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Like Dusk and Dawn

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They share the same dorm room, but they’re nothing alike.

 

Elena, Linda thinks, is a real beam of sunshine who won’t stop brightening everyone’s days as she comes across them, even if they’ve never met before. She always has nice things to say and a bright smile to give people even behind a surgical mask – as she found that out when she forgot to take it off after coming from a lesson on whatever it was they were studying.

In fact, she wonders how Elena, a brilliant nursing school student with only straight As (that’s only thing straight about that girl, by the way: she’s spotted the lesbian pride flag in her pencil case) and a never-say-die attitude, got stuck sharing a room with the gloomy aesthetic literature student. To be fair, she’s dropped the negative attitude she had in high school at least a bit, otherwise she wouldn’t be able to bear all of the… pleasantness from the other side of the room on a daily basis.

 

Elena is the poster child of the sun goddess. She loves bright, popping and warm colours like yellow, orange and vivid pinks – that’s most of what she wears, actually, and she combines it with a lot of whites usually, and she always rocks the look no matter how flashy it gets. She wears a smile on her face and her heart on her sleeve, always ready to help and make someone’s day better. There is nothing that will make her happier than someone’s else happiness. No wonder why this girl wants to become a nurse.

She loves the heat and the sun, and it seems the sun loves her back, since the way it shines in her eyes is unlike anything else. She tans easily, and when she does, she somehow looks even better than she did before because the sun keeps blessing her like she’s its muse. Her mind is as bright as her smile and she always sees the good in people, even if they seem like bags full of defaults at the first glance, and in any situation she’s in, even if it gets desperate.

Hopeful, joyful and talented – a perfect allegory for the sun.

 

Elena is such an open book that Linda has started to remember all of her favourites. She loves the scent of fruits, especially pineapple, and her shampoo smells like it – in turn, her hair, which she takes great care off once it’s off the safety cap she sometimes wears, shares its scent, and it’s as fruity as you can imagine pineapple shampoo to smell. She prefers to wear practical attires such as pants in case she needs to help someone and doesn’t mind getting her hands dirty if she has to – some of her old outfits are still in her closet in case she needs to get down to business.

Linda used to mind, but she can’t bring herself to dislike anything about her, these days. There are too many things to like about Elena not to appreciate everything at least a little bit, too warm to reject, too luminous not to bask in her aura. Linda is like a cold animal and Elena is like the light of the sun keeping her going when she needs to work late into the night: at least, when they both share a night shift, they can always count on the other to do a little gesture, and that Linda can’t appreciate enough.

 

They’re nothing alike but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing.


 

They share the same dorm room, but they’re nothing alike.

 

Linda, Elena thinks, is a misunderstood girl who deserves the world. She may look gloomy, dark and pessimistic on the surface, it’s only on her skin – behind the blacks and dark blues is someone with a compassionate heart, with dreams and hopes, with thoughts for the world and a world of ideas to share. She always has a thought to spare, as she found out when she caught her brainstorming what present to get her for Christmas.

She wonders how Linda, a talented and hardworking literature student who writes dreamlike prose (and that’s not the only dreamlike thing about her, far from it) and a sceptic attitude towards the world ended up stuck with the overly cheerful nursing school student. To be fair, it must be a sort of yin-and-yang affair and Elena can now keep her feet down to Earth when something is talked about in a negative light.

 

Linda is how she’d imagine a moon goddess to be. She has an affinity for dark, and colder colours like blue, green and purple – that’s most of what she wears, which she then combines with blacks and greys, and always manages to fit right into the look. While she rarely fully smiles, when she does, it’s brighter than the full moon and, when she doesn’t, it’s usually through small smiles and gestures – even if she’s silent, she always has other people in mind. There is nothing that will make her happier than being left in her mindscape. No wonder she’s majoring in literature.

She loves the wintery cold, the night and the moon, and it seems like the moon loves her back, since its beams of light seem to be what inspire her the most, and it’s unlike anything else. Her skin has trouble tanning, but it’s fine, because she prefers going out at night anyway, and when she does, she embraces the darkness of the sky and looks even prettier when it happens. No matter the situation, she wants to do something about it, and if sometimes her means to the end are radical, she can be reasoned with and find a better fix: just leave her some time to think about it.

Thoughtful, beautiful and silent – a perfect image of the moon.

 

Linda was closed to her, at first, but continued opening up with time. Because it’s taken her efforts to do so, Elena has done the same to remember her preferences. Linda mostly likes the scents of flowers, but one smell she particularly enjoys is coconut, and on her hair and skin, through body wash and hair conditioner, it smells divine. She doesn’t think about outfit practicality most of the time, content wearing whatever comes to her first and judging other people’s judgement as she does so, but it doesn’t mean she won’t donate some of it away when she feels like she’s gotten bored of it and someone else may need it more than she does.

At first, Elena was afraid of being paired with someone who seemed so different from her. The thing is, as time went on, she realized she minded Linda less and less, to the point she now celebrates everything about her, from her alternative fashion choices to the endless tirades she makes on the books she’s currently reading or studying. She’s too soft to reject and too fascinating to get away from. Elena is like a moth and Linda the light who attracts her in the middle of the night keeping her down to Earth and guiding her in difficult times: at least, when she crumbles under the weight of her responsibilities, Linda always has a little something for her and gives her non-judgemental, if sometimes silent, support.

 

They’re nothing alike and that’s the best thing.


 

They share the same dorm room and, well, they are kind of alike.

 

Both grew up fighting against chronic illnesses and, at times, have to come back onto the battlefield to keep them in control. They bond over how they spent their time in the hospital, how they kept their heads up and how they got back up when they were down for the count. They tell stories of their heroes and heroines, of role models and friends with yellow-out faces, of counterexamples and old black-and-white enemies.

They learnt to adapt to what the other could and could not eat or drink. They started shopping together first to make sure the other didn’t do an oopsie, then because it just felt nice to shop together because it meant spending, not money, but time together, and even the supermarket down the road was nice to navigate.

 

They bounce off each other pretty well. When they share their past experiences, they both grow from them through discussions, perspective and advice. Elena learns from the mistakes of the staff who used to take of Linda, while Linda learns from the positive experiences Elena had in the medical system despite all of its flaws. It’s almost like they were born to work together on something; what work it’d be, they may have an idea or two to share with each other, but it needs more discussions.

They both keep in mind each other’s scars and conditions, pivot around it, share experiences and jokes on the matter – anything to show illnesses what they’re capable of, anything to show the world they’re strong and nothing will stop them, not even their own bodies. On their own, they’re already tough to beat, but together, they feel invincible – similar experiences, similar points of view, embracing their differences as much as the similarities.


 

Most of all, however, is that they’re grateful for each other to be by their side. To immortalize this almost fusional relationship of theirs, they seal it with a mutual declaration of love and the decision to write a book together of their shared experiences so people like them can find each other in the world just like they found themselves.

That’s the best of it all: through differences and similarities, they both find each other beautiful and, in turn, help each other find their inner beauty, pineapple and coconut fragrances mixing into a perfect bland.