|Best thing i've written in years and years; it's quite long though
||[Nov. 2nd, 2006|10:14 am]
|||||depeche mode - i feel loved||]|
I'm sitting on the pavement.
A glance at my watch reveals that the time is twenty minutes to the witching hour. Why am I sitting here in the moonlight, leaning against her garden gate?
I contemplate this question for a moment as a chubby jet-black cat tentatively strolls past, giving me a dirty look as it passes. The cat's distasteful confusion reminds me how silly I must look sitting here on a cold November night, and I pull myself to my feet, looking straight at the house.
Placing my hand on the gate, I decide I'm going to go and knock. I have to. But then I change my mind and start walking home. I can't. Best not to show up at her door when I've had a drink. Or at midnight. Or when I've had a drink at midnight.
I was confident I had to speak to her tonight. At least, until I actually arrived here. The vodka shots I hurriedly swallowed in the bar must have worn off quickly.
It was so unusual for me to feel this way; to feel so confused and torn. I was used to being the confident, bold one. If anything it was Allison who was the worrier; the one who would have to drink to face problems or intimidating situations.
Would Allison still be awake? This was the first time in a long time that I had gone out straight from work, without telling her where I was going.
As I walked home, shivering in the bitterness of the cold night, I looked at the fat, bright moon in the sky. It looked so heavy, yet it simply hung in the eternal nothingness of the galaxy. An endless black cloak dazzled with stars as its only chosen apparel.
The lights were switched off downstairs, and no light leaked out from the bedroom window, which meant Allison had to be asleep.
I searched for the key in my bag and realised the vodka shots had taken more of an effect than I first realised; it was a challenge to insert the silly object into the keyhole.
Aggressively releasing my hair from its ponytail by pulling out a hairband, I flopped down into the settee in the living room. I instantly slept. I didn't even bother to go to bed.
"Sarah. I left you where you were, you looked like you needed sleep. You didn't reply to my texts last night. We should talk probably? Maybe tonight? Allison x." She usually left two kisses, but today I only had one.
I put the note into the bin and poured myself a drink of milk. I'd already missed work - it was 10:30am already - but I could call in later and say I felt unwell. I hadn't called in sick for a while so it shouldn't pose too much of a problem (I hoped).
I was trying to escape my day-old clothes, fumbling with my bra, when my mobile phone rang. I rushed over to it with my arms half-in my blouse and half-out of it, and saw the display read "Nina".
My heart jumped into my throat and my throat slid down into my chest as I swallowed hard and pressed the answer button.
'Hi Sarah. How are you?'
'Oh. I'm fine. Um, a bit hungover, err.. I had a few drinks last night and, well, I ended up missing work today. But how are you?'
'Oh well, one day off work won't do any harm. Treat yourself. I'm fine also, thanks for asking. I assume Allison isn't around?'
'Nope. She's at work.'
'Have you thought any more about what I said?'
I had thought of nothing else. The most crippling thing is to be trapped between desire and security. Does a human being jump into the unknown excitement of something new and scary, or does she stay where everything is familiar and comforting?
Before I met Nina on that freezing October night last month I did believe I was in love.
Being with Allison was all I had known for two years, ever since I left home; I felt comfortable with her, I felt great affection for her - I still do, but now I know that I was never truly in love with her, not like how it can feel. Within minutes of meeting her I knew everything had changed. Even if it was only internally.
Nina was friends with Callum, who I had not too long ago met in a gay bar and befriended. Callum is a nice guy, but he seems to know everyone - you never really know who he's talking about when he speaks (and he speaks often) because the names are so myriad and seemingly random that they get confusing. But one name I won't ever forget is Nina's.
He introduced us to one another on Hallowe'en night. The interesting thing is that I hadn't even wanted to go to Callum's party. It sounded over the top, and I never was a fan of dressing up in silly costumes for Hallowe'en. Callum managed to convince me to come; he said I didn't have to wear a costume, if I "wanted to be dull."
I barely knew anyone there, as I predicted, and Callum - dressed up like Frankenstein, in a ridiculous mask - was busy rushing around introducing people and inviting an endless stream of visitors into the house, so I didn't get to converse with him for much of the evening either.
I was standing next to the faux-fireplace with a glass of wine, looking fairly out of place when a 'witch' came up to me with a tray of biscuits. She was wearing a beautiful black dress which went all the way down to the ground, a slit up one side which revealed her stocking-clad leg. Her svelte figure was striking, and her long black hair looked like collected strands of silk. I think I was attracted to her before I even saw her face; which of course was hidden behind a silly witches mask and hat.
She stuck the silver tray under my nose, offering me a biscuit. I accepted, even though I didn't really want to eat it - but I thought it was polite to accept, so I smiled as I bit into the custard cream.
Nina handed the tray to someone she knew who was passing by her and removed her mask and hat. At that instant, for a second or two I ceased to chew. She had the most beautiful face I had ever seen on a human being. Her eyes were as big and black as two whirlpools of darkness, except there was a translucent light shining from deep within. Her immaculate skin would have looked like marble if it hadn't looked so soft. Her lips were round and dark red, and her make-up, of which she clearly didn't have to wear much of anyway, was slightly smudged by the aforementioned mask. This small imperfection only served to increase her beauty - it made her perfection look slightly more human, more real.
'Hi there! You're Sarah, right?'
'Yes, of course. I've thought about it a lot, Nina.' I replied. 'And you're right, of course. It's not fair on Allison. She doesn't really deserve to be lied to like this.'
Nina sighed and cut me off.
'This isn't about Allison. This is about you, Sarah. And me. If Allison was what you wanted and needed then you wouldn't feel this way about someone else. ..if you do feel that way about me, of course.'
'You know I do.' I grinned.
'Well? I know you and Allison have been together for a while, but I also know you're not happy with her. You can't stay with someone through duty, or because you think you owe them something.'
'I know. I agree. I don't. I don't owe her anything, I mean. I don't think I owe her anything, anyway. I'm living with her, though. I have been for two years. I mean, it's complicated. I've never even lived on my own since leaving home. I wouldn't even know how to go about getting a flat. I can't move back in with my parents. I'd rather stay here and be unhappy than go back there and be even more miserable.'
'Urgh! You silly girl, Sarah! How many times do I have to tell you? You can move in here! My brother is moving out soon. Within a week or two he'll be moving back to London. I live in this big house on my own. I get lonely anyway. And even if things didn't work out between us, in that way, I'd never ask you to leave. You could stay with me as long as you need to. As long as you want to.'
It was certainly a tempting offer. I could think of nothing better than living with Nina. Her large house was gorgeous. Well, from what I could remember of it, after the two seperate drunken nights I spent in it with her. I recalled the solid wood banister on the stairs, and the exquisite paintings and sculptures in the living room. I remember feeling so embarrassed at my own cluelessness on art and artists, but she only laughed and said she found it endearing. She knew so many pretentious snobs who spoke of nothing else, she claimed with a grin.
We chatted on the phone for another ten minutes or so: general chit-chat and teasing that had both of us smiling on each side of the telephone, until Nina had to get back to her work.
My day off from the responsibilites of work reminded me just how bad daytime television can be, so I decided to visit my mother. I had intended to see her the previous week but the stress and confusion of the Nina situation added to my ever-convenient forgetfulness.
"Sorry for being so drunk last night. Only meant to have one drink. I'll see you later. S x" I quickly scribbled the note. At least Allison would know the effort had been present (just in case I predictably took a detour on the way back home and found myself yet again propping up a bar).
'SARAH? Where have you been! I've been trying to call you!'
I closed the front door behind me after hearing this ominous greeting from my mother. She was in her early fifties, with dark red hair, peppered with small streaks of grey. She had a fondness for archaic dresses which were so out of fashion they looked almost Victorian. In some ways she looked older than she was (she was once mistaken for late sixties, which enraged her to near-breakdown level), and she often displayed great fervour when reminding everyone that her husband was the sole cause for her premature ageing.
I had been ignoring my mother's calls recently, so I was forced to extemporise with bad lies as she came hopping from the kitchen into the hallway where I stood.
'Hi mum. My phone hasn't been working. I tried calling you back but I need to buy a new phone. What's wrong?'
'Your FATHER! is what's wrong! Twenty-five long years of marriage. He's willing to throw it all AWAY! FOR A WHORE?'
Rolling my eyes and following her into the kitchen, I took a seat and lighted a cigarette.
'After the last time. HE PROMISED he would never, ever stray again. He PROMISED me, Sarah! ...you know I don't like you smoking, at least have the courtesy to do it behind my back. You'll get cancer.
'I know I'm old and withered and ugly..' she sighed dramatically and left a helpful pause, designed especially for me to rubbish her claims. '..but that man made a promise to me, Sarah! In sickness and in health, till DEATH do us part! Not until some cheap whore on her back comes along! Lord only knows what she'd see in him anyway! It's certainly not looks nor money, that's for sure. I'm just so tired of this, Sarah.'
I was used to my mother's eccentricities and bizarre paranoias, but her insecurities regarding my father's faithfulness were not unfounded. When I was nine years old my father had an affair with another woman. A short brunette with enormous hips. My mother's hysteria was teffifying. She threw his clothes out into the garden from her upstairs bedroom window, raining curses down upon his dizzy head as she did so.
Of course, the romance between my father and the new woman only lasted for a few weeks, and he moved back in shortly after that. I can still recall the icy silences between my parents following those events. Family meals were not a delight. It took a long time for things to get back to 'normal' between them. But quite possibly it never did.
Despite the obvious pity I had, and still have, for my mother, I couldn't help but feel sympathy for my father also. A dashing, handsome man in his youth, my father was notorious for being the local playboy. He bedded women left, right and centre, and made no apologies; neither to the broken-hearted women he left behind, nor to anyone else. I could see the romantic virility beam from his grinning face in old photos.
My mother was a proud, independent (at least by the standards of the time) young woman who had little time for men and prided herself on how well she put them in their place when propositioned. She claims to this day that my father's behaviour repelled and disgusted her for years, but I suspect she felt a sternly-repressed excitement whenever she was around him.
Of course, my mother - Dashing Dolly, as my father called her, and still does - was the one who tamed the beast. She was the only one my father couldn't wrap around his little finger, and he ended up respecting and falling in love with her.
His first marriage proposal to my mother was turned down promptly, but the second time found a less chilly reception.
But now my father was overweight and balding. His young, handsome looks and virility were lost to the sands of time. He often had a sad, lost look in his eyes as he stared into space. I sometimes wondered what thoughts crawled around in the aged maze of his mind. Regret? Self-pity? Loneliness? I just couldn't feel any anger or judgement when I saw that look on his face.
Despite my own preconceptions, I spent the day comforting and reassuring my mother. She had been wrong about my father's supposed philandering before, and this was just another one of those times. My father was too old for such nonsense! He'd rather read the newspaper than fool around with women! It was silly.
Eventually she was reassured and calmed, and she enquired about Allison's well-being.
For a second my blood turned to ice water as I realised with a sickening suddenness that I had done to Allison exactly what my father had done to my mother.
Nina and I spoke to each other for the entire duration of the Hallowe'en party, into the small hours of morning. I told her comical stories about my childhood and we shared coming out stories. She laughed as she told me about her Indian parents, and the trouble she had when trying to explain that she'd never marry a man, let alone a man of their choosing.
Her laugh was ethereal and joyful. She would tilt her head back, shaking her hair from her shoulders, as the happiness worked its way upwards from her small toes, up through her limbs, past her radiant smile, to the very tips of the long strands of her shiny hair.
She seemed so exciting and full of life. From just spending one evening in her company I felt I had built such a bond with her that I believed I had known her all of my life. Her smiling eyes were burned into my consciousness. They were windows to somewhere I couldn't quite recognise. Somewhere dark and dangerous, but also tempting, bright and passionate. An exploding paradox of light and shade.
From that night onwards I knew my universe had rotated on its axis. My life before Nina had been consistent and stable, but also uninspiring and repetitive: now everything had suddenly metamorphosed into something alien. I saw colours I had never seen before in lurid detail. I saw people's faces for the first time. Everything that was meaningless before now became meaningful. Everything that was meaningful before now became meaningless. I actually realised I was alive as I walked through the wintry light rain without an umbrella, happy to feel the water tickling my closed eyelids as I stopped in the street and tilted my head to the Gods.
I had woken from a hazy dream of dull existence; a sleep-walking slumber party of apathy. My newborn eyes pried their lids apart and I saw through the gooey seal: this new universe, this new reality.
Allison had dinner ready when I arrived home, so we sat down to eat. She had made spaghetti, as she often did.
We barely spoke during the meal, and when we did it was centered on trivial subjects and general niceties. Clearly, neither one of us was eager to introduce more serious conversation.
When we had finished eating and were washing the dishes together she finally questioned me.
'Is anything bothering you? It's not like you to get drunk during the week and miss work, Sarah. It's completely unlike you.'
I played with my lighter.
'You've been a bit odd for over a week now, actually. Things haven't been great between us recently, I know, but you seem more down or distracted of late. I can only help you if you tell me what's wrong, Sarah..'
'No, I'm fine.' I lied, in a slightly hoarse voice. I cleared my throat as she removed her spectacles and rubbed her temples.
A newly-lit cigarette caused a small plume of smoke to emerge from my mouth as I exhaled.
'Well.. good. You just seem more distant than usual. I guess I do too at times. So, all is fine, then?'
'Yep. Everything is just fine.'
Nina had invited me over to her home a couple of days after the party. I felt guilty as I accepted her invitation, and I felt even more guilty on my way there.
Nina was only a friend; it was hardly betrayal. But if it wasn't betrayal then why didn't I tell Allison where I was going? She didn't even know Nina existed.
My bottle of cheap wine became an embarrassing prop as Nina opened the door smiling and asked me to come in. Her home was beautiful, as I stated earlier. I had no idea Nina was so rich. Her clothes were beautiful, but she had worn no expensive jewelry or watch that I had noticed at the party, nor had she on this night, so clearly, her financial situation - undeniable from one glance inside this post-modern utopia of classic art and state-of-the-art - wasn't utilised as a badge of power, and that was most certainly appealing. Nina seemed to have everything right.
'Thank you so much for coming over, Sarah! I have some bottles already opened, but this is great too. Thank you for bringing it. Come through to the living toom and I'll pour us some of this. Take off your jacket!'
My newly-free hands fumbled with my jacket and I removed it. If Nina was disappointed or repelled by this gesture of cheap wine then she did a world-class job of masking it.
I felt instantly more comfortable in her company once I had a drink in my hand, and Nina beamed at me as we both swallowed a glassful in one greedy gulp.
Nina was wearing a tight-fitting pair of black jeans, leather boots and a blue blouse. Her magical and seemingly never-ending black hair was tied back in a neat ponytail.
She stood up and walked over to the expensive-looking CD player. She seemed to look even more beautiful now than she had at the party, and as the alcohol rushed to my brain I started to believe I was in some kind of hazy and perplexing duel-reality. A very wonderful duel-reality.
Into the Groove by Madonna erupted above and behind me, as I glanced around at the surround-sound speakers to see where exactly the audio emerged to greet my slightly-inebriated state. Madonna wasn't at all what I had expected; whenever I was in a rich, middle-class house the soundtrack was invariably mid-90's trip-hop: Portishead or Massive Attack usually - or jazz, if the host was slightly more pretentious - but never pop or rock. It was an interesting change.
It pained me to admit to myself that the night I had in Nina's company: drinking, laughing and dancing, resulted in a more fun and enjoyable evening than I had experienced with Allison in months. Possibly even years.
When Nina brought her lips to mine I had feelings neither of guilt nor shock. It was only after several minutes of kissing her soft, painted lips that I suddenly realised the implications; but I didn't stop. I didn't stop as she glanced into my eyes with those dark irises of seduction. I didn't stop as she pulled out the hairband from her head. I didn't stop as she unbuttoned my jeans. I didn't stop until long after we had slept together that night. Perhaps not even then. I had no time for guilt, I had no will to stop.
I once believed that falling in love was the destruction of a misanthropist. I believed that a misanthrope, being compelled to partake in something as sickly and indulgent as romantic love, would feel self-disgust to a complete level of implosion. But I now understand that only one who despises the human race can truly fall in love with a member of it. Hating the entire human race is equal to loving one solitary member of it. When Lucifer was banished to Hell he was still an angel; he simply no longer owned any wings to convince anyone.
A repeat of the first night in Nina's home occured again two nights later.
I can still recall the emotions I experienced when Allison's name appeared on my mobile phone, as I was sitting naked on Nina's large bed, with the sheets wrapped around me and tucked under my armpits. I remember Nina's calm face as she slept, with almost a smile on her perfectly formed lips; one arm by her side and the other bent back, her hand resting under her head and pillow. Her calmness almost mocked Allison's undoubted anxiety.
And I remember our discarded bras lying on the floor beside the bed, mingled like lovers. Perhaps in parody of how their owners had mingled just an hour earlier.
But I didn't answer the call.
I almost welcomed my mother's latest obsession with my father's fidelity: it gave me a chance to think about something else.
She continued to call me over the next few days. (She had now taken to calling the housephone, since she believed my mobile was a goner.)
'Darling, you have got to help me with this. I need your help! I know where this, this.. Jezebel resides. I plan to go right to her abode, walk right up to the door and question her about exactly what the Hell she's doing with my husband!'
'How did you get her address?' I was starting to wonder if my mother was losing her mind. 'You'd have to know for sure it was the correct address, mum.'
'I followed him! I followed him exactly there! He lead me straight to her. He told me he was going to Jim's to play dominos. He must think I'm a bloody fool, Sarah: I'm well aware he and Jim haven't spoken for months.'
I tried to recall who 'Jim' was but quickly gave up.
'She's young, Sarah! I don't know what he's told her - whether she believes he has money or.. I have no idea. Perhaps she just has abhorrent taste in men, I simply do not know. I didn't get a good look at her but she couldn't have been older than 30.'
'You saw dad go into the house? Where did you see the woman?'
'Yes! He went straight in. He knocked then walked in! He didn't wait for the door to be answered! She came out about ten minutes later to put the rubbish out. I was watching. That hussy's young enough to be his daughter. Well, she's welcome to him! It's over this time, Sarah. It's over. That man.' She then sighed a strange sigh: a combination of sadness and anger.
I was genuinely shocked. I knew my father had cheated once before, and truth be told, I wouldn't have been too surprised if he had cheated again, but would he have done so with such a young woman? It seemed unlikely that my father would even be interested in a young woman. The previous woman he cheated with had been older than my mother. And what would this young woman see in my father? My only conclusion was that my mother had misjudged the woman's age - perhaps she simply wore clothes that were too young and revealing for her age. It would certainly fit with my mother's charmingly archaic 'Jezabel' description.
Predictably, my mother talked me into coming with her to pay a little visit to the mystery home of the 'dark mistress'.
The following Saturday afternoon I had been ordered to remain at home near the telephone until my mother called. She would call as soon as my father left for Jim's house. I sat around wasting time by drinking too many cups of coffee and wondered where Allison was. I didn't like the idea of staying home all morning and afternoon due to the strange atmosphere between her and I, but she wasn't even home. She never seemed to be home anymore. I could hardly blame her: I was far from chatty in her company just now.
The phone rang. I put on my coat before I answered.
My mother was all business. The sleeves of her cardigan were rolled up to her elbows, and her small nose and ears hosted her most formal-looking pair of glasses. Her mouth was taut and prepared. It was with a loving pity that I noted just how comical my mother looked when angry. Like a character from a comedy sketch-show. All she needed was a rolling pin to complete the cliche.
'Are you sure you remember where the house is?' I enquired as I fiddled with the car's radio in the passenger seat.
'Absolutely. I can remember, alright. Oh, turn that thing off.. please Sarah, I'm concentrating - we don't need that dreadful soundtrack.'
She was clearly on edge, and glancing over at the speed dial, I noted that she was driving at over 30mph. It was unlike my mother to speed. What was the rush? Did she want to catch my father in the act? She seemed to think the act wouldn't last too long. She would know.
We turned into Moran road and I frowned. This was strange. My frown burrowed down even further on my forehead when I realised we were slowing down outside Nina's house. My heart rate started to speed up as fast as my mother had been driving moments before. I tried to remain calm and to look for the likely explanation, but none was forthcoming.
'Mum, I..' I stopped myself. I had no intention of telling her anything about Nina. '..are you sure this is it? I think my friend lives around here. I could have sworn this was her house. It can't be this house, mum.'
My mother's eyebrows raised as she clicked the door handle open and pulled herself out of the car. A heavy woman with a pram passed us on the pavement as we collected ourselves, standing together in front of the large house.
'See, this is what I don't understand: clearly a very sybaritic, wealthy individual lives here. She isn't after Michael's money. And she can't be after his body.' She snorted, mockingly. I noted by way of comical interlude that I had no idea what 'sybaritic' meant; but she was accurate about the 'wealthy' adjective. 'Wait! I see someone inside! I'm sure it's him. Come here, quickly!'
My mother hopped behind a bush, pulling me down next to her. We peered through it, trying to get a good look into the large, dark window of the living room. The same very living room that had hosted Nina and I's foreplay; the same living room where Nina and I drunkingly danced around to early Madonna, where we tripped over our own discarded shoes and laughed hysterically; the same living room where Nina had slipped her tongue into my mouth and her hand into my jeans.
My father's balding head passed by the window inside. A big smile. Happiness.
It finally sunk in: my father was sleeping with the woman I was in love with. My muscles tensed with anger. My father was having intercourse with Nina. For a second Nina's existence was irrelevant: my father was entirely to blame. I hated him at that moment more than I had ever hated any human being. I no longer felt any pity whatsoever for this sad, self-pitying old shell. His vanity had destroyed my mother and now it was going to destroy me also. I realised this must have been how my mother felt when she found out about the first one.
'It's him alright. The bastard.' My mother said this very calmly. She seemed more satisfied than angry: perhaps because her detective work had borne fruit. She was right. She knew he was up to something.
'The BASTARD.' I replied angrily, and with much more conviction. My mother looked at me with impressed surprise, and hurried to follow behind me as I marched across Nina's lawn towards the big front door.
It confused me to remember the strange anxieties and nerves I experienced whenever I had walked up to this door in the past; now all those feelings had dispersed in a parxoysm of gritty determination. Even a mouse could attack a lion if it harboured enough righteous anger.
I swung open the front door and stomped over the blood-red carpet towards the living room. There was no time to appreciate the smiling frog doormat with "welcome" written on his belly. Not today.
I have to admit: I came to the same conclusion as my mother did when we both saw the sight that opened before our eyes. My father was sitting in the very same couch that I had sat on only the previous week. His eyes widened to saucers as he saw his wife and daughter standing before him, mouths hanging open to catch flies that this house was too well-cleaned and expensive to host. He had a plate of food on his lap, a fork was travelling to his mouth as we had entered and it stupidly hung there in mid-air. He ceased chewing. Sitting next to him was a young man with beautiful dark skin. One look into his large black eyes confirmed that this was Nina's brother, Raj. He was as physically beautiful as Nina was, but without the sagacious air of mystery. He too was eating. A nice, cosy meal for two.
'YOU! GAY? First my daughter and now my HUSBAND?'
Raj looked like he wanted to disappear into thin air. Perhaps that would have been for the best.
At first my father looked like he was about to burst into tears, but then he suddenly erupted into a booming laughter that echoed from his jolly stomach. Suddently Raj joined him in this concert of comedy and both were dying with the apparent hilarity of the situation.
I instantly felt comforted by this laughter: it was reassuring, and I almost joined in with the laughter, despite my ignorance. My mother, on the other hand, simply looked bewildered.
'Dolly! I have no idea why you're here or even how you knew I was here, but you've got it all wrong!' My father wiped a tear from his eye and he placed the dish of Indian food on the table as he stood up. 'As handsome as my friend Raj here is, he's not my type! I've been coming here over the past couple of weeks to learn how to cook. Yes, I'm being serious. Me cooking! Who'd have thought?
'I knew you'd laugh at me, but I've always wanted to learn how to cook, and I thought it would be a nice surprise to have a nice Indian meal waiting for you once day when you came home! But, eh, I guess that surprise is ruined now. Haha! What on earth made you think I was gay?' My father's jowls shook slightly as he pronounced the word "gay".
My mother clearly wished the ground would open up and swallow her whole. I felt pretty embarrassed myself. It was ridiculous to think my father was having an affair with an Indian man in his twenties. All he had wanted to do was treat my mother to a surprise and we had thought the very worst of him. I experienced a combination of guilt and pride: guilt in myself and pride in my father.
'Sarah, baby? I didn't expect you..' Nina was standing in the doorway, looking inside to her own mad-house. She stopped mid-sentence when she noticed my mother standing next to me.
My already confused mother shot me a quick glance. The look said only one word: "Baby?"
'I can't believe I suspected my own father of being a homosexual. Even for just those few seconds.' I laughed as I admitted this to Allison later that evening.
'I don't remember you telling me about this Indian girl Nina before..'
'I've been friends with her for a while.. I thought I had mentioned her before, no? I hadn't actually seen her for a while, so.. I forgot it was her house until I saw her, actually.' I always was a bad liar.
'Sarah. We should talk. Um, it's so hard to explain, but.. well.. um, I've met someone.'
I blinked in apprehension. This was why Allison had seemed odd with me for a while. And all along I had thought it was all on my side. A strange coldness creeped over me; not a sadness exactly, but a feeling of realisation. I finally understood that we had both been doing the exact same thing to one another. We were both unhappy. Why did it take so long for this conversation to happen?
'Oh.' I replied after a pause. 'What's her name?'
'Caroline. You don't know her.' She looked down at her feet before she uttered her next words. 'I'm so sorry, Sarah.'
I didn't tell Allison about Nina. I probably should have, but I just couldn't. I still care deeply for Allison, and I don't feel any anger at all over her finding someone new - how could I feel anger? I had done the exact same thing to her. At least she had the guts to tell me about it.
Allison tried to talk me into staying in the house. She said we could live as friends and that I'd always be welcome in her home, but I knew it was time to leave. There was no bitterness on my part, and I knew I would miss her, but I needed to have a fresh start. I needed to live somewhere new.
Nina insisted that I move in with her right away. I didn't do it. I still love Nina, and I think I always will, but I'm just not sure I can move into someone's home again. Not so soon. I always felt less than equal in Allison's home; she never made me feel that way on purpose, but internally I always knew that I was a guest in Allison's house: it wasn't my house. Now I needed somewhere of my own. Nina accepted this but I think she might have been a little hurt over the decision. She understood my reasons and asked if she could see me soon.
I said that I wanted that very much.
25 October-02 November, 2006.