On my way to my first class, I finished up my homework and rushed before the bell rang and I would be marked late. My eyes found Caroline within the sea of people and I called out to her. She heard my call and turned her head, but turned it back around when she caught a glimpse of me. Maybe she didn’t see me, and maybe I’m just assuming things.
“Caroline!” During the last five minutes of lunchtime, I spotted Caroline with Rowan at our usual spot every Thursday. She seemed as if she was talking to Rowan about something serious, but I headed in their direction anyway. Anything he can say to my best friend he can say in front of me, right? As I was halfway there, Caroline wiped a small tear from her eye and grabbed her bag hastily, followed by Rowan, and walked away after we exchanged a short glance. I followed her to class. It was already last class, and I had a study block, so it was bearable if I missed it just this once. I watched her kiss Rowan goodbye when she dropped him off at his class and continued on to hers. The bell rang. She started walking at a faster pace, so I had to jog. I reached out and put my hand on her shoulder to keep her from slipping away.
“Hey, I saw you with Rowan earlier but you just left, what’s up with that?” Her eyebrows furrowed slightly, almost unnoticeably.
“What are you, stalking me?” Caroline placed her hand on my chest and pushed me back a bit.
Confused, I moved her hand away so wasn’t resting on my body, like she was trying to have a space between us. “Get over yourself, Caroline. I’m not stalking you. I just want to talk.”
“I really don’t, Venus,” Caroline took a step back. As she turned to walk away, I broke the silence. Class had started.
She stopped and turned around, but she was still aching to leave, “What do you want, Venus? I thought I already said I don’t want to talk to you.” Her eyes looked more tired than usual.
“Don’t talk, then. I will. Caroline, what’s up? I’m clueless but you won’t tell me what’s wrong! You ignore me whenever I call out your name or when you see me around in the halls like I don’t exist… Caroline, why?” She was silent. Her eyes wandered from the notebook in her hands to the cacophonic sound of the students in the band room all playing their instruments simultaneously. “You can’t ignore me forever, Caroline. You’ll have to talk to me sometime, you know.”
“What if I don’t want to? You don’t deserve to be my friend after what you did. Rowan is my friend,” she chuckled dryly and takes a small step back.
“But what is it that I did that’s so horrible you won’t ever talk to me again? You have to tell me, Caroline!” I was frustrated, even if sometimes being friends with her was toxic for me, during fights, especially, she was my best friend. I relied on her for most of my life.
Rowan was even more toxic than the rare times when Caroline was. I think he rubbed off on her. I had always remembered this one time in Freshman year, Caroline and Rowan had just met. Rowan’s eyes laid on me, and the feelings started blooming. He tried his hardest to be noticed in my eyes, but I had only thought of Rowan as a friend, end of story. Not really. He became obsessed in a way, but he never won his “eyecandy of a prize,” in simpler words, me. Rowan was livid, and hated my guts ever since I turned him down. And when he started dating Caroline, oh boy, did my world twist and turn, having him constantly scheming for the next time a sabotage was plain in sight between me and Caroline’s friendship.
Their relationship was, as I said, extremely toxic for both of them, especially Caroline.
“It should be easy enough for you to figure out by yourself. This conversation is making me sick.” She ran her fingers through her bleached-but-natural-looking hair and visibly rolled her eyes at me.
I grabbed her arm to prevent her from walking away, because I just couldn’t have my lifelong best friend not talk to me over something I didn’t know I did. “Caroline, you’re making me sick. I thought you were my friend!”
Her black eyes got glossy and reddened and puffed with each second, “Yeah? Well I thought you were mine until you did what you did. I would never have done that to you. Even if I wasn’t in my right mind, it wouldn’t even pop into my head, Venus! You can’t do things like that behind my back!” She took another step back, then one more. She was shaking and for a split second, it seemed as if she was some sort of vase that was almost too heavy, on the extreme edge of the table; A single push, one teardrop, and she would come crashing down, collapsing on the ground. I almost felt bad for the girl.
“You have got to be kidding me. You know what? This isn’t even worth it,” I was on the verge of tears myself, now I was the vase.
Another step back. She spoke slowly but surely, “Fine. Good riddance, Venus.” She almost seemed genuine when she said that, which broke a piece with her name on my heart a little.
My voice turned soft, and in my eyes I begged for a forgiveness, or rather a permission, to be friends with her again. “Caroline” her eyes turn back to look at mine again, both as if just polished like a pair of the most expensive black diamonds, “what did I do?” The both of us sniffed. I was vulnerable, I showed her that.
“Why did you try to sleep with Rowan the night we went to that frat party?” She couldn’t handle the air holding at her throat, choking her in a way. And so the vase fell to the ground.
“What?” My eyes were no longer clear sky on a warm summery day, they were a storm at sea, raging. This time, I was the one taking the step back.
I always knew Caroline’s relationship with Rowan was toxic for her, and I tried to warn her a few times, unsuccessful. He stooped down to a horrific level to get us to break up our friendship. “Did Rowan tell you that?” I chuckled dryly, “you know what, of course he did. And you believed him. Caroline, I didn’t try to sleep with him! I would never do that to you.”
Her eyes softened slightly. “And I should believe you because…?”
“Because we’re best friends, oh my god! Why would I ever lie to you? Can’t you see what he’s trying to do again, Caroline?”
Her eyes wandered again, this time on me. First from my eyes scanning my upper body, to the floor. I hope she was starting to believe me. “So? Does my side sound legit now?”
She was still silent, her eyes wandering all over the place now. “You know, I just can’t believe you didn’t ask me first and rushed to believe Rowan. For f***’s sake, Caroline, we’re best friends. You know me. I don’t believe this,” I turned around and walked away from her. She was absolutely unbelievable.
I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know. Who am I supposed to believe?
Venus was my best friend ever since preschool. He’s been with me for the past year, but we’ve gone through hell and back. But her and I have also been through hell and back.
Why would he lie to me, though? Why would she lie? I hate this. Who’s the one lying to me?
I hate that I’m so blind, and can’t see the truth. I love them both.
It was him.
He was the liar. I didn’t believe it at first, but it must have been him.
She was right, he was toxic, and I had to leave him,
while trying to mend my friendship with her.
God, I have no idea how this is gonna work out.
I tried, I swear I really tried. But he won’t let me go. He said he loved me.
I said it back. Am I trapped now?
He’s been bringing me chocolates, flowers, candy, you name it, really. He’s been acting suspicious. She still won’t talk to me, she won’t even open my texts!
I know that because in Freshman year, I got annoyed that she never replies instantly and wanted to see if she opens her texts but ignores them.
She never ignored me.
He is controlling and manipulative.
He told me I couldn’t hang out with certain people, most of my guy friends,
to be exact, but still manages to have me love him so deeply.
I love him.
Am I going crazy?
Yes, I am.
Am I really in love with him, or with the idea of him?
Or the idea that he loves me?
I swore to myself I would still try to leave him.
I need to get her back.
I love her.
He hit me. He got angry, and he took it out on me.
How did I get myself into this mess to begin with?
It’s my fault. It’s all my fault.
He hit me and I have been alone for longer than time can identify.
She still won’t pick up the phone.