness, but not the need to bring anyone down with me. It's sitting inside me like the calm before the storm, and I'm just waiting for the rain to fall.

"Dude, you're like Hima's Dylan MacIntyre." Alfred's still blushing a little.


"What?! He's like The Thing on Quora! You're totally like him. Emo vibes, listening to music, long sleeves, whatever."

"I don't use Quora..."

He pats my shoulder. "No wonder, you poor, internet-deprived cinnamon roll. Go look him up."

I smile, just a little. "Remind me later." I say, quietly, before walking away.

There's a visual arts class in the same building, something I've signed up for but never actually attended in weeks, mostly because the French guy kind of scares me. His name's Francis, and I guess he's pretty nice, but he can be crazy at times... Anyway, I left my art stuff back at the dorm, but maybe I could find some peace in the studio.

The studio is a beautiful place, on the top floor of the building. There's a floor to ceiling window with a view of the campus, and we get access to the roof if we want to paint the sky. Wooden easels are stacked in the corner, people setting up their workspace in a way that you have to weave through plots of stools and canvases. It feels so different from my room, with me scribbling out something on my tablet.

The best thing, though, is that it calms my nerves. No obnoxious German roommates slamming the door, or psych majors nagging you about your condition. If I wasn't so depressed, I could say it makes me happy... Except for Francis.

Francis Bonnefoy is your typical Frenchman. Art perfectionist, dirty jokes, and probably a good cook. He's a nice person, if a little touchy feely, but he's scary when going through one of what we call his 'Napoleon Phases'. The food strike that happened last month? That was him. The French Revolution-type flash mob? You guessed it. He actually managed to make a historically accurate Guillotine, though that was probably also because of that large-eyebrowed Brit I see him annoying at times. Nobody died except for a few pigeons, at least.

So rule of thumb, if you're a depressed little shit, you'd stay away from the crazy stuff that happens on campus and its perpetrators.

I manage to pull up a stool and some art supplies to the window before he decides to start annoying me.

"Ah, Ivan, it's been some time since I've seen you, non? How have you been?"

I crack my knuckles. "Fine."

"I'm not so sure about that, mon ami. There is an aura of saudade about you."

"It's called toska in Russian. The feeling of spiritual anguish, whatever, right?"

He laughs. "Like the French artist who slash and burns his art."

"I'm surprised that's not you..."

"No, I'm too fabulous for that."

We were pretty good friends for a while, before I got too freaked out over his Napoleon Phases. Now I just sit by the window, sketching out the form of flying birds, while he paints a variation of Liberty Leading the People.

Tempest-tossed islands, seasons all the same
Anchorage unpainted, a ship without a name

"This is for long forgotten light at the edge of the world... Horizon crying, the tears he left behind long ago~" I sing quietly, almost like a whisper, completely alone.

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