I wake up at a quarter past five in the morning, after about four hours of tossing and turning. I feel refreshened despite the lack of sleep. I convince myself that my tumultuous nights sleep has something to do with the fact that I am jet-lagged. I moan a little and move my hand to my forehead, letting my eyes flutter open. My room is dark and the only light comes from the street lamps outside. I have not gotten a curtain yet, and I doubt I will ever invest in one.
I lie in silence for a while, staring at the ceiling. There is a small black spot above my head. I try to make out what it is, but it seems impossible in the dark. I do not remember there being a crack, nor a hole, but then again… Why would I have noticed?
I stretch my arms and let out a yawn, before pulling up in a sitting position. My duvet is tangled around my legs, and the room temperature is too hot. I feel sticky and uncomfortable, but force myself to swing my legs over the edge of the bed. I sit like that for a minute or two, trying to encourage myself to get up. I am not sure what to do when I get up, and that makes my bed seem much more inviting. Even though I wish I could fall into a deep and dream free sleep, I soon find myself walking across the light wooden floor towards my open suitcase. I have not unpacked yet, but have no intention on doing so before later today a couple days from now.
The first thing I see in my suitcase is a Brandy Melville striped t-shirt. I bend down slowly and reach out for the shirt, before slipping it over my head and covering up my bare upper body.
The living room lies in darkness, and the only light that leads me forward, is the crack in the half closed kitchen door. The light is turned on in the kitchen and I can hear someone mess around. Camille is probably jet-lagged too. I brush a sling of hair behind my ear, and reach out for the door handle, pulling the door wide open.
Camille is standing in a big t-shirt, with a cup of coffee planted firmly in her right hand as her left forefinger runs over the pages of a book that I have not read. She looks up as she hears me enter the small kitchen. A smile grows on her lips, “Can’t sleep either?”
I shake my head and look around in the kitchen. Camille moved everything in here yesterday, but I have not seen how it has turned out. All of our kitchen ware is placed nicely on the shelves or in the drawers, and the coffee machine (that she got for 18 years old birthday) is connected to a plug in the wall.
“Want some coffee?” She asks and nods towards the machine.
“Did you buy coffee beans?”
She nods, “I did a little grocery shopping while you were out with Harry yesterday. Speaking of that, how did it go?” She puts down her coffee cup, and makes a dog ear on the page she is currently reading.
“It went fine.” I admit.
She raises her eyebrows, wanting more than a simple fine.
I move a bit further into the kitchen and lean against the kitchen counter, grabbing the wooden edge with my right hand. “It was fun,” I start out - not exactly sure about where to begin. I do not want to tell her about me losing my bag, since she won’t trust me with my apartment keys ever again. They are mine, but she will still manage to give me a speech about what responsibility means - even though I am fully aware of what it means.
“So…?” Camille pushed it, “What did you guys do?”
“Dinner.” I said with a small nod, “Then drinks.”
Camille sighed and folded her arms across her chest, “Okay, Mel. You’ve got to get more juicy than that!”
I smiled a little, “Cami… We’re just friends.”
“Your theories are bullshit.” I say calmly.
“My theories are very good matter of fact. So now you better go ahead and give me details, Stark.”
“I was wondering if we could maybe go for a walk, then I can tell you while we walk?” I suggest humbly.
Camille smiles at me, “Of course.”
“I just have to grab a shower first.” I say.
“Sure, go head - I’ll get dressed. Perhaps we can find an early opening breakfast place or something.”
“I hope so.”
Outside it is just as dark as it was when Harry followed me home. When we walk down the staircase, I glance at the place where Harry and I sat some hours earlier. I smile to myself.
The night is hot, so I feel warm enough in a dress, a sweater and a pair of biker boots. Camille and I walking arm in arm down the street, our eyes wandering over our new neighbourhood - sucking in the atmosphere, the air, the New York lifestyle.
After about two hundred meters of complete silence, she decides to ask me about Harry, and I answer this time - with complete honesty. She is after all the closest friend I have, and if I do not talk about what happened last night, I am afraid that I will overthink it and ruin whatever is going on.
“Something was different between us,” I start out and look at her. She wrinkles her forehead a little, “Good or bad different?”
“I don’t know. I mean, it felt nice, but it felt nice in a different way.”
“In what way?”
“Like I just met him.”
“Explain.” Camille demands.
“It was like he was a stranger that I somehow knew everything about - does that make sense?” I ask carefully.
“But that sounds like a bad thing?” Camille seems confused.
“No, not like that. But like… It felt like we were on a really good first date, without the awkward getting-to-know-each-other part.”
“A date?” She suddenly widens her eyes. They match the smile growing on her lips.
I laugh a little and shake my head, “I don’t know. I don’t know what it was.”
“Wait, was it a date?”
“No. It was not.” I state.
She nods a little and seems to sink back into her own thoughts. I know that she is thinking about the exact same thing that I am. I am just thinking about what I experienced and what I felt. It was not a date, but why it felt so much like it, manages to surprise me again. I am not a fan of emotional surprises, and therefore try to not put too much into it, but it is harder the more I think about it. I clearly remember the way he grabbed my hand in the bar - it was not obviously romantic, but there was something intense about it. Something flirty.
“But it felt like a date or what?” Camille suddenly asks, as if she has read my ever long stream of thoughts.
“It felt like we were… I don’t know. Like we were trying to impress each other in different ways than before.”
“In what kind of ways?”
“I am not sure. I just feel like he was flirting with me.”
“Ha!” Camille says aloud.
“I knew he was into you!” She insists happily. I am not sure if I want to believe that - the thought of it makes me somewhat uncomfortable. Harry and I are not made to be together romantically, just the picture of us snuggling up to a movie makes me feel weird.
“I am not so sure about that.” I therefore say.
“Mel, for once… Please do not try to fight it.”
“What is that supposed to mean?” I ask, but we both know what it means. I have not been in more than a sexual relationship with a guy ever since Jake Bennett. There is something about your first heartbreak, it just changes you as a person. It is funny how you picture your first relationship, your first kiss, your first date, yours first time having sex, but never your first heartbreak. Maybe it is because heartbreak is too painful to even imagine. It is painful and I am sure that in some way, it changes everyone a little bit. I am not sure you can go through a heartbreak and come out as the
same person you were before the pain. Something is always different. It can be the way you drink your morning coffee, the songs you listen to, the way you treat the sex you are attracted to, the way you think of yourself. In my case I think more than one thing changed after Jake Bennett. I am not going to say that I was a completely different person after him, but pain always manages to do something weird to us. It can do both bad and good.
In my case it did both.
I have not laid eyes on a boy with romantic intentions after him - I am not sure if that is bad or good. Camille thinks that it has something to do with the fact that I won’t even try to make it work, if I do not instantly feel the connection. There are other things - like the fact that I have not listened to the song Broken Strings since the break up.
I am not saying that I am missing Jake Bennett - I am most certainly not missing Jake Bennett. Matter of fact, I think he might the one missing me. I moved on from us along time ago, but I can not run from what the experience of heartbreak taught me.
But as I am walking down the streets of Manhattan, I understand how small my world was back then. It was a small-town and now I can not careless about Jake Bennett and his rolled cigarettes and beer breath, nor can I care less about Holmes Chapel Comprehensive School, and Miss. Foster that always seemed to have something against me. I do not care about Maggie Abrams and the rest of the theatre/choir girls. I only care about right now and the good memories from Holmes Chapel - because I can assure you that there are more than just bad memories. But the good are so good, that if I think about them now, I will miss the summers on blankets by the lake, the Christmas Holidays and the stomach-cramping laughter that seemed to follow Camille and my friends wherever we went.
I let a smile dance over my lips.
“I won’t.” I finally reply, but I am not talking about Harry. I am talking about everything but Harry. I am talking about this new life, these new memories I will make, this city and this air I am breathing. I am talking about me and my future. Because when it comes to Harry and I, I don't think I am capable of doing anything but fighting it.
But Camille doesn't see it. She looks at me and cracks into a smile.