The Crusoe complex

“All I want to be doing right now is standing in a river, in the sunshine,” I said, throwing my arms up to the fluorescent lights in the students’ union in misplaced merriment.

“A river?” Patrick said, wrinkling his nose. “I don’t want to hear anything about a river unless it’s made of alcohol.”

“A vodka river,” Lauren grinned. “Sounds like my kind of thing.”

I’m not sure this is even a real river. It looks too English and perfect

We had just finished our second to last exam, the revision for which had driven me so far into the murky depths of hysteria, fear and fatigue that I had taken to pressing my face against my bedroom window and trying to remember what wind felt like.

In the glorious comradeship of studenthood, my flat mates had been going equally loopy.

Alison had taken to inhabiting my bed with her laptop and a handful of satsumas to lessen the pain of reading poorly transcribed German theory.

“Remember in the second week of Fresher’s when we decided that if anyone asked in a club, we were studying either law or medicine?” Alison asked.

“Yes,” I laughed. “And you either gave the name Destiny or Brittany Lee-Anne. Funny what you can get away with when you speak with an American accent.”

“Yeah that was great. I can’t believe first year is almost over. It’s so sad.”

“Most people I’ve spoken to have said the second year is better,” I said hopefully.

“We’ll see.”

The truth is, the past few weeks of cabin fever has confirmed what a great group of girls I live with.

“Look at you all,” Ruth said on entering the kitchen yesterday. “Becca making her flat bread, Alison eating- oh, two puddings tonight, and you,” she grinned at me. “Eating a Cornetto. This sums up our entire flat life.”

“Do you only eat retro desserts?” Becca asked me, laughing. “You normally eat Fab lollies and you had a packet of pink wafer biscuits yesterday.”

“Yeah, they’re all gone,” I said. “Not purposely, I just like anything that’s vanilla, has sprinkles or contains ice cream.”

“So, anything that’s food,” Alison confirmed.

We made some jasmine tea and camped out in my room to watch Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

“I don’t know why Dumbledore bothers asking Harry if there’s anything he wants to tell him,” Alison said. “If he can perform Occlumency, then he already knows Harry can hear the Basilisk.”

“But he just wants Harry to confess to him,” I pointed out. “He wants Harry to know he can trust him. Only Harry can pull the sword of Gryffindor from the Sorting Hat.”

It was becoming increasingly clear that our Potter knowledge had reached unforeseen nerd levels. I told my mum earlier that day on the phone that I had to go so I could finish our Potter marathon. I could hear my dad’s laughter from three rooms away.

There’s nothing funny about Tom Riddle

“Who are we going to make vegan lemon and rosemary cake with next year?” I mused sadly.

“We’ll have to meet for meals once a month,” Alison said. “Nobody loves falafel like we do.”

It was funny how at the beginning of the year, I wanted to spend most nights clubbing. Now I look forward to listening to the food programme and making pastry in the kitchen with 99p jam.

We decided that when our exams were over in a few weeks we would go river hiking, so dubbed by Alison. This mainly entails wading over slippery rocks and avoiding the stares of passers-by, clearly suspicious of why teenage girls are choosing to spend their time grabbing hold of wild garlic and getting mud between their toes.

Alison and I had spent a rare afternoon of sunshine doing this very thing only a couple of weeks ago.

“I spent my entire childhood doing this,” I said. “I spent my life either up a tree or in a river.”

“Me too,” Alison said. “The best holidays were in the middle of nowhere, where this was the only option for entertainment.”

I grinned. “I think my dad was always more excited than we were to find a new lake swing.”

I promptly fell onto a tree while Alison tried to coax a passing dog into the river to join her. He wasn’t having any of it.

Our adventure was undermined somewhat when we stopped for ice cream at a nearby park and the owner asked if we wanted paper towels for our feet.

“Are you girls okay?” she wanted to know, eyeing the trainers slung across our backs. “Did you fall in?”

“No, we’re fine thank you,” I said. I felt like Robinson Crusoe being greeted from sea with a packet of baby wipes and an aspirin.

There are two weeks left before the end of the year. I have one exam left and revision hysteria is at it’s maximum. My sister, suffering a similar fate, spent an hour’s Skype call this afternoon laughing wildly and falling off her chair.

It can only get better from here.

So perhaps the Crusoe comparison was a little far-fetched

Images courtesy of Google


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