“I’ve lost all hope. More like, I’ve lost all interest in hoping on something that has no hope left in it.” (Anon.)
Autumn came quickly, the leaves turning their various shades of warmth and falling from the branches – letting go of their previous life with grace. Something that I wish I could do.
University started back up, and I decided to keep my job at Kieran’s. The money was good, and I had friends there. It was a great way to keep me occupied so I didn’t have to think about my life in general. I wasn’t exactly pleased with it, at the moment.
One chilly night, I was on my way to work. As I walked into the bar, I waved at everyone working; silently glad it was fall so I had an excuse to wear a long-sleeved t-shirt to work. Alix was in tonight, and I was glad we would be working together. We’d have some time to catch up on everything. We hadn’t hung out much outside of work yet.
After I had gotten ready in the back room for all of ten minutes, I walked out on the floor, getting into the swing of things at work.
Like I said, Kieran’s is a pretty laid-back job. It was more of a family place than a real party hub. Everyone who came usually had a few drinks, and then migrated to another bar or a club downtown. Tonight was one of those nights.
I noticed one guy at the bar with a scruffy face and a red ball cap on. I asked him his order over the music. He just ordered a beer, and gave me a toothy grin. The first glass didn’t make it back to him, because I dropped all over the floor. As I handed him the second one, he grinned again and said: “Thanks, sweetie.” As if I was his sweetie. I just smiled sweetly and tried not to look in his general direction for the rest of the night.
“Kate, what’s that matter?” Alix asked me when work died down a little. We’re generally not very busy. “You seem so jumpy tonight.”
I shrugged, trying to get away from the subject. “I’m alright.”
Alix seemed unimpressed. She leaned on the counter, looking up at me.
I hesitated for a while.
“Have you ever felt so upset that… that you wanted to hurt in some other way?” I asked slowly.
“What? Like, how?” I shook my head.
“Nevermind.” I said quickly, taking a sip of water, and pouring the rest down the sink in front of me. “It’s just… Eric and I are going through a rough patch.”
I tried to be vague.
“Don’t say I never warned you.” She said. I nodded like an idiot.
When work was over, and we were just finishing mopping the floors and cleaning the counters, Alix approached me again.
“Listen,” She started. “A few friends of mine are having this little birthday party for me in a week or so. Did you wanna come?” She asked energetically. Alix was a very bouncy, energetic person most of the time. “It’ll be fun.”
Usually I didn’t go out. I didn’t really have a social life. I was pretty much a loner when it came to socialization. I smiled at her as best I could.
“I’d love to. Just let me know when it is, and I’ll be there.”
She smiled back. “Good.” She paused for a second, looking as if she were searching for the right words. “I just thought, seeing as you were having a rough time, you might need something fun to look forward to, you know?”
I nodded. “Thanks, Alix.”
I left work and walked home in the dark, yet again. As soon as I got home, I locked myself in my bedroom and put my headphones in. I looked around my room, and it all seemed alien. It seemed evil and terrifying, despite the music that was blaring in my ears. My thoughts went wild again.
I’m not what he needs. I’ve been so fixed on what I need, and he is what I want, and he’s good for me right now. But, I am nowhere near what he needs in a girlfriend.
I was scared, asking myself if I would be able to last for another couple of weeks, or months, or something. Would we last? But, now there’s the question of will he last.
What the hell am I doing?
I need help. I need to find myself. What am I saying?
I hate myself. I hate her so much. This person I am, I want her to leave. I want her to change things and be someone else. I hate her so much.
I don’t know what to do. I would give him anything; I just don’t know what to do about what he needs. I don’t know what he needs. I don’t know what he wants.
I don’t know if he even wants me anymore.
I’m scared that he doesn’t.
We had been having the same reoccurring problems. Over, and over.
Not only had my friends become worse, but the tension in our relationship had become worse, too.
I had gone back to university, and that took up a lot of my free time. As well as still working at the bar. It was as if I were the busiest girl in town, now. We hardly saw each other. That was a problem.
I missed him so much. And I doubted that we even belonged together. I was in love with him, but I knew he didn’t love me back. I was hiding so much from him, and from my friends, and even myself.
Could I handle this pain that was ripping me apart?
To be, or not to be. That was the actual question.
That night, I caved. I called him, and I knew exactly what I was going to say. I was going to come clean about everything that I had been hiding. Slowly, I dialed his number, and I counted the dial tones. One, two, three, and then he picked up.
“Hello?” His voice sounds tired and worn.
“Hey, it’s me.” I say quietly.
“Kate?” He said sleepily.
“Yeah. It’s Kate.”
“It’s good to hear from you, babe.” He said, but he sounded suspicious, and he should have been. “What’s on your mind?”
“I have a confession to make. Can you come over?” I asked quickly.
“I’ll be over in ten.” He hung up.
In exactly ten minutes, I heard a knock at the door. That was one thing this boy was extremely good at – he was never late. He closed the distance between us in two short strides, kissing me slowly.
“I missed you.” I just smiled, and told him to come in.
He sat on the navy couch, and I sat on the coffee table, facing him.
“This is going to be really hard for me.” He nodded. “I’ve been feeling pretty down lately… and I…"
I clear my throat.
“Well, I felt so hurt, and so confused about the way our relationship has been going. It’s been pretty rocky lately. I needed some way to channel that bad energy – to feel pain physically, instead of emotionally…”
Before I could finish my sentence, he pulled my left arm towards him, and rolled up my sleeve so fast that I didn’t realize what was happening. He stared for a few moments before I pulled away, a giant scarlet blush covering my whole face.
He looked angry. No, I should rephrase that. He looked ‘displeased’. Ugh.
I looked shocked, and scared.
“You… you…” He said.
“Why?” Was all he could manage.
“I was upset. I needed a venue…”
He shook his head.
“I can’t believe you would do this.” He put his face in his hands.
He met my eyes, his looking extremely disgruntled with me.
“I’m disappointed in you.” Of course he was.
And this is how things started to get even worse.
“You’re… disappointed?” I asked, maybe just a little bit exasperated.
“Yes.” He crossed his arms over his chest defiantly. “It makes me so upset...”
I interrupt. “Could you please, for like, one day, just get angry at me?” My hands are flying in different directions as I talk. When I get angry, this seems to happen without my control. “Just, please. Yell or something!”
He shakes his head.
“Ugh!!” Then I crossed my arms over my chest.
“This is such a juvenile thing to do, Kate. It’s so stupid.”
“Oh, so now I’m stupid? Sure. Thanks.” I say sarcastically. “You know what, that really helps when I’m depressed!!!!”
He shakes his head again.
“Should I leave? I think I’m just going to leave.” He said, standing up.
“I’ve been thinking a lot.” I say to him.
He hesitates, but doesn’t sit back down.
“I can’t talk to you for a while.” I say rapidly. I tend to make rash decisions when I’m upset. I guess it was all about to come out. Oh well.
“You can’t talk to me?” He looked confused.
“Don’t sound all surprised on me.” I paused, and tried to calm my nerves, and my anger. “I think we need to take a break. Things have been rough, and I don’t know if we can do this.”
“Wait, how long is this going to be for?” He interrupted me this time.
“For a week or so. I don’t know, maybe longer.” He was quiet.
“Okay.” He sat down – more like slumped – and stared into thin air. He seemed offended, and I was sure he was. Trust me, I didn’t want to be doing this, but it’s what was happening, and it’s what needed to happen. When I get a gut feeling, I trust it. And it usually pulls me through.
“Look, I dislike this as much as you do. But, we have to actually take some time and think it through, do you understand?” It took me a lot of effort to calm my voice and keep it even. I managed.
“Sure.” I was really not going to get through to him tonight. He was Mr. Stone face, over there. Expression blank and eyes dead.
“You know, I really don’t want to be doing this Eric--”
“Like fuck you don’t.” He gave me a cold stare. I looked at my hands.
“Whatever. You take all the time you need.” He stood up, and headed for the door.
“I guess I’ll talk to you later.” I said softly, still sitting on the coffee table. I watched as he opened the door, and put his shoes on.
He glanced up at me for a second. “Fuck you, too.”
And he was gone.