The night I dropped my phone in a dirty club toilet
The night that changed my life forever.
The date was the 15th of December, and I'd just received my final year results, the exact results I'd been hoping for in fact.
"Can I borrow a top?" I pleaded, peeking my head through my sister's bedroom door.
"Sure." She gathered some possibilities from her wardrobe. I pulled on a yellow crop top and a denim skirt, looking back, I can't think of a single occasion where I'd have the confidence to repeat this outfit, but tonight I was radiant. My sister posed me and took photos as I readied to step out the door, tucking my photo, ID and some cash into my bra. Dad drove me to the miniscule nightclub on the main strip of our small town, as I snapchatted Jordan, the boy I'd had a crush on for almost 2 years. Over the last few months, we'd become friends, going to his house to study, or sitting on swings at the nearby park eating ice-cream. Over the past week or two, our messages started ended with lowercase x's. Tonight I'd convinced him to come.
"You have to come, everyone's gonna be there! x" I'd pleaded, at his hestitant response, I'd said. "I don't wanna go if you're not going. I'll miss you xx" It was maybe my ballsiest move yet. My black converses clacked against the brick sidewalk as I approached the club, I immediately spotted him, standing about a foot taller than the rest of the crowd, in his favourite denim jacket. His curly brown hair was combed for once, and he'd made the effort to shave, something I hadn't seen since we finished school. His brown eyes caught on mine and he gave me this twinkling smile. An electric excitement ran between us. A knowing. Tonight is the night our lives collide, tonight is the last page of our first volume, and tomorrow a whole new story begins.
"Hi!" I approached the group, cutting in line to the frustration of the people behind me. I wrapped my arms around each of the boys, lingering around Jordan's waist.
"Are we celebrating or commiserating tonight?" I asked, they all dodged the question rather abashedly. I waved them away.
"You can't have done that bad." I offered. Myself, I was ecstatic. I had dropped out in year 10, my major depressive disorder and borderline personality disorder that I'd been battling for years had made me barely functional, let alone able to soak in the curriculum. I worked in childcare for a year, and crawled my way out of my illness on my hands and knees, then determinedly decided to go back to school. I told myself if I just made it through one term, that was a success. It was bloody hard and I took it one day at a time. After the first term though, something clicked. I found a love for science, I took up biology, then, I took on chemistry, something that I had never studied before, and everyone said was too hard for me. I took on harder maths subjects and began to thrive. I wanted to be a doctor. I pushed myself harder and harder, taking every opportunity that crossed my path, including almost every opportunity to party and muck around and make friends. I had made it, overcoming the challenges I'd deemed insermountable. I realised one day, I felt happy. I could feel happiness again. A tiny glimmer of light in the distance after years of swimming a sea of darkness. I just kept swimming towards the light until I could see clearly, and the darkness wasn't all consuming. Then this morning, I had opened my result, comforted by the knowledge that I had already won, and gotten the cherry on top for all my efforts.
Fuck. My phone hit the bottom of the toilet bowl with a clunk. I fished it out cringing, my head swimming from the effects of the liquor. The walls thudded with music and pleasantly drunk chatter sounded from the other girls in the bathroom.
I stumbled out and washed my hands with cheap pink handwash.
"Oh no! Did you drop your phone?" A bubbly blonde stranger asked as I wiped it dry.
"Yeah. I'm just glad I flushed first."
"Awww babe. Happened to me last week!" She engulfed me in a big hug, her hair tickling my face.
"Thanks." I said, stuffing the phone back in my pocket.
I walked down the hall from the bathroom and found Jordan leaning with an arm propped against the wall, forming an Ellen sized gap beneath it. A small group of three were chatting with him. I ducked under it, and wrapped my other arm around his waist. The group laughed at me, and cooed as he beamed down and pulled me in closer to him.
Time flowed by in a blur, broken by trips the the bar for more Jaegerbombs, a girl vomiting on my shoes and finally, a while after the group had dissipated, a kiss. Not just any kiss though. We both knew this was a lifechanging kiss. I don't remember what was said to lead up to the kiss, or what we were talking about just that last millisecond where he leaned down, angling his jaw to kiss me. That last second of my old life, my pre-Jordan life. This kiss was the final puzzle piece, in that moment, everything was perfect. I saw my whole life ahead of me, there was nothing else in the room, just him and me and the fireworks that exploded between us. If this were a video game, I'd gotten the good ending. I had made all the right choices, and it lead me here.
"Let's get out of here. I hate this place." I suggested. He nodded and we walked out into the warm night air towards the lookout.
He held me close to him as we peered out over the bay, waiting for my dad to arrive to pick me up.
"So I guess you'll be moving to Geelong for uni then." I say, there's a small pause as he looks down at me.
"I'm not going anywhere now." He kissed me so gently, and I knew he meant it.
"Good. I don't want you to go." I say, as my father pulls up in his white mazda down the hill. "You can come home with me if you want." I offer suggestively.
"I'd love to. But I won't." he says. I later learn that he ran the whole 8km back to his house. Fulled by the lingering Jaegerbombs and euphoria.
Jordan and I have now been together nearly 4 years and plan on staying together much longer. We have a puppy together, and a small business making pottery. Whenever he kisses me, I still feel the fireworks.
I never got into medical school. But that's okay.
Despite vigorious resus efforts involving rice, my phone didn't survive the plunge.
About the author
I am a 23-year-old Nursing and Midwifery student. I like to write reflections of my experiences in the healthcare industry. Disclaimer: All names have been changed, stories told are a combination of many experiences.