The story so far: Despite her timid nature, Bianca wants to go abroad. Her kiss with housemate Filippo further complicates the matter.
As soon as she started talking, Bianca felt the tears welling up. ‘Why am I such a scaredy cat?’ she asked sobbing. She was sitting next to Ellen on the IKEA sofa. Their cups of tea were going cold. In the past few years half her circle of friends had taken off, venturing all over the world to do voluntary work, burrowing into termite mounds or counting bloody birds in bloody Borneo. All of them fearless and sure of themselves. She only had to send off a job application and she was a blubbing mess. Why was that?
‘Do you think I put all my crying fits in my blog?’ retorted Ellen. ‘We all put on a brave face when we are abroad. You only hear the Facebook version.’
‘But I haven't even left here and I'm already panicking.’
‘Sweetie, if it didn't give you butterflies in your stomach, why would you even be going?’
Bianca composed herself. She hadn't even told Ellen about Filippo. The kiss. It made everything even more complicated. What would it mean if she went away for a couple of months right now? Or if she stayed? She had not seen Filippo on his own yet and on the app she was being evasive. ‘We really need to talk soon’ was her mantra. She was playing for time; she had no idea what she wanted to say.
‘You have to ditch this train of thought,’ said Ellen. ‘We don't even know for certain whether you're going. And once you can, you'll still have to arrange a room and flights. When that's all done, you have my permission to run around like a headless chicken, panicking all you like.’ Bianca laughed involuntarily.
‘Okay, and now I want to hear the latest KSV gossip,’ said Ellen firmly. She made some fresh tea and Bianca felt her mood lightening.
A little while later, as she was getting on her bike, she heard her phone ring. An email. From the project she had applied to. Without opening it, she got on her bike. But two streets later, all fingers and thumbs, she stopped and got off her bike to open it. Scanning the text she hit the word 'accepted'. Feeling a little stunned, she cycled on.
There's no need to cry, she chided herself. Her ten-minute bike ride calmed her down and to her own surprise the decision was clear. Of course she would go. Now all she had to do was talk. Really talk.