University is a rabbit hole of emotional moments and a wonderland of brave people. These things are what my time at university has been measured by, because they make us feel alive even when we’re at our most vulnerable. To be extraordinary as a person, is to be completely ordinary.

I’ll tell you about one extraordinary person. A brilliant, kind, and utterly charming man…

Love, sex and relationships are a massive part of university life. Our past experiences can, a lot of times, teach us valuable lessons for the future. And when we talk about the love aspect, university taught me that there are always three types of love. The soulmate kind; glancing over at each other nervously in the library one day then the next you are moving into a flat in Battersea with a golden retriever named Sandy. The platonic kind; finding the best friendships from awkward one-night stands, or in the empty classroom on the first day. And the self-love kind; to be unapologetically yourself whether it be with a pink mohawk and a leather bra studying biochemistry or making bracelets and writing books in cafes. I wanted all three types of love, as we all probably do, but then along came him.

For months, my friends tried to convince me into dating apps but I’m too old fashioned for that. After the stories from my grandparents, and reading romance novels, my expectations were too high for Tinder. So, naturally, I accepted I was going to be alone.

It was like a scene from a film. There he stood; a tall, grey-eyed, glasses-wearing boy. You just knew he was timelessly handsome.

The platonic love came first. We regularly went for drinks under the last of summer sun, even when the seasons changed. But the laughter never faded; it was infectious, the kind where your cheeks hurt. Our mates joined, exchanging the embarrassing drunk tales of stuff we’d done only the other day, to talking about economics, to waging bets. He seemed like the most knowledgeable man I’d ever met. He spoke with such a manner you were completely engrossed. The time had come, just like in all friendships, the deep stuff; the type your apprehensive to know but once you do, you adore them even more.

We all struggle to keep it together sometimes, especially with how differentiated our individual mental health is and the problems we put on the backburner, only to be recognised when we truly hit rock bottom. But there are people, which I didn’t believe either, in whom we can confide in even with a binbag full of trust issues. He was one of those people. How terrifyingly relieving to tell someone about your trauma and still be marvelled at, as the same person. Seeking validation from someone who became to matter was a concept I’d never really thought of, but fleeting moments of vulnerability turned into hours of acceptance. That’s when the self-love came. I was the realest and truest version of me, something I sought after for years, and for that I will be forever grateful to him.

Then came the soulmate kind. Just one moment, that I sometimes wish didn’t happen, changed everything. There was no extravagant love gesture, no letter, no final conversation, just one look. One of life’s last true gentleman, smiling at me, and my heart just burst. I remember thinking ‘so this is what it’s supposed to feel like’.

And then the sorrow hit. This would be the only secret I’d keep disguised because I couldn’t afford to lose him, but for him it’d only be a matter of time before he took another leap into his extraordinary life – and I became moment in time.

So, yeah, I had all those types of love.

For what it’s worth, be brave, be bold, and tell someone you love them in whichever way you do, because we are against the clock! Time stops for no one.

To be extraordinary is to fall in love blindly, to love them from afar, and to simply value their presence in your life, even if it is a friend. But to be extraordinary, also means to not be sure of your feelings, to ceaselessly aspire to be brave and change your life, all the while having someone to support you, even if it is friend.  

We find jealously in curiosity, lifelessness in the things we hold, only to be revived when it really matters.

The story is still to end…how ordinary you may think it is. But how extraordinary it really felt.

Dedicated to the bravest man I had the pleasure of knowing.

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