There was a gentle knock on the door, ‘May I come in hunny?’
Sophia didn’t answer. She stared at the door. Listening to her mother’s footsteps become quieter as she walked away. Sophia hadn’t moved since the day of the incident in maths. After her outburst her mother came and found her in some park a few blocks from the school. Her mother brought her home and took her to her room. Sophia climbed into bed, pulled her blankets over her head and fell asleep. It’s been three days, still, all she’s done is sleep. Occasionally she’ll open her phone, seeing hundreds of texts and missed calls from Calum. Every now and again Tom’s name will appear on the screen. But every time she sees either of their names she shuts her phone, rolls over and shuts her eyes. She can’t tell how many days it’s been now. The light in her room hasn’t changed. Sophia’s turned it into a domain of darkness. At least here, alone, no one can hurt her.
Sophia dreamed of wild things. Of adventures with people who made her smile. Her dreams were full of laughter and joy. In her fantasy world there was no Tom, no Calum, no students from school. Only people she’d never met before. New people. People who cared about her and wanted to see her smile more than anything in the world. There was no pain, no selfishness. It was a utopia. Sophia’s depiction of true happiness.
Julie was at on the couch across from Calum, who was slumping, he hadn’t showered in days. ‘That’s it!’ Julie stood up and walked over to Calum, dragging him from his chair, ‘This is pathetic.’ She pulled him down the hall, ‘Are you so stupid that you’re going to give up on her?’ Julie dropped him in front of the bathroom door. ‘Shower. Change. Make yourself presentable. We’re going.’ Calum didn’t have the energy to fight. He opened the door and walked inside. Julie slid to the floor across from the door, leaning against the wall, ‘Those poor kids.’ Her voice was quiet.
Julie was driving, attempting to strike conversation with Calum. Small talk wasn’t working, so she tried something new. ‘What did you do?’
Calum looked over to Julie, ‘Huh?’
‘Why is she so mad at you? That’s what I want to know.’
Calum looked out the window, ‘I don’t know.’
‘Don’t lie to me.’
There was a pause in conversation, without moving his head Calum responded, ‘I hurt someone she loves.’
‘There’s a guy. It isn’t me. His name’s Tom. I hurt him.’ Julie didn’t know how to response. Calum laughed. ‘I thought she loved him, but I was wrong. It’s not as if she loved him, no, she still loves him.’
‘Why did you hurt him?’
Calum rubbed the back of his head, ‘She loved him.’ Calum turned to Julie, ‘You can’t take advantage of the people who love you. That just isn’t good enough.’
Julie turned down Sophia’s road, ‘You need to tell her.’
‘What’s the point?’
‘Would you get rid of a brand new car because it got a scratch on one of the doors?’
‘You’d fix it right?’
Julie smiled, ‘Well, you’s are like that car. Don’t throw it out. Fix it.’
Julie knocked on Sophia’s door, ‘Hey Soph. Haven’t seen you in a while. Can I come in?’
Sophia turned and looked at her door, her eyes widened. She sat up the slightest bit. Her voice was quiet, ‘Yeah.’
Julie twisted the door handle and took a step inside, shutting the door behind her, ‘Mind if I open the blind?’
Sophia looked to the window beside her bed, ‘No.’
Julie opened the blind. She sat on the bed beside Sophia. ‘Hey, Soph.’
Sophia’s eyes filled with tears. ‘Julie.’
Julie wrapped her arms around Sophia, ‘He’s here, he came with me.’
Sophia lifted her head, she spoke between sobs, ‘I don’t want to see him.’
Julie laughed, ‘Don’t lie to me.’
‘He did a bad thing. It hurts. I can’t see him.’
‘If a girl had have broken his heart before you met him, would you be mad at her?’
Sophia leant back against her bed head, ‘I guess.’
‘And if you thought he still loved that girl?’
Sophia’s eyes dilated, ‘I don’t love him!’
Julie laughed, ‘Which him?’
Sophia looked out the window, ‘Tom.’ Her voice was quiet.
Calum stepped into the room, ‘Soph.’
Sophia looked over at her door. Julie laughed, ‘Well, I’m going to have a cup of coffee with your mum.’ She shut the door behind her as she left.
Calum stood in front of the door, Sophia looked over at him. ‘You were listening?’
‘You don’t love him?’
‘That was a private conversation.’
Calum had gotten the spring back in his step, he was more playful once more, ‘Do you love me?’
Sophia looked out of her window, ‘of course not.’
Sophia and Calum sat up all night, talking. Just talking. There were tears and laughter occasionally. It’d been as if they hadn’t seen each other in months. But it hadn’t been months. Not even weeks. Not even one week. It’d been three days. They stayed apart for three days, and that killed them. They spoke about everything. About Tom. About maths. About their dreams and hopes, they spoke about everything they needed to speak about. They covered every topic. All except for one, the one topic that they both feared the most; love.