I was wailing in the passenger’s seat on the car ride home after a party. I stopped to catch my breath, check my cellphone and resume the crying. I was upset because my exboyfriend had been at the party. Everything had been perfectly fine and terribly wrong all at the same time. All I really wanted was to be on good terms with Paul, and even with his new girlfriend. But she wasn’t having it. Luckily, my boyfriend Ant was driving the car, without a jealous bone in his body. He was being extremely supportive.
“But why do they hate me! What did I do?!” I wept, tears streaming down my face. I was talking about my ex and his new girlfriend. I was mourning my past friendship with my ex. We had been best friends, before and after the split, until we weren’t.
Ant replied calmly, “Lex, nobody at the party hated you. They’re just insecure, and it’s an awkward situation.”
“I fucked up. I fucked up by dating him. I fucked up by moving in with him. I fucked up by leaving him,” I decided through sobs. “I fucked with his head. I deserve it.”
Ant replied pensively, “But did you? Intentionally? Or were you just trying to do what was right?”
“But I didn’t do what’s right!” The guilt was overtaking me. I was fixated on something that happened 3 years ago, before I even knew Ant, but I couldn’t let it go. “I was selfish! I just left!”
Ant replied thoughtfully, “because you weren’t happy. You’re allowed to be selfish about your own life.”
After we pulled into the underground parking of our building, Ant parked the car. He then leaned over to hug me over the middle console. I felt better. He wiped the tears from my eyes and gave me a soft kiss. We rode the elevator together in silence, as I replayed every moment from the party in my head. I wished they’d just be nice to me. I just need everyone to like me.
As we pulled open the door to our apartment, our black cat Red, rushed out to greet us. I was so happy to see him. Ant scooped Red up in his arms, and he purred loudly as we smothered him with kisses. I giggled and Red threw his head back happily, basking in all of the attention. It’s our nightly ritual.
“Look at the bright side,” Ant observed, “if you hadn’t left Tolbon, you wouldn’t have Red.”
And I replied thankfully, “or you.”