“The battery died,” I say in a monotone voice to my mom over the phone.
I hear her sigh because she knew this was going to happen and she wishes that we had all been more attentive to the car before I made a nine-hour trip to live in a small town on my own. But she can’t do anything now. I am 450 miles away from her.
“Well I can’t say what I want to say,” she says, which only affirms my suspicion of her feelings. She sighs again. “Okay, you’re going to have to jumpstart it.”
I would not be opposed to defibrillating the Camry if a) the instructions from the battery charger thing did not emphasize the danger of doing so incorrectly, b) if I had any idea what the heck I was doing, and most importantly c) if I had someone with me.
My mom adopts her teaching voice (matter-of-fact, clear and just a bit more commanding than usual) as she instructs me on what to do. There is much back and forth between us as I stall this task that, I admit, intimidates me. Especially since the makers of my car battery seem to have deemed positive and negative symbols for the bolts as extraneous – despite that being the difference between a safe jumpstart and, you know, an explosion-induced death.
I know that my mom can hear the anxiety in my voice because she quickly switches from teacher mode to mother mode.
“You can do it,” she reassures me softly. She really is the most caring and, more importantly at this moment, patient mother.
“I just…” I’m about to say something that I don’t honestly think I’ve ever thought to myself, let alone admitted aloud to someone else. “I want help.”
There are many times that I exasperatedly spew out, “I need help” because I do have the awareness to realise when I’m in need of something. It’s usually with affairs as trivial as beating a level on Majora’s Mask or finding a certain pair of jeans in the Levi’s database. But it is always done with a reluctant, begrudging tone.
To admit that I was not only in need of help, but that I wanted it… This is the first time in the three weeks since I made my trek up here that the distance is establishing itself as a tangible matter.
I’m not just 450 miles from my bed or my GameCube or my Vampire Weekend sweatshirt that I forgot to pack. 450 miles lie between myself and the people I am familiar enough with to pester with my problems. It’s not just companionship that I’m beginning to crave; it’s knowing that I can just trot downstairs for my parents, or jog around the corner for my aunt, or drive five minutes for my friends. Here, I have no one to ask for help – no one who I’m not afraid of being deemed a moron by, in any case.
When I quietly plead to my mom that I want help, I think she knows that for the first time I’m admitting to loneliness. Yes, friends, despite my Sims, my Tumblr-trolling, my hours of Arrested Development, and even the phone and Skype calls with all of you back home, there are moments when even I can’t distract myself from the lack of physical bodies to surround me.
I’m used to being alone, but this loneliness is something that I have to get used to.