“The First Night”
Fiction. Based on a True First Night in Rome.
This journal entry is inspired by true events. Some of the characters, names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes. Any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional.
Trigger Warning: our program often motivates people to discuss their trauma. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, please, take a step back to address emotional flashbacks and trauma before continuing to push yourself. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or the National Suicide Hotline at (1-800) 273-8255.
The first night is always the worse for you. Once the sun fully sets, your mind’s eye awakens; the darkness comes lurking forward into your temporal lobe.
What have you done?
Lying in a hotel bed, the night life of Rome loud through the window, you stare at the ceiling. After travelling over 8 hours by plane, your body is exhausted. Your mind is wide awake.
It’s 10:44pm your time. It’s 4:44pm at home.
Earlier that day you walked the city streets a stranger in the midsts of a foreign language where yours might be loathed yet known by many. The language you are supposed to learn mocks you in the echoes of children’s exclamations and lovers flirting by the Trevi Fountain. Come now, it’s only night one.
With a quiet sigh, you heave your laptop onto the bed and the screen comes alive: bad poetry and a tumblr post romanticising the crisp sheets of hotel beds. All you can think of is how much you wish had an overhead fan.
You feel so American but more specifically different; a writer who can compose in Italian but stutters; a witch who was misplaced during the trials; a girl who can’t answer simple questions about her past; a woman who doesn’t feel like a woman.
Is this what home sickness feels like? If Murdock ever left Hell’s Kitchen would he forget himself?
You daydream of a city with your head resting on the pillow. You miss the streets lined with red, the double-decker buses just up ahead. It’s takes a moment to realise you miss the imperfections in the perfect, wearing mini-skirts not because of an Instagram photoshoot, for the joy of knowing that you belong here. You belong here.
In London you learned the truth of who you are then lost it in the pain of America. Let’s just say that a place is person and you look into their eyes to see that they are hurt. This is a wasted night spending time drinking tea instead of partying until your body rejects itself into the toilet. Don’t you love me? the streets whisper.
You’re happy to be here.
maybe not yet.
You should be happy to be here.
Patience, you will be soon.