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.


2. You

And so Alfred dragged me to the Starbucks across the street. "Yeah, man, did you know you can get a butterbeer frap? Fucking awesome."

"I'm really more of a tea person..."

He pauses "Woah, don't tell me you're British. Ivan, right?"

I pull on the sleeves of my sweatshirt. "Yeah... Originally, I'm from Manhattan. My mom's Russian, and my dad was from one of those Northern countries."

"Cool. What're you gonna have?"

"... Green tea latte."

"Pfft, boring. Imma try the Nitro cold."

I stare at him. "In October ?"

"Hey, I don't really go here often. Hey, what's Arktida?" He points at my hoodie.

"Metal band."

Alfred's from the DC area. He's basically a stereotypical American. You know, burgers and football, that stuff. He's obsessed with Marvel and anime, and is currently interested in sort of space major. He has a twin brother named Matthew, who plays for Hima's hockey team. He lives in the Gentosha building, same one as mine, with his Danish roommate. Yeah, he's friends with Gilbert. No, he didn't smash the vodka bottle. For some reason he wants to know more about me. I'm sort of weirded out, but he seems pretty nice.

"So what do you do in your spare time?"

"I used to do ice hockey and ballet. Now it's just art."

"Woah, can I see your art? I can't draw."

He probably isn't expecting your depressing-ass works. "I don't like showing it to anyone."

"Aww, please?"


"Wait, wait, hold on, you did ballet? You don't seem like the type..."

The depressed lose interest in hobbies. I'm not telling why I did, though. "Stuff came up."

"You should've continued." He grins brightly. "You'd be pretty sexy in a black leotard. Just, I dunno, trim your hair a little and get new glasses. Those guys are, like, falling apart."

My pale blonde hair is at that length where it's kind of long for a guy, but still really short for a girl. My bangs are hanging down and covering my eyes, so I should probably get a haircut or something. But I don't have the energy to. My glasses are understandable, though. The Ray-Bans are taped in four different places, but the lenses are still miraculously in good shape.

I sip my tea latte. "I really don't know why I'm keeping these glasses." I know completely why I should get rid of them, but people'll ask about my purple eyes, and 'they used to be blue' will just wind down into more shit.

"No worries, man. I'll go with you to get a new pair." Alfred grabs my glasses. "Holy fuck, that is so cool. How did I not notice you had purple eyes?"

"They were originally blue..."


Bless his soul for being so clueless. "Yeah." I lie.

All of the sudden he bolts up "Fuck, dude, I gotta run to my next class. What's your number?"

"Two zero two, five five five, zero one two six."

"Cool. See ya!"


The walk back to Gentosha is cold and lonely, insert more depressing poetic stuff here. But seriously, I'm walking a lonely road not wearing anything under my hoodie. Worst idea ever, Vanya.

Once I'm in my dorm, I eat my share of what was intended as breakfast. It usually happens that way. I don't eat what Yao made in the morning, then in the span of Astronomy class and some other random shit I feel guilty and eat it anyway. Cold rice porridge tastes horrible, but I'm too tired to go heat it up.

I proceed to fight a cold war with Photoshop and my drawing tablet... Or maybe I'm just using the wrong file type. Screw it, I can just use one of my old, unposted works. I'm talking to Ame.

Are you there?

He replies a few minutes later.

yeah wat up

Nothing much I just wanna talk...

sure i have time what about?

I dont know... Have you ever felt nothing? Like, your best friend could die and you feel sad, but you're barely aware of it...

wow so poetic, but no. y u ask?

Nothing in particular.

u ok?

Rhetorical question. No, Ame, I'm on antidepressants. How am I ok?

I'm ok

thats good 2 kno :)

Uh... IDK what music do you like?

lol i listen 2 a lot of stuff

but i rly like my chemical romance

I haven't listened to them but I've heard they're pretty good.

I listen to stuff like Nightwish and Green Day. 'The Poet and The Pendulum' is currently blasting in my ears.

yeah green days pretty good.

have you been on my blog?

r u gay?

What kind of question is that

sry just wanna know

No, I haven't really been on your blog. 

ok thats good it would be sort of weird if u did

You don't look at nudes of your new acquaintance. Common sense. But that was kind of out of the blue...

yeah lol

I like you a lot. In a completely platonic way as of now.

as of now? ;)

I roll my eyes. You never know.

I guess Gilbert creeped up behind me or something. "Hey, Vodka Emo, you're going with me."

No, Gilbert. I'm not going anywhere with you. "No thanks."

"Aw, c'mon! Matthias owes me fifty dollars and I need moral support!"

You're talking to somebody who wears long sleeves not because he's cold, but because he has old cut scars on his wrists. Get somebody else.

"Nah, you're going with me anyways. I'll drag you out if I have to." I really don't know if he did that to annoy me...

I type out a sort of farewell to my Tumblr mutual.

Hey, Ame I have to go.

thats cool c u later

Gilbert drags me to a room down the hall and starts kicking the door. "Open up, dude! I want my money!"

This tall guy with messy blonde hair opens the door. "Sheesh, Gil, I'm poor."

"You've got to have fifty dollars somewhere. I won that fucking bet!"

I leave the two scrubs to fight it out.There's a lot of photography equipment in the corner. Alfred's sitting at a desk working on some random stuff, which seems really coincidental until I remember he's Gilbert's friend. So Matthias must be the Danish roommate. Then the other guy sitting on one of the beds... Is my cousin Lukas.

I should probably explain my family a little. My mom's name is Yelena Arlovskaya, and she immigrated from the USSR some shit long time ago. My dad's name was Erik Braginsky. He was from one of those Nordic countries, but somehow wound up with the Russian surname. He went to the US for college or something. They had me, Yekaterina, and Natalia. My dad had a twin brother, Uncle Leif. Uncle Leif's kids are my cousins Tino, Lukas, and Emil. Their last names are different because my aunt's a feminist, so they were the Bondeviks, not the Braginskys. We used to be pretty close, but then my dad died. Some drunk guy just barreled into his car. His chest got crushed. We kind of drifted apart, and interaction between me and my uncle's family became nonexsistent. So I had no fucking idea that Lukas would be going to Hima. Or that he has something to do with someone in this room.

Needless to say, it was really awkward. "So... Why are you here?"

Lukas maintains his perpetual poker face. He's like a robot. "I applied and they accepted me. Why else?"

"No, I mean here in this dorm."

He raises an eyebrow. "I may or may not be dating that Danish idiot."

"You're gay? Does Uncle Leif know you're dating someone?"

"Are you a homophobe?"

Homophobes are the reason why I'm all fucked up, Lukas. You should know. Oh wait, dad died and you broke off contact with us before we could tell you.

I'm not going to dignify that question with an answer, so instead I go ask Alfred for his notes.

"Dude, your dad died? Sorry about that..."

I shake my head. "I've mostly gotten over it. Can I copy your notes?"

He throws his notebook at me.

"Thanks. I'll return them later."

“Give them back to me tomorrow, you can keep it overnight."

"Are you sure? We have that test tomorrow..."

Alfred smiles. "I can risk a C. You probably need help, though. Half the time I see you napping in the back of the room."

"True... Thanks, I guess."

"No prob, dude." I think I saw him wink at me? It's kind of cute...

I go over to Gilbert and Matthias. Gilbert's holding the fifty dollars like he's Rafiki and the money's Simba. "Come on. You got your money and I need my godammed sleep."

That's a partial lie. It's hard for me to fall asleep, even if I'm tired. Fucking stupid depression stuff, I guess.

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