During our second week in London I got the definite message that Kings college was not going to accept my application. It was not a surprise. I didn't get the high grades they asked for. My grades were good but I just got a point short. We were hoping they might accept it, but they didn't. That whole week I went to all the universities in London, asking if I could follow my study there. Most of them were already full up and the ones that weren't, didn't offer a study I wanted. The university of East Anglia in Norwich, my 2nd choice, were very happy to have me, they even had a room reserved for me on their campus. Barbara and I considered going to Norwich together, but we decided against it. It would have been an enormous step backwards for Barbara in her education.
Me going to Norwich caused an immediate problem, we suddenly couldn't see each other. Norwich was about 3 hours by train from London and because of the compulsory practical's I had to follow, there was no way I could travel during the week to London. Barbara had to go to work in Histon on Friday evening and on Saturday. Therefore the only day we could meet was on Sunday in Cambridge. But there we had no place to go to. I can't remember how we managed. I suppose I went to Cambridge in the weekend and stayed with my friends and then meet Barbara on Sunday afternoon. In the evening we both had to go on our own way again. During the week we stayed in contact by phone. Barbara couldn't phone me as there were only public phones on the student campus. Therefore I phoned her in the evening at time that we had arranged. In Barbara house there was only one phone, she be waiting beside it when I was going to ring.
One Thursday evening when I phoned, Barbara she asked me if could come and see her immediately, she had something to tell me. She sounded very serious. Without hesitation I took the first train to London. Late that night I arrived at her place. There she told me that she had been feeling very unhappy and lonely the last few weeks. She didn't want to live a life like this. And last Tuesday she was feeling so down that she swallowed the contents of a bottle of sleeping pills. Soon after this she felt sorry about it and started hitting with her fists on the wall. Her neighbor, a German girl who Barbara had met a few times, reacted immediately. Luckily she was a nurse and knew what to do. Barbara was directly taken to hospital where her stomach was emptied. This morning she was dismissed out of the hospital. Barbara told this story without any emotions, a kind monotonous description of what had happened.
I was stunned, amazed and cross. I accused Barbara of being selfish. I tried to explain to her that my and her family's life would have been destroyed if she had died. It seemed that she was not very impressed by what I was saying. But she did promise me that she would never try to commit suicide again. Sadly this is the only promise she made me, she did not keep.
Another thing that worried me was that I had no idea that Barbara was this depressed. She took me really by surprise. I knew that we both were not happy with this situation of only seeing each other only once a week. The thought that we be together again during the holidays kept me going. For me university life was new, exiting. I lived on the campus. A place isolated from the normal world where several thousand young people aged between 18 and 21 lived together in an own world. It had great sport facilities, own shops, a cinema and an entertainment complex. I was meeting lots of friendly and interesting people. There was an enormous energy here and for me lots of new experiences. I assumed that Barbara would enjoy and discover her new life in London as well. But she hadn't. She didn't join in any student activities. She didn't want to meet new friends. After college she just went home to her room. Very much the opposite of me.
Barbara's mother and I realized independently that we had to do something if Barbara was to survive her study in London. Barbara's mother agreed that Barbara was allowed to see me on Friday evening till Saturday morning and again on Sunday afternoon and evening. I organized a system with my friends at the university where they vouch for me and sign me in for the college's and practical's on Wednesday. That way I could leave Norwich Tuesday late afternoon for London and go back to Norwich late at night Wednesday. I arranged with my friends Steve and Di in Cambridge that I stayed in their house in the weekends and have my own room. That way Barbara could see me in the weekends when ever she wanted. Even the landlady in London told me that I could stay as often as I liked. I guess she thought that me being around would prevent any further trouble with Barbara.
(Translated by eblc2006)
(thanks to Ben for the translation)
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