"You were my best friend."
With none of the relatives around I finally have room to breathe, I take this chance to sit down on the sidewalk and before his tombstone. On the day of the funeral it had been rainy but now the sun was out, bursting with life more than ever, well it was summer after all. I lift my face to the sky letting the rays sink into my pores. It's been awhile since I sat in the sun like this.
"In my class my English teacher had us read The Sun Rising in class today, you know the one by John Donne that you used to recite all the time? It made me think of you and for a second I almost forgot that I couldn't talk to you anymore..." I close my eyes. "But you don't mind here if I come here every now and then right?"
There was no answer. Of course there wouldn't be.
I walk home. Fakir had only been filling in for his Father but there's no need for that now. I think I'll walk from now on. Walking is a lot more fun.
My Mom is surprised to see me as I enter.
"You're not sleeping over with Mable's?"
I shake my head and pause.
There was a faint smell of steak in the room but I didn't see any plates out on the table.
"Is dinner ready?"
"Oh...I didn't make anything."
"That's fine I'll cook tonight."
She looks up from her crossword puzzle with wide eyes as I head towards the kitchen which strangely didn't smell like anything. Curious I check the dishwasher and sure enough there was the evidence. Two dinner plates, desert plates and a pair of wine glasses. I close it just as Mother trails in after me.
"W-what are you going to make?" She eyes the dishwasher nervously. I cock my head at her before mustering a smile.
"I changed my mind...I'm going to eat out tonight. Do you want something?"
Mom has been seeing someone lately, which is good for her but I know why she feels that she has to hide it. If my Mom were to get remarried I'd have to get an apartment or something or maybe she would probably leave that house to me? I know my Mom is the type to completely immerse herself in love so I know she'll abandon me soon enough. Maybe it's wrong of me to put it that way though... still It's only a matter of time before she spills the beans.
Whenever I eat out I always go to Porker's Palace, a place one of my exes brought me to on our first date. The relationship didn't last long but the food was good. I order some bruschetta and pasta.
"Eating alone again?"
I look up to see one of Mable's exes with his friends.
"I heard Mable's having a slumber party tonight, weren't you invited?"
"You're still keeping tabs on Mable?"
For some reason they chose to snag the table beside me.
"Is she seeing anyone?" he asks.
"How should I know?"
"You're her cousin aren't you?"
"...She's got her eyes on someone but nothing's official yet."
"Figures." One of his friends laugh. "Slut."
I furrow my brows at him but I don't say anything. Levine glances at his friend to me.
"You heard that right? She called your cousin a slut."
I purse my lips.
"When I called her a slut you slapped me, you're going to let him go? Why?!"
That's because I didn't know how much Mable had changed.
A woman who has many casual sexual partners is defined as a slut. Mable's not a prostitute, she doesn't sell her body for money and it's not like she throws herself at any man she sees either but...
My meal arrives, I thank the waiter who smiles curtly and moves on.
Before I can even take a bite out of my bruschetta my phone rings.
I pick it up surprised to see the name Charlotte as the caller ID. Instead of answering I stare.
Had I not deleted this number? Why hadn't I?
A girl holding a phone to her ear watches me from a few feet away before grinning.
"I knew it was you!"
She hangs up and rushes over.
"It's me Charlotte!" she exclaims.
"Should I be happy to see you?"
Her smile wilts a little before perking back up.
"But you had my phone number!"
"No, you had mine, you called." I remind her.
"Oh...right.." Crestfallen she stands there awkwardly.
"Did you need something from me?"
"No! ...I was just happy to see you..."
"I suppose you would be seeing the face of someone you stabbed in the back."
"Uh...about that, technically it wasn't me. It was-
"You knew about it but you didn't tell me until afterwards, so technically you're an accomplice."
"Aw, c'mon don't be like that." Levine intervenes. "She seems nice."
I ignore him.
"Why are you even here? I told you that you're dead to me. What makes you think you can walk up to me and pretend we're still friends?"
"You're right, I had forgotten...I'm sorry though, I really am." She stands there for a bit before turning to leave.
Watching her go I exhale.
"You don't think that was a bit harsh?" Levine frowns at me.
"It's none of your business."
"I've always wondered why you're alone...but you have trust issues don't you? You got burned by someone pretty bad right?"
I glare at him and he smiles apologetically.
"Is that why he left?"
"That one guy, the one who went overseas."
I knew who he was talking about but I pretend as if I have no idea. I blink at him.
"You were dating that guy right?"
...barely. He asked me to wait and I said I didn't mind, I had nothing else to do and he hasn't called or anything so he's as good as gone. Which was just great considering I hadn't made an investments him so it's fine.
Seeing my reaction Levine's friends begin to pay notice.
"You have terrible luck with men, you know that?"
"And you have terrible luck with women." I snap back.
"You two should date." Friend A says.
Hearing this I almost choke.
Hearing this made me remember the day I met Levine. It was summer vacation, I just happened to get parched at the right moment which was when Levine's shift started at this little smoothie shack. He was funny and cute, if I hadn't made the mistake of mentioning how cute the boy who worked at the smoothie shack was to Mable upon returning she probably wouldn't have even known he existed...In a way I'm also an accomplice of Mable's who aided in hurting him. Yet he's here talking to me now. I had killed my feelings for him along time ago but I still felt guilty. I'm no better than Charlotte really.
I blink. I think Levine's group must have said something while I was thinking because they were all staring at me expectantly.
"Did you hear anything that we said just now?"
"...you said Hey."
Friend A gives Levine a pitiful look.
I finish my pasta.
"Well, I'm leaving." I say.
They all look like they all want to say something but whatever it is it's probably not important.
"See you in school." Levine calls.
"Yeah." I don't look back.