"Tonight, feel stronger. Goodbye tonight." (Anon.)
I went into work on Monday night, feeling like shit. There was really no reason – I wasn’t hungover. I just felt like an emotional pile of shit.
I sat in the staff room, reading ‘Summer Sisters’ by Judy Blume, while listening to my mp3 player. It was quiet back there that night. Not really a busy night for us. Supper rush would probably be the busiest we’d get. My mind was racing, like it always does. And this time, I was trying not to listen to it.
It was telling me things I didn’t want to hear.
That I had to tell him.
It was a stupid thought. It would be a stupid thing to do, but if I wanted to get back together with him, which is what I thought I wanted that day, then I had to be completely honest. No matter how much I wanted to keep it all a secret, I didn’t want it leaking out and getting around to Eric. That would be worse than having to tell him myself.
I had to stop thinking about it for two seconds before I drove myself insane. So, I stopped concentrating on my thoughts, and lost myself in my book.
I heard distant mumbling, and Shauna came back into the staff room, which if I didn’t mention before acts as a sort of storage area as well. She was searching for something while muttering to herself.
“Are you talking to yourself?” I asked, turning my music off at the same time.
“Yep.” She said proudly, a grin pulling up the corner of her mouth. “I always do.” She found what she was looking for, and turned the corner, leaving me alone once again. I shook my head, chuckling to myself.
I was early for work. I checked the clock: I had fifteen minutes left. For some reason, I always showed up early for work. I guess I had nothing better to do at home.
Just when I was getting back into my book, John walked through the back door – a very happy looking John. He strutted back, his signature sideways baseball cap barely even lying on his head, and I smiled up at him. I couldn’t help it.
“Oh, hey.” He said, giving me a smug nod.
“Hey, John.” I said.
Okay, so maybe it was going to get a little awkward back here. I didn’t know if he remembered the other night, but I sure did. I remembered it clear as day. It wasn’t that I was ashamed; it was that I knew it was a terrible thing for me to have done. Maybe that’s what being ashamed is, but at least I knew I wasn’t sorry for doing it.
“I should get changed.” I said just to break the awkward silence, and stood from the chair I had been in, picking up my shirt and apron, and walking towards the bathroom door.
“Kate,” He started slowly. “I’m sorry about the other night.” He leaned up against the wall.
“I’m not.” I stated. It shocked me when the words spilled out of my mouth. Even I hadn't known about these feelings before admitting them. John looked just as shocked.
“Really?” Then he smiled, the warmth spreading through my heart as I watched him from the bathroom doorway.
As he stepped closer, I knew what was about to happen. I couldn’t help getting this little twinge in my stomach – butterflies. His face was so close to mine, and his arms reached around my waist. Our bodies touched in every possible way. His lips descended onto mine, pulling me into a deeper kiss than the night before. I held my breath as we kissed, not wanting the moment to end.
“I should, ahh, really get changed now.” I said, looking at the clock again, feeling a little light headed, and looking down the hallway, paranoid someone would walk down and see. Of course, I didn't want to get caught.
As I closed the bathroom door, I thought of something I hadn’t before.
“Hey John,” I yelled through the door. “Don’t you have a girlfriend?” Stupid me. Facepalm.
There was a pause, and I heard him draw a slow breath.
“Yeah,” He said slowly. “About that. We’re kind of in a fight.” I could hear him rummaging around in his bag for something. “Don’t you have a boyfriend?”
“We’re kind of on a break.” I stepped out of the bathroom, smoothing my apron out instinctively. John was staring straight at me.
“See?” He said, coming closer to me again. “We’re not technically breaking the rules.” He kissed me again, quicker this time, and went to the bathroom behind me.
That depended on what you considered the rules to be.
In my eyes, technically, we were breaking all the rules.
I thought about what Eric would think if I told him that I had kissed John. He wouldn’t be pleased at all. He might not even consider getting back together with me. That was what I wanted, wasn’t it?
Maybe I would leave that part out.
At least I wouldn’t be completely lying to him.
Simon offered to drive me home again that night. I accepted. Every moment I spent with him, I felt lighter and happier. He helped me with all and any of my problems. He always had something wise to tell me. I felt comfortable around him.
Maybe I thought he could help me with my decisions.
"I'm having a hard time making this decision." I said, after explaining the rest of the situation. He had heard most of it anyways, thanks to my constant blabbering at work.
Simon didn't say a thing. He concentrated on the road.
"You know, it's like... one part of me tells me that I love him, and that I wanna be with him." I stop, and I stare out the window, watching the buildings blurr by in the night. "Another part of me wants to listen to everyone, and end it."
Simon nods, still oh so silent.
"But then, the complications arise." I sigh, continuing. "If I break it off with him for good... what if I hate myself? What if I really do love him, and I'd miss him too much? What if I can never get him back? And then, if I get back together with him, all my friends and my family will be upset with me. I might even lose some of my closest friends."
Simon nods again, and breathes in as if he is about to say something important.
"If those friends would leave you over a guy, they're not friends at all. And, if you two are meant to be together, don't you think that fate will bring you back to each other?" He chuckled slightly, still watching the road. "Not that I believe in that shit anyways. But I thought you did."
"Everything will be okay. You just have to let things happen. Relax."
I look at my hands.
He looks at me now, concern on his face.
"What if everything isn't going to be okay?"
"What are you talking about, Kate?" He pulled up outside my apartment, but he didn't make an attempt to get me out of his car. Instead, he turned the car off, and swiveled in the carseat to face me. I had his full attention.
"I did some pretty terrible things, okay?" I was really upset. My voice quivered.
He just watched me closely.
"I went out with Alix and her friends the other night... and we went to a party."
I paused, hoping he would get the hint. He didn't. "Do you know what that means? I drank alcohol! I smoked marijuana, and tobacco! I did things that I've never done before, and obviously now Eric will hate me!"
There was silence in the car.
Suddenly, Simon burst into uncontrolled laughter.
I was insulted.
"What? I'm serious! Don't laugh at me!"
He tried to control his laughter, taking deep breaths, and wiping his eyes instinctively.
I shake my head.
"So. Your concern is that, if you get back together with Eric, he'll find out about this... 'bad stuff' you've been doing, and be angry with you?" He concluded.
"No. He definitely wouldn't be angry. He'd be 'dissappointed'." I mocked him slightly. "My concern is, that if we get back together, I'll feel so guilty about doing all this stuff, that I'll have to tell him. My concious is being an idiot, and doesn't want to tell him lies." Of course I would leave the part about John out. I didn't exactly want everyone to know about that.
Simon nods again, now.
There's silence again for a while. I look out the window again.
"You seem like the type of girl to be pretty honorable." He looked at me again, staring deep into my eyes with his own dark hazel ones. "The type of girl to want to do the 'right' thing, instead of doing something for your own sake."
I snort, nodding slowly.
"Then, it's up to you whether you can live with what you've done, or if you have to spill the secret to stay with someone."
I nodded slowly. Simon always knew what to say.
I knew what I had to do, then. And it wasn't something I was particularily happy with.
I knew I had to tell Liz that if she was unhappy with me for any reason, that she can fuck off. It's childish to get mad at someone for making decisions that were theirs to make in the first place. If she was supposed to be my friend, then she should start acting like one; not like my fucking mother. God knew I didn't need another one of those.
I knew I had to tell John that we shouldn't be screwing around with each other. It would be damaging for our current relationships (if you could even call mine that at this point), and definitely not an 'honorable' thing to do. I would just have to tell him we would have to settle with being friends.
I knew I had to stop smoking cigarettes. And marijuana. It wasn't safe to keep doing them. Especially with certain people watching me like hawks.
And one of the hardest things I knew I had to do.
I had to tell Eric that I didn't think we should be together, despite my now even larger desire to discard that idea. I knew I wasn't ready for certain things with him, and that would be a struggle for him in the first place.
I knew I loved him.
But it was a choice between honoring him, honoring myself, or honoring what's right. And, in my heart, I knew I had to do what was right.
I hate decisions. If you can't tell.
And I always turn out making the wrong ones.