“Who?” asked my friend.
I looked at her with one eyebrow raised. “You know who I’m talking about.”
I watched as her expression changed. It was very subtle but I saw it. “He’s downstairs. Wants to see me. That okay with you?”
“Of course,” she said, sounding winded. “Why wouldn’t it be?”
A few minutes later, my phone beeped.
“SOS,” the message read.
“What’s wrong?” I replied.
“Can you come back? I need you.”
I said goodbye to the unwanted visitor. In the two minutes we spent together, we barely spoke. I’m still not altogether sure what he wanted or why he was there. At that time, all I could think of was my friend and how this whole thing left her wounded yet again.
“Are you okay?” I asked.
“Yeah, it’s just… wow… I didn’t expect that.”
“I thought you were fine. You’ve been going on and on about how you’re over him and all that. What’s this?”
“I thought I was. I don’t know. I really don’t know. I was perfectly fine up until a few minutes ago. My mind’s okay. My heart’s okay. It’s just my damn stomach.”
“Butterflies?” I offered.
“No. Not butterflies. More like wasps. What did he want?”
“I don’t know. I got here as soon as I could.”
“Did he ask about me?”
“No. Not really.”
“Did you say anything about me?”
“No. I’m not stupid, okay?” We were quiet for a little bit. She started to cry.
“Look, I’m sorry. I wouldn’t have said anything if I knew you were still…”
“How is he?” she asked, cutting me off.
“Fine. He says he found a job. He starts in a few days.”
“Yeah. And uh…” I trailed off. I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to say anything. At times like this, I wish friends came with a manual.
“He’s seeing someone. Wants me to meet her next week”
“What?!” she shouted. Fighting back more tears, she let out a series of whimpers and other sounds.. “Whu.. How.. How is that even possible? It’s only been a week.”
“I don’t know. I didn’t want to ask too many questions. I’m not going, just so you know.”
“How could he have moved on so quickly? I mean, it’s only been a week. For Pete’s sake, the movies we saw together are still in theaters. How is that even possible?”
“I guess people move on at different paces.”
“Is it really that easy for him?” she asked, cutting me off once again. “Like fucking changing socks? One foot then the other? Dammit!”
“Don’t think of it that way. Just try to move on. He has. You should, too.”
“I wish it were that easy. It’s not fair!” she yelled, sounding like a four year old.
“Sulking’s not gonna help, you know. What happened? I thought you said you were fine. Didn’t you break up with him?” She was quiet. From the tears and all that hair, I could barely see her face.
“Just try not to think about him,” I added. I came a little closer to give her a hug. We both fell to the ground and she started weeping openly.
“How can I? How can I forget about him when he’s in the rain, in my morning coffee, in the paper? He’s everywhere. It’s like he’s haunting me or something. Everywhere I look, I see something that reminds me of him. And it’s not fair. It’s not fair.”
Relapse is a bitch. One minute you’re fine, the next minute you’re on the floor with wasps in your stomach.
Under Rug Swept