The second day after he left me, I woke up at seven, as was my habit. As I was preparing some breakfast –I had woken up in the mood for crepes, for some reason- the doorbell rang. For a moment I feared, I hoped it would be him, and then I shook the thought away and headed for the door. My Mum was there, and she held a covered tray the contents of which I could only guess at on her hands. Right behind her was my best friend, and next to her another good friend of mine. With a watery smile I invited them in.
My Mum set the tray on the kitchen counter and then hugged me tight. I felt so loved then, so warm and safe, and I couldn't help but marvel at how close we were, at how lucky I was. She whispered "I love you, hon" in my ear and then turned to the kitchen, letting my friends greet me. The both hugged me in silence, and once again I felt a treacherous tear sliding down my cheek. We set the table in silence, both the crepes I had made and the cheesecake Mum had brought, and my friends had apparently gone out to buy my favorite tea and some hot chocolate. We ate in silence too, and their quiet support was worth more than a thousand words.
As we finished our food I broke the silence, not bothering to get up and clear the table up.
'He is such an idiot.' I could see my Mum nodding silently as she passed me a cup of tea, with milk and tons of sugar, just how I liked it. 'He walked in here last night, told me we were over and started gathering up his things.' I swallowed a whimper. 'He said he wanted us to be friends, but he didn't love me anymore.' And even my friends were alarmed at the hate behind my words. I've never been a violent person, but I have always tended to give back the pain caused. 'He said... he said he was in love with another person.'
I stared at the cup in my hands in silence. I didn't have to look up to know my friends and mother were trading meaningful looks.
I felt a warm hand on my shoulder, and I lifted my eyes to meet them again.
'Did he say anything else, love?' I shook my head. I didn't want to think about it.
'He said some nasty things.' I winced. It hadn't been exactly like that... 'Well, not really nasty things, just... things that hurt. He said he never loved me. That he tried, but he just couldn't.' And this time I couldn't stop the tears. I took an angry swing from my tea and then turned to the liquor cabinet. I had never been fond of alcohol, but he had insisted on having it, if only for the visits. At least it would come in handy now.
I took out the scotch bottle without giving it much thought, and my best friend got the glasses. I handed Mum the bottle, and she poured each of us a generous amount. They sipped the drink, and I drowned nearly half of it in one gulp. I guess I was lucky I had a high tolerance for alcohol, because that day I drank nearly a bottle all by myself.
I ranted angrily for a while, and they listened. Slowly, my rant turned more light-hearted, and my friends pipped in with a few comments. Mum made a joke, and we all giggled. I've never giggled before, I thought, staring into my glass dizzily. Must have been the drink.
From insulting him we went to demeaning the whole male population.
And for a while I forgot about him, the talk lulling me into a happy state. At some point we moved into the living room, Mum retelling some story of hers, and then there was a silence and I couldn't help but whisper "Why didn't he tell me sooner?".
If only I had known, I wouldn't have tried so hard. I wouldn't have let myself fall for him, and I wouldn't have spent the last ten months thinking we had a future together.
I wouldn't have let myself dream, and the infatuation would have passed, and I would have found another. The pain I felt wouldn't be tearing me apart.
Mum hugged me close, and though I had grown much from the scrawny four-year-old girl that used to curl in her lap, I found myself doing exactly that.
My best friend excused herself. She had to get to work if she didn't want to get fired.
Then I panicked, because I hadn't been to mine for the past two days, but she told me she had already called, and that they weren't expecting me until the following week. Apparently, I had a bad case of flu.
She kissed my cheek, muttered "I like the hair", and with a wink she was walking through the door.
Soon afterwards my other friend left –she had a dinner to attend- not before asking me if I would be alright. Cuddled safely against my mother, I nodded, and squeezed her hand.
Them coming meant a lot to me, showing how much they cared even if this was only a silly break-up.
Alone with my Mum, I found myself regaining my strength and my calm again.
She carded her fingers through my hair, the caress soothing, and I rested, eyes closed, against her. Sometimes we talked in low murmurs, but for the most part we just enjoyed the silence, the quietness, and the feeling of being together.
I soaked up her love, and when the light started to dim, I had enough energy left to help her in the kitchen. We had dinner together, and then, surprising even myself, I urged her to go back home. Dad and my little sis must have been missing her.
With a soft smile and a parting hug, she left. Her eyes seemed less burdened, as if reassured I would be ok. She has always been a very perceptive woman, and to this day there is little she has been wrong about. This was not one of those, almost unnoticeable, mistakes.
As I tidied up the kitchen, picking up discarded bottles and forgotten tea cups, the phone rang. Even my little brother had heard about it –and that was saying something, as he had been staying in New York at the time, studying in college, and he contacted us once a week at most- and he had, wonder of wonders, called to know how I was. The talk was awkward, as usual, but it was so sweet of him to call, really, that I didn't know if I wanted to hung up at all. I asked him about life in the campus, and girlfriends or potential love interests, and as was his norm he gave some noncommittal answers. Still, I felt warmed by the call, and when he asked me if I was alright, his tone conveying the concern he felt, I couldn't help the smile stretching my lips.
'Yes, I think I'll be alright, bro. Take care, will you?'
We soon hung up. When I went to bed that night, I stayed awake for a while, just staring at the ceiling. Yes, I would be alright.