Everything, includes the following.
- Eating the third slice of double chocolate gateau at your leaving party and ruining my diet that I’d been doing so well at
- My rendition of my heart will go on after the fifth glass of wine in front of your work mates
- Cycling home and walking up with the pillow stuck with crusted blood to my face
- Leaving out the back door like I was guilty
We were walking into the pub together and you were telling me how excited you were to be starting a fresh. I said you were talking in clichés. I got us both a glass of wine. You said that you wanted to spread your wings and see the world. I told you enough with the clichés already, but you carried on. Queen of the “already been quoted thousands of times before”.
You chinked your glass with mine and smiled. Your cheekbones were prominent and your make up made your eyes big and wide. I thought you looked stunning, but I never said.
“I’ll miss you, you know that?” you said.
“Don’t go all soppy on me now.” I swallowed the burning lump in my throat and sipped my wine. People came through the door, loudly. Cheering your name and laughing. You got up, smiling and waving at everyone. Some older guy kissed you on the cheek and asked if you wanted a drink. You said yes and swished off to the bar in your swishy dress that clinged to your tiny waist and brushed against your long legs.
I sat staring into my glass of wine for a few more minutes until you called me over. You introduced me to people I didn’t know, people I didn’t care to know. You made me shake hands and smile at everyone while you kept people laughing and spoke all your favourite clichés.
“A new challenge is just what I need.”
“You’ll be great.” Some bitch with a bob said.
“I think it’s time to see some of the world, you know, spread my wings.” – ah ha. I thought. You’ve said that one already. Bad enough using the clichés, let alone repeating them in the same evening to the same ears.
I drank the rest of my wine. I ordered another and a side of vodka. You said that I should lay off the vodka, told everyone at the bar how I once stripped on a pool table after a bottle of the cheap stuff. Some young guy with dark hair and almond eyes laughed and said, “Bar man, make hers a double.”
The night went on. Your eyes got more glazed with each glass of wine. You danced. I sat down and watched. I spoke to the guy with the brown hair and the almond eyes, he brought me more vodka and we kissed. Did you know that? I kissed him to make you notice. To make you change your tracks on the dance floor and move your way to me and say, “hey, stop kissing him. You’re mine.” Then you’d take me home, you’d stay with me. But, you didn’t even look over. You had one hand in the air and was dancing to “We Will Rock You” by Queen.
I managed to brush off the guy with the almond eyes and the brown hair. He lost interest when I didn’t take my clothes off and dance on the pool table after the copious amounts of vodka he was buying me. He moved on to someone who looked ‘office hot’. The best of a bad bunch.
The karaoke came out. I was swaying on my feet by this point and was soon enough signing myself up to sing “my heart will go on.” People got out there lighters and swayed in front of me as I sang out of tune and out of time.
I went outside for fresh air and a cigarette. I threw up in the ash tray. I had beer to get rid of that hot sick taste. It was like lava. Why did you make me have the curry before me went out?
You saw that I was in a slumped up state in the corner so you brought me a piece of chocolate gooey gateau.
“You having a good time?” You said. I nodded and began to inhale the cake. I couldn’t get it in fast enough. I spent weeks trying to resist the urge to eat my feelings.
“You’ll be okay, won’t you?”
“Me?” I said with my mouth full. Flecks of cake fell out and onto your dress. You brushed it off. “I’ll be fine. I was fine before, I’ll be fine now.”
“You will be. I know you will be. Anyway, we’ll stay in touch. You can come over and stay with me.”
“Ha! Bit far for my bank account to take me.”
“You can save.”
“Yeah.” I said. “I’m getting more cake.” You were left on your own for about 20 seconds but for those moments you lost your smile. Your mouth turned down and you looked like tears might start. I almost ran back to tell you to stay and that my heart was broken in a way that I didn’t know it could. But just as my adrenaline got started and my palms started sweating at the thought of telling you, someone came over and made you laugh. You were fine.
I ate two more slices of cake. I eat when I’m stressed. I eat when I’m sad and I eat when I’m scared. That was why I had three slices.
I left the party without saying goodbye to you because I was bad at goodbyes. I didn’t want to show you how much you leaving was hurting me. I knew that I’d end up in an uncontrollable crying fit that couldn’t be cured by cuddles. I needed an, “I love you.”
I rode home on my bike. I didn’t wear my helmet and I found ringing my bell hilarious. I was cackling through tears like some kind of mad, misunderstood witch.
I fell off. Hit my head on someone’s garden wall. There was so much blood, I had to take my top off to bandage up my wound. Heads bleed bad, you remember we found that out when you fell over drunk after New Year ’s Eve. We spent New Year ’s Day up A and E eating the contents of the vending machine and watching crap day time TV.
In the morning I sat up in bed and the pillow followed, stuck to my head with dried blood. I took my phone out of my handbag to see that I had missed calls and text messages from you. My hazy hangover made me slow, but all I could think of was that you were trying to tell me you had changed your mind. You loved me. You needed to stay with me. You weren’t going to go.
But that wasn’t the message I got.
You were angry and shouting down the phone. “I needed a goodbye from you, you coward. You selfish bitch.” You said I was the worst friend you’d had. You said I selfish loner who’d die alone. You loathed my introverted-ness, that you always claimed you loved.
Then then there was the screeching of brakes and a scream that still chills the marrow of my bones. That scream wakes me up every night in a cold sweat of regret.
The phone went dead.
I almost didn’t go to your funeral, but your words resounded in my mind. “I needed a goodbye from you.” I said goodbye and I cried into a bunch of tulips. I left them, and a piece of my heart that was fit to explode with love for you, by your grave side.