"How could you?!" I cry out. I'm so disappointed in her right now. "How could you do this to yourself? To everyone who loves you and cares about you?"
She scoffs. "Oh, and you're all of the above, right?"
"As a matter of fact, I am, whether you want to believe it or not," I respond, moving towards the counter where the package lays unopened. She grabs for it and glares at me.
"You shouldn't be doing this, Susan," I say. "You deserve so much more than this. You are worth so much more than that crap."
She laughs at this. "If I'm worth so much more, than why wasn't I worth your all-encompassing affections?"
I pull back, dumbfounded. "Is that what you honestly think?" I ask her. She doesn't respond, but instead stares defiantly into my eyes. "I never stopped loving you," I say, "and I never will."
She rolls her eyes. "Than why him over me?"
I hesitate. The truth is, I don't know the answer to that question, not really. Part of me knows I took the easy way out. Part of me knows I was scared of stepping into something as big and important as Susan's life. Part of me knew I was being selfish, hoping I could have her heart, and not commit my own, because of personal fears and insecurities. Part of me knew I fell in love with Eric as an excuse to not give myself to Susan.
"I don't know," I whisper – halfway to the truth, but again, not fully. "I was scared. Scared of everything that came with being with you.
I never wanted to hurt you, and I know I did just that. And in the process, I'm hurting everyone. I never wanted this to happen to us. I never wanted us to fall apart like this."
She stares at me, and although I'm staring at my hands now, I can feel the atmosphere in the room soften a bit. She doesn't move, though, and I know her guard is still up.
"We can never go back to the what we were before, can we?" I ask, feeling a lump forming in my throat,
"No," she says, her voice even and calm. "We can't."
I can't stop the tear from spilling over my eyelid. And I can't stop the one that follows it. Or the ones that follow that one. I'm finally sobbing heavily, and holding on to the counter to stay balanced. I suddenly don't care anymore, and let go, falling to my knees.
"I'm so sorry," I bawl. "I never – I just – I love you so much, and I only ever wanted you to be happy. I told myself wasn't the one who would be able to do that. I wanted so bad to be that person, I wanted so bad to be able to hold you, and kiss all this crap away. I wanted to be everything for you. But I was so damn scared, God, I was so damn scared, and now I've ruined everything."
By this time, I'm crouched over, my face in my hands, and I couldn't stop the tears, even if I wanted to.
I was so hurt when she told me she wanted a break from – from whatever you would call us. Best friends. Would-be lovers. Soul-mates.
I was so hurt, but I understood. It was killing her to see me with Eric, just like it was killing me to see her with Julia. The only difference was that even though it was killing me, she seemed happy, and I only wanted her to be happy. But I was making her miserable at the same time. So I understood that she wanted to get away from me for a while.
But when I walked into the bathroom at school, and she had that bag of coke out… That was the worst thing she could have ever done to me. If she should cut me out of her life because I was hurting her that badly, then why could she hurt herself this badly? Was this her spite to me? Her attempt to make me feel worthless, the way I had made her feel?
I never wanted our friendship to come to this. When I'd met her two years before, we seemed to 'click'. We were best friends in a matter of no time. The fact that I found her attractive held no bearing on that -–I didn't think she would be interested in me. By the time I found out her preferences coincided with mine, we were both close enough that we didn't want to try anything on each other. We didn't want to ruin a good friendship, in case the other didn't feel the same way.
A year later, I knew I was in love with her. I knew I had never felt that way for anyone. She truly was gorgeous – though unconventionally – and she was just too perfect. She had her faults, we all do. She had had a difficult past, but so had I. We were so perfect for each other, but I didn't tell her how I felt. I didn't want to make her feel awkward, in case she didn't feel the same way about me.
By that time, I had already been dating Eric for about five months. I never expected the relationship to last that long, but I had become comfortable with him, and I didn't really want to break it off with him, even for the simple reason of not wanting to hurt him, emotionally.
To add to that, I had developed a certain amount of love for him. He really did love me. And I really did love him back. He would never compete with Susan for the largest part of my heart, but I did love him. And I was comfortable with him.
A few months later, I finally told Susan how I felt about her. I couldn't keep it from her. I had never kept anything from her. To my shock, she felt the same way for me.
What she didn't understand was why I was still with Eric if I felt so strongly for her. I didn't understand it either. The only way I could explain it to even myself, was that I was scared of the repercussions should my parents ever discover about her and I. She understood that.
Eventually though, it got too much for her. She finally told me that she needed time away from me. From the lack of 'us' that seemed to hover over us like a permanent black cloud of tension.
I told her I would give her time. I told her when she was ready, I was here, and we would talk it out. I told her no matter what happened, nothing would ever change how I felt about her.
Which brings us to now. Me, crying on the floor. Her with that bag of coke, and this strange feeling between us. This disappointment we have in each other that makes me wish I was anywhere but here. I'd always fantasized that maybe someday, after she and I had had our time around the block, maybe after I got married and had kids, and discovered I was still unhappy, that maybe she and I would finally be together.
That fantasy now looks like just that. The silly fantasy of a girl who was too afraid of true love to commit herself to it, and now may have lost the most important, special thing in her life.
The one person who meant more to her than anyone else on this planet, didn't want to have anything to do with her, and instead took company in coke and marijuana.
Finally, no more tears will come. Susan hasn't said anything this whole time. I look up, and she's nowhere in sight, but the bag of coke is on the counter. I struggle to stand up, and dump the contents down the toilet in one of the cramped stalls.
I stagger out of the bathroom, not caring that my face is splotchy and red, that my makeup is streaked down my cheeks unattractively.
I make my way to the front doors of the school, ignoring the stares I get from passing students. I step outside and see her standing by the big oak tree in the courtyard. She look over and catches my eye, for a moment. Then she turns, so her back is to me.
I know then that it's over. She and I will never again have what we did before. A wave of grief washes over me. It's like a part of me just died. With her conclusion of our relationship, she has torn part of my heart out and taken it with her.
I'll never again love someone the way I loved her.
But maybe I'll learn from this. Maybe I'll learn to give myself completely to the ones I love. Eric loves me with all his heart. Maybe I can love him with all that's left of mine. Maybe that way I'll find a way for both of us to be happy.
I hope she finds happiness. The only thing I ever wanted for her was happiness. I would rather not be the cause of her happiness than be the cause of her misery. As long as she is happy, I'll survive. It's her happiness that will keep me alive, even when she has cut me completely from her own life.
I turn back to the school just in time to see Eric walking up to me.
"What's wrong?" he asks, concerned.
I shake my head. "It doesn't matter. It's over with now. Are you ready to go home?"
He knows better than to push me for answers when I don't want to talk. I love him for that. He accepts everything about me, even if he doesn't think it's right. He understands that every part of me together is what makes me me.
I turn back for one last glance at Susan before I leave the campus. She's staring after me. For a moment I think I see a flicker of regret in her face. I know it's written all over mine. She turns away again, and I turn back to Eric.
"I love you," I say.
He smiles. "I love you, too."