One day, after Jem has been staying for a few days now, we're all hanging out at my house and one by one everybody starts to leave. First it's Carrie because she's got to go home for dinner, then Alice for the same reason, then Johanna because she got the job and she has to go start her shift. Alex stays for a long while but then he has to go and get one of his cars fixed and then it's just Jem and I. I'm sort of uncomfortable because we don't know each other that well and I'm wondering whether we'll still joke and laugh as much if it's just the two of us but Jem doesn't stop making witty comments so it ends up being fine.
"So would Alex be really jealous if he knew I stayed once he left?" Jem asks, a glint in his eye.
I laugh. "No, he wouldn't."
"Ah, what a shame." Jem shakes his head. "I'd love to see that guy try and punch me."
I laugh, shaking my head. "Why am I getting the impression that you're not a fan of Alex?"
He shrugs. "I'm just messing around, it's like a guy thing. I like Alex."
"I find that hard to believe." I say.
He grins. "I just... I don't know, he's kind of-"
"A dick?" I suggest. "Like you're being right now?"
He laughs. "Whatever."
Jem's just a fun person to hang around with. He really reminds me of Johanna in the way he always has something to say about everything and his confidence. If I were to describe him to somebody, it kind of sounds like I'm describing Alex; Jem is funny, arrogant, kind, confident. Alex is all of those things as well but they're completely different. I guess if I believed in souls, then their souls would be made up of different things. It's like you think they should be the same and you can't quite figure out what makes them different, but something definitely does.
"Well, my cousin's friend." Jem says, standing up. "It is my time to depart. I shall see you the next time our dear Johanna invites you around to have a sleepover and ruin my night."
I laugh. "Indeed. Bye."
"See ya." he grins as he leaves the house.
Dad stares after him, obviously wondering who this random boy is.
"That wasn't Alex." Dad says.
"You're not wrong." I agree. "It was Jem, Johanna's cousin."
"Ah right." Dad nods. "So are you and Alex still together?"
"Yes. Jem is just Johanna's cousin."
"Good. I like Alex."
"I like Alex too." I say, letting a bit of a patronising tone slip into my voice. "That's why he's my boyfriend. I also like Jem who is a boy and my friend, but that does not make Jem by boyfriend by the way."
"Alright, alright." Dad puts his hands up in surrender. "Just because your ancient dad can't keep up with all the young people things."
When I was a bit younger, I always used to be on the verge of being completely happy and then I'd convince myself that there was something wrong in my life and I'd kind of sabotage myself into being unhappy. Then I'd slowly become happier again and it would turn into this cycle. It was never serious unhappiness, it was just always kind of stress turning into contentment and then back into stress again.
I've been so happy and content with everything lately that I'd completely forgotten about that entire cycle but as I sit watching movies with my Dad and talking to him about Alex and my friends, I think about the cycle again. I prepare to find something wrong and to become stressed and down and for this feeling of complete happiness to feel like a dream that is so far out of my reach but I can't find any faults whatsoever. I wait for it to feel like the calm before the storm, even if the cycle is beyond my control, but it doesn't. Everything has just fallen into place.