She felt the knot in her stomach grow bigger as the confessions continued. Her chest tightened. Her eyebrows furrowed and a visible ripple of frustration rest upon her forehead. She tried to maintain composure as she listened to every horrendous detail of the reality she had long feared.
Devina didn’t know what to say.
She knew the answer would only further upset her, but she had to know.
Devina reached out to touch her arm.
“Don’t touch me!”
She recoiled and stepped back. She was disgusted by her friend and her habitual lying. They had arrived at the underground subway station and stood beside the automatic ticketing booths.
With narrowed eyes, she looked into Devinas’ with with piercing intensity, ready to unleash the anger that had been building over the past few blocks of their walking confessional.
She took a deep breath, maintained eye contact, and began to speak, but words failed her. With parted lips, she stood paralyzed. She clenched her jaw and struggled to swallow the lump that was growing in her throat. She was overwhelmed with emotion.
As she looked into Devina’s big blue eyes, she noticed they began to brim with tears. She looked at her best friend and felt her forehead relax. Her gaze softened as she struggled to fight back her own tears.
It’s not her fault. She can’t help it.
Echoes of Devina’s confessions only grew louder. She turned away, her back facing Devina.
“Why would you hide that from me?” She shook her head in disappointment.
“You don’t trust me; or you think I’ll judge you. Do you know how much that sucks? You asked me to support you and all I’ve done is try to be there for you, give you what you needed from me, and in turn, you lie to me and hide things from me. ”
Devina reached over her shoulder.
Suddenly, the lump in her throat had dissolved and her voice had returned.
“Dammit, Devina. What do you want from me? You knew this was going to upset me. You knew how it would make me feel. Don’t you get it? I don’t care that you two are talking again. I really don’t. You guys have history, I understand that. Hell, I even respect it, but the fact that you hid it from me and exclusively FROM ME. That’s shady. Everyone else knew and I sat there like a fool defending you. No, Dee told me she wouldn’t go back to him. Dee would’ve told me, of course I’d know, we’re best friends… I’m such an idiot.”
That struck a nerve with Devina and she retorted with equal attitude.
“You feel like an idiot? What about me? We stop talking and you two start talking to each other? You didn’t think that would bother me? The two people I was the closest to. Hooking up behind my back.”
“Oh, give me a break. When he walked back into your life, you pushed me out. Then you dumped him and started talking to me again. Now this comes up and you’re accusing us of hooking up behind your back? Please. Don’t give me this ‘the two people I was closest to’ bullshit. I’m not your standby.”
She noticed her voice getting louder and attracting attention. She didn’t want to create a scene, especially not in such a public space. She lowered her voice and stepped in closer to Devina.
“Look, we just have a lot in common and he’s turned out to be a good friend. He messaged me every day after my accident and we just continued talking. I wanted it to be you, I really did; but that’s not who you are; I get that and I don’t expect that from you. I didn’t even know I wanted that. I don’t know how to explain it. He was the friend to me that I try to be for everyone else. He was just.. there. always.”
“Well maybe I should just leave you two alone ‘cause clearly I’m the one that doesn’t belong.”
That was it, with complete and utter disregard of her surroundings, she snapped at Devina.
“Are you kidding me right now? The biggest thing we have in common was the fact that we loved YOU and lost YOU. It was always about you, Devina! Did it ever occur to you how hurting that is? There’s nothing going on between us, but clearly there’s something going on with you two. Otherwise, why you need to go behind my back. And him too. I should’ve known. When push comes to shove, you’ll always pick each other and I’m left out in the cold. Again. Screw that. Screw this. Screw both of you. And you know what sucks, is that we’ve been through this exact situation before and I told you. I told you when we started talking again that I don’t want to go through that again. This has, by far, been one of the most draining friendships I have ever had, and you know what, I keep coming back because its worth it. You’re worth it, but I can’t go through that again… I won’t… I can’t…”
Her voice began to trail as she recalled the emotional roller coast she had been through with Devina over the past four years. Devina reached out and pulled her best friend close, hugging her tightly.
“I know, I know, I’m sorry… I’m so sorry.”
She felt herself sink into Devina’s arms.
What am I doing?
She didn’t know what to think. Her head was throbbing. She could feel Devina’s cold ear pressed against her neck. They hugged in the middle of the subway station for what felt was an unusual length of time, but neither of them moved. They stood there in silence, in the middle of an underground subway station.
She didn’t know what was going through Devina’s head, but she could feel Devina’s breath following her own. Distracted by the synchronicity of it all, she realized her anger had dissipated.
She thought of breaking away from Devina, but she hesitated. She thought about the onlookers and how awkward they must look, but she couldn’t bring herself to step away; she didn’t want to. She felt confused. She felt conflicted. And amidst these emotions, another fear had been realized; she was head-over-heels, heart-wrenchingly in love with her best friend.