He catches my downcast gaze and whispers, “I promise you, I won’t leave you.”
I look away and wrap my arms around my knees. “I don’t believe you.”
“I love you!” He says passionately. “Isn’t that enough?”
“You’ll leave me.”
I fly from him, leaving him to wonder what goes on inside of my fickle brain. I want to tell him everything, but I’m afraid.
I pass people on the street. Little children laugh. Mothers wipe dirt and grime from muddy offspring. Men joke with each other over beer or burgers. Everyone seems so normal and like they belong here. They seem so comfortable in their surroundings. Me? I can’t wait to get out of this crowded city and back to my little house.
I step through my front door. The silence pounds heavily against my ears. My mind swirls with questions and confusion. I punch the on button on my radio and relax as Classical music floods the room. I once thought I liked silence. Now all it does is let me hear the voices in my head. The voices that say I’m too much, that no one knows the real me, that I am an idiot.
I don’t see him for two days. Then on the third I find him knocking on my door. He has a bouquet of fragrant red roses in one hand and a box of milk chocolate in the other. I smile softly and lead him towards the kitchen. I hand him a cup of coffee and make a warm mug of chai for myself.
“I want to talk to you about what happened on Tuesday.” He says with usual bluntness. “Is there something you need to tell me?”
Oh. I’d hoped that he had forgotten. I never should have said that. Never should have let him know even a hint of the tumult inside of me.
He’s looking at me, half eagerly, half worries. I turn hastily to the spotless counter and drag a rag across it. Please don’t let him see the tears in my eyes. Get ahold of yourself!
I’d put this off for so long. Hoped that it would stay burried forever. But it is a wedge between us. He deserves the truth…even if he flees when he knows it.
“You’ll leave me.” I finally choke out. The other words caught in my throat, stifling my voice.
“You keep saying that.” He almost sounds irritated as he takes a step towards me. “I promise you –”
I let the rag fall from my hand. “Promises don’t mean anything when the happy, warm feelings go away.”
He sets his cup down, the porcelain clinking against the counter, and watches me with a worried brow. “Please, Klara, tell me what happened.”
“I…” I swallow hard. I will be vulnerable. One last time. “Everyone leaves me eventually. Everyone thinks they’re strong enough to deal with me, but I wear them down.”
Awe and relief spread overyhis face. “Why would you say that? I’ve known you for years and you’re not like that.”
“I’ve protected you from myself.” Tears streak down my cheeks. I speak quickly, forcing the words to leave my throat in a harsh, unceremonious sentence. “A few years ago, I was so depressed that I wanted to die. I was this close to actually ending my life.”
I can’t look at him or I will never be able to finish. I catch a quickening in his breathing.
“Then I met this young woman. She was quite a bit older than me, but she had struggled with the same thing before me. She was my rock. She got me through my depression and helped me see that there was a reason to live. She became my best friend. She promised to always be there for me and she said that she would never leave me.”
The tears are coming too fast now. I try to hide them, to wipe them away, but they continue to pour out. I want to drop to the floor and weep, but I hold tight to the counter.
My story is spilling out of chapped lips. What is he thinking? “We were best friends for four years and I clung to her. I told her everything. I shared all of my broken mess and cried to her. I told her all of my deepest pains and she listened and encouraged me. And then one day…she was gone. She stopped visiting me, she wouldn’t answer my calls or my texts. She was just gone. No explanation.” I force my voice to sound flat, to not betray the pain seering inside.
“Was there an argument or something?” He sounds confused and skeptical. Does he think I’m lying? Maybe making this up for pity?
“No. She just left me one day without any words. I’ve tried to find her and get back in contact, but she ignores me…and I know why. I-I was too much.” The words hurt, like knives slashing a wound. “I expected her to bear all of my pain and it was too much for her. She had to cut herself loose from me. I don’t blame her.”
“I’m not like her.”
“Oh, yes you are!” Walls, wall, keep the walls firm. Don’t let him in! Don’t do it again. Don’t open yourself up to more pain. They all act like this. “You say that you love me and that you’ll stay with me. And you believe it with your whole heart. But you won’t! Someday you’ll get tired of me and you’ll leave, too. I haven’t let you see the whole mess of me because I love your friendship. But this is where it has to stay. We can be friends, but no more.”
“Please go away.” I sob. My nose runs into my mouth and I can’t see through my blurred eyes. “This is best for you. I’m protecting you from a lifetime of pain.”
He says a jumble of words but I don’t listen. I half walk half push him to the door and watch as his car vanishes. Then I collapse to the ground and weep.
Friendship hurts. Rejection hurts. Life hurts. I long for the time that I had thought otherwise.
I’m alone once more. Even the music can’t stop the voices now. What’s the use?
Part of me wants him to come back, to repeat that he cares for me. To prove that he still wants the friendship of a broken girl. The other part knows that he’s gone for good. Why would he want someone like me?
No clue why I like to write depressing stories. 😂