“Sarai, it’s…it’s complicated with you…”
It should have been suspect when he took me out to a diner and told me it was a ‘casual’ thing. He never did casual things with me. That would have usually sent me running. It would all get too much…but it was OK when he was the one being not-casual because I was…super-into him. I had butterflies and got nervous and all of that shit, like I was doing this all for the first time. Even though I’m obviously way past the first time…
“I just don’t think we’re really clicking.”
But I thought so. That didn’t matter…if he said we were done we were done. It always ended and I was always left feeling so alone…I let someone get close and it didn’t work out, and I shouldn’t have expected it to, because that would be crazy. Why should I-
“Sarai?” Kobe put his hand on my shoulder. “Sarai, I’m sorry. You’re really cool…but I’m just…not feeling that spark. I want to, but…” He trailed off.
Ha, why would he want that?
“I felt it.” I whispered.
Fuck. He heard, and he was looking at me, like I was something to be pitied. Which was the worst, because people always seemed to do it to me. I didn’t need their pity. And normally I’d tell them so. But I didn’t even have the energy to do it. All the fight fell right out of me at ‘we’re not clicking’.
“Just go.” Damn, it felt bad. I couldn’t even lift my head or say another word to him.
“OK, OK, you need a ride?”
I didn’t need his pity or his car and I wanted to tell him where to get off, but all I could do was shake my head. He nodded once at me and left.
The entire bus ride home I was biting my lip and clenching my fists, thinking don’t cry don’t cry don’t cry. I was so fucking miserable.
Normally I got angry. But there wasn’t anything to get mad about. He hadn’t gone over the top or just up-and-left, like all the other guys. Anger was pointless. I just felt tired and gloomy. Drained.
Kobe, he was amazing, and I wasn’t good enough, I never was, and I must have driven him away. Somewhere in my mind I knew it wouldn’t last. That was a pattern in my life, and how could this one guy who I liked a little more than all the others change that?
I almost managed to convince myself it was different this time. Fucking idiot.
“Cl-clarissa?” I stuttered into the phone. “You know how I said…I said that I didn’t want to come over, for my twenty-third…but I think…I can now.” I sniffled and wiped another tear.
“You’re twenty-three years old. Stop wailing and toughen up.” Clarissa chided. “And of course I’m your second choice, huh Sarai? Everything I spent on you and you can’t come over unless it suits you. Your poor mother…you think she’s pleased with how you treat me?”
I started crying properly, gasping with tears running down my face. “I…just can’t be alone tonight.”
“So you come crawling back to me for the first time in nine months. But alright. You’re like a daughter to me, y’know… You can come over. See you at 7.”
Everybody I had, which was actually one person, had gone now. Apart from Clarissa. She was always there, and she would never miss my phone calls. For some reason, she kept me around; she was available all the fucking time. And I kind of did use her as a last resort…
Yeah, there was a fucking reason for that!
I already regretted inviting myself over, but…too late.
No-one liked my yoga classes today, I could tell. I wasn’t functioning right. Normally after a relationship went wrong, I got to make a statement. I would say everything on my mind. Or run and run, until endorphins took over. Then most likely find someone else. Last night I couldn’t dredge up the will to do any of that. I just huddled under my covers like a good-for-nothing layabout.
Alexis knew something was up. “Are you OK? I saw you crying and you were back from your date early…I thought things were going great, you said-”
“I was wrong. And – never mind. It’s alright. I’m good now.”
“But you really-”
“I’m OK, Alexis!”
She reared back. “Alright, Jesus. It’s not that bad, y’know. To cry. People cry and-” Scowling, she stopped and fixed me with an angry glare. “Honestly, what’s up with you? You’re pretty weird. It’s like-” Then she just stood up, and walked away.
Shame overwhelmed me.She’d peeled back every layer and found the real me. Someone who’s emotionally weak, who can’t keep a handle on herself. Weird, not the successful and attractive model and fitness instructor I’m supposed to be. Well, I guess I’m all of that…and some.
And Alexis…maybe she didn’t like me. I thought we were friends…kind of.
Maybe she was trying to help, said a little voice inside my head. She knew how wrong things went last night. How could that possibly help? Now I felt so much worse. Things might be awkward now. Maybe I’d leave yet another apartment, without a scene this time. That would be nice.
Or maybe I could stay and…but no. Things are not going to change, I snapped at myself, so stop thinking they could! You thought about this last year and nothing ever –
Because I’m weak, and in a way all of this is…well, it’s still easier than doing anything differently…
“You’re looking… alright, Sarai.”
I sighed and folded my arms. “Same to you.”
Clarissa laughed, in her typical fake, harsh, slightly barking manner. “Nice, dear. Nice. Any more success with the agency, got jobs? I suppose not, or you would have been going on and on about it at this point…”
She was right. And that just made my recent lack of success sting. Why’d she have to bring that up, on my birthday of all days?
I squirmed, realising that I didn’t really want to be here, at all. Not if she was going to be like this. But it was my birthday and right now, she was all I had.