|Photo taken from Google Images.|
We see each other again three days after our screaming match, and I’m the first to turn away.
It’s strange, being the one to let go this time.
I hear her footsteps stop, followed by a loud sigh. “Wait,” she calls, and I do.
Later on, we’re at the swings and we are enveloped by a sticky, pressured silence. No one is willing to go first, and our eyes dart from one corner of the park to the other, anywhere really except at each other.
“I guess you probably want an apology, don’t you?” She asks finally. I look at her sideways, and she’s gnawing on her lip and fiddling with her button-down’s collar, the way she does when she’s agitated. I want to grab her hand to make her stop, but I don’t.
“I honestly don’t care anymore,” I say remotely, feeling my eyes cloud over.
Her head snaps up and she looks at me, raw naked fear in gaze. “You can’t mean that,” she half-pleads, stopping the swing with her foot and turning to face me.
I laugh shortly, shaking my head. “Oh, sweetie. I gave up on you a long time ago.”
I stand up to leave but she tugs on my skirt to detain me. I look back at her, take in the flush on her face and the tears that rim her dark, dark eyes and I feel a tiny twinge of something strange, deep in my gut.
“Please,” she cries. “Not like this. I can’t bear it when you’re mad at me.”
“Can’t you?” I ask her in a detached manner. “You seem to have forgotten that we have made a hobby of ignoring each other for the past few weeks.”
“I was mad at you!” She protests. “You don’t have any time for me at all, and yet you’re always with those boys,” she spits out, her tone one of distaste.
“You’re not my only friend,” I tell her tiredly. “Of course I need to spend time with them, too.”
“Well, I don’t want to share you!”
We look at each other, both defiant, both at the breaking point. I know that if I unleash my anger, I will regret it later.
I sit back down on the swing and pat the space beside me. She sits down gingerly. I put my arms around her and feel her relax against me, and I lean close and press my mouth close to the soft skin just beneath her ear.
“Let me tell you the story of two little girls,” I whisper. “One was small and dark and brooding, while the other was golden and bright and full of light. They grew up side-by-side, finding their way through life together and pulling each other out of harm’s way. They were closer than anyone could ever dream of being–they even kissed and touched and cuddled and touched when they were feeling particularly affectionate.
“But when they were grown, the golden girl changed. The other cried over her bitterly and made her feel guilty. She promised to change — but she never did.”
She shudders, and I feel the tremor in her body as if it had happened in my own.
“What’s going to happen to them now?” She asks in a broken, tear-stained voice.
“This is what’s going to happen,” I hiss sweetly. “I’m going to go away, because it’s not possible for us to exist in the same place at the same time. I’m going to act like I never knew you and reinvent myself without you to hold me back. And I’m going to be happy, and you’re not, because I’m not a horrible friend who flakes out on people like you do.”
She begins to cry, huge sobs wracking her shoulders as she clings to me in desperation. But as she starts to weep and I start to smile, I realize that this is the happiest she has made me in a very long time.