I got an extremely low mark on a recent essay - one that would equate to a third were I doing a Batchelor's Degree. The course I'm on (training? studying? Hello? Bueller?) is not, but the part of my brain that equates percentages to degree results looks at it and thinks, "hello there, that's a third; what are you doing on this course, idiot boy?" - net result: a period of self-loathing, with some snide comments directed at myself - a kind of miserable ecstasy.
I got up from the computer I was sitting at and went over to talk to the girls on the other side of the computer suite. Well, in actual fact I just wanted to find out what they got, but they're all my mates as well, so I suppose a friendly chat and some results-based espionage could go hand-in-hand. I stood and high-fived several of them as they recounted their successes to me, a few with proud distinctions now under their trainee belts.
That was when I noticed FL hadn't got up from her chair, and appeared to be fighting an urge to cry.
Me being me, I went over to see what was wrong, and noticed a little too early that she had also received a bad mark - in fact, five per cent less than mine. Still a pass, but a very, very narrow pass. Suddenly, we were not only in the same boat, but on the same page, batting for the same team, on the same side, and using the same clichés. And me being me, and not knowing what else to do, I sat there and hugged her.
Nobody's ever resisted my hugs. I guess I'm just a non-threatening boy, or I'm overly soft, or you just don't notice surprise hugs (unlike surprise sex, which is the name one of my less discreet friends gave to rape a year or so back). FL, however, seemed to have been expecting a hug, and instinctively hugged back. She was still visibly upset, but then again so was I, so it seemed natural.
I sat next to her in the following lecture, which appropriately focused on a very depressing subject. If you remember correctly, FL (don't confuse her with RS) told me about her boy troubles a couple of months back, and I didn't want to mention them, because it wouldn't have been prudent. But I was curious. Fortunately, my curiosity was satiated when she slipped me a photo of her new boyfriend. I then showed her a picture of my girlfriend. Cue a high-five, and we - along with the other 40927348127 friends we appear to have - finally sank into the lecture, both nigh-on failures, but kept sane through shared hugs and significant others.