The Volcano

I’ve always seemed to like volcanoes—how they explode.

No. Erupt. That’s the word.

My favourite volcano is Agung in Indonesia; however, Mount Ruapehu in New Zealand is a close second.

The fact that something so docile one minute can be so aggressive the next just seems so intriguing to me.

I have had this obsession since I was about ten.

Now being seventeen, and a bit more self-aware, I think I might know the reason why I like
volcanoes so much.

They remind me of me.

***

I remember coming out of the Doctor’s office that day after school two years ago. I was expecting Mum to be shocked.

But she saw this coming.

‘Well, in that case …’ she began to say whilst walking toward the family Volvo.

‘I know Mum! God.’

As you might expect, it was a long and quiet drive back home.

When the car pulled into the driveway, Mum turned off the ignition. She put her arms out as if to catch me from falling.

I just looked at her and got out of the car.

There was a murmur just outside my bedroom. I could hear Mum relaying back to Dad what the Doc-tor said.

‘It’s either we go back the same time next week and he gets Lithium that the Doctor prescribes, that he must take three times a day with his meals, or we go see a Psychiatrist.’

I remember the next week was the beginning of one of my manic phases. I can’t remember much, but I do remember being thankful that we did get the medication just in time.

The Psychiatrist was just too expensive.

***

It may come as no surprise, but I aspire to be a geologist when I finish school. I like my sciences, which is fortunate as one needs a science background to become successful in the field.

I do have difficultly focusing at school sometimes though, especially in my depressive periods. Although I have not been diagnosed with ADHD, it’s almost like I may as well have.

Like all teenagers, I have a crush or two and a friend or two. However, I don’t think the girls I have a crush on like me back. They probably think I’m weird with this bipolar disorder thing I have, and my obsession with volcanoes.

That’s a similarity, I guess.

There is this one girl though. Her name is Lily.

She keeps sitting next to me in Biology class.

She might like me.

I don’t know if she knows that I can erupt like a volcano at any moment.

But only time will tell.

‘Hey Tim,’ she said to me one day in class. ‘How are you?’

This was during one of my depressive phases, so talking to her woke me up a bit.

‘Well thanks, Lily.’

I felt like saying something else; however, that was the precise moment when Mr Thompson began the class.

It sort of just went like this every class until Lily popped the question.

‘How would you like to come over to my house after school and practice for the exam with me?’

I didn’t know what to say

‘So? Yes or no Tim? It’s not a hard question!’

‘Sure,’ I said.

She didn’t seem convinced.

‘Are you sure you want to come?’

‘Yeah. It’ll be good.’

She gave me the biggest, most beautiful smile.

***

If you’re wondering, Lily and I got on just fine.

After a while of studying for our SACs and final exams, she asked me if I wanted to go to the shop-ping mall one Saturday.

‘Sure. Saturday is my birthday! Even better!’

I did feel happy and excited that day—the day of the date.

You would be too, wouldn’t you?

That day, however, was the start of a manic period. I was about to erupt.

I hadn’t taken my medication for a while. I thought that I didn’t need it when I was with her. She calmed me down.

On second thought, maybe I did need my medications.

I met her at the mall, with all this nervous energy.

She gave me a hug. If anything, this made me more energetic.

‘Shall we?’

I nodded.

The feeling in my body had changed since the day before.

I had erupted.

I wasn’t as happy as I was then.

We walked past various shops and took a seat at the Pizzeria. I could feel myself wanting to start a spending spree. Then I realised it would look bad on my part; I would look crazy in front of Lily. Well, crazier than she already thinks I am.

Not only that, but it was also my parent’s money. I was really trying to do my best at school and only focuson studying, so I didn’t want to muck that up with working a part-time job and getting my own money.

Were those valid points?

You can decide for me if you like. You’re the one reading my story after all.

‘Hello? Anybody in there?’ said Lily.

It turned out that I had been stuck in my head, fretting the points longer than I anticipated.

I looked up, to find the waitress there, smiling.

‘Would you like a bit more time to order?’

***

I walked Lily back to the bus stop after our pizza and soft drinks.

I just loved the way she walked with me.

‘You enjoying yourself, Tim?’

‘You bet I am! It’s been a very fun day!’

I said this sentence so fast, that a fly couldn’t understand me.

‘I can tell’.

She smiled at me, then held my hand.

We continued like this until we arrived at the bus stop.

It felt like forever, sitting there, waiting.

Until I found myself with my eyes closed and Lily’s lips touching mine.

This seemed to speed up the process!

‘Woo-hoo!’

I jumped up, with my hands in the air.

‘Come on Tim! Sit back down! You don’t want the bus driver thinking that you are crazy!’

Lily stood up and gave me another quick kiss as we saw the bus approaching.

‘I’ll see you on Monday?’

‘You sure will Tilly. I mean Lily’.

I was so flustered. I couldn’t even say her name properly.

***

Our last exam was a few weeks before our results came out.

Lily had come over on the day, trying to avoid her results.

She was so nervous about it.

I was too.

That was until I found out mine.

I was over the moon.

‘I got into a Bachelor of Science at Melbourne!’

Lily, Mum, Dad, and I ran and formed a group hug.

I was about to run out onto the street to tell the world, but Mum pulled me back inside.

It was the beginning of another one of my manic episodes, right at the end of a depressive one. So she was afraid that I’d run amuck.

We were all jumping up and down, all excited about where life would take me.

A young man. Full of potential.

Like a hot volcano, ready to erupt.

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