“Are you attracted to him?”
Gemma didn’t even pause to answer.
She thought after on how she might have lied, or at least paused,
but in the end she was tired of taking part in their charade.
“Do you have feelings for him?”
She hadn’t anticipated a follow-up question.
She thought he’d be pissed enough at her honesty that he’d leave in a huff, or,
she hoped deep down, finally break up with her.
everyone knows how much he annoys me.”
She answered finally.
It was the answer she’d been rehearsing
since she noticed him that day in class.
The ball cap,
the lip ring,
the silver tongue.
She made a point, whenever his name was said, to speak of her distaste for him…
using hate to mask her attraction. It never occurred to her that anyone would see through it,
as she didn’t yet herself.
“I don’t want you to talk to him anymore.”
Her eyes darted toward him in a flash, narrowing onto his face.
“You’ve tried doing this before.
You know full well that you cannot tell me what to do.
I am my own person.”
Joseph stood up, arms flailing,
“What the fuck do you expect;
you just fucking told me you’re attracted to him!”
Gemma knew this time he had a right to be upset,
but since she’d lost too many plutonic friendships
over the years due to his jealousy,
she didn’t care that he was right.
In fact, she didn’t care that his feelings were hurt.
She realized that she didn’t care about him at all-
That somewhere in their mess of fights,
she had cut herself off from him.
His harsh words and misconception
of her spirit became too much,
so much so,
that she became cold without noticing.
Completely shut down and e m p t y of feeling.
“I’m going to be friends with whomever I want
and if you don’t like it then just break up with me.”
“We’re not breaking up.”
“Well I’m staying friends with him.”
“Good fucking luck with that,
it’s not gonna happen.”
It seemed so sudden,
she felt a mix of sadness and desperation wash over her like a flood…
tears poured from her eyes and down her face as she begged him—
“Please, please end this already.
You know I can’t do it, I’ve tried.
Look at me!”
“Look at me!”
She said again, and Joseph obeyed.
His eyes took in her tear stained face but showed nothing for them.
“I’m so unhappy,
if you love me, why don’t you let me leave?
I’m not happy.
And I know you aren’t either no matter what you say.”
“I am, and so are you.
You’ll feel better in a couple of months…
it’s just the pills…”
“It’s not the fucking pills!”
She broke down in sobs.
“See? They make you crazy.
You don’t see clearly.”
“I do. I do.
You are all wrong,
you say I’m crazy because after all these years
I’m finally being honest and no one wants to hear it.
I don’t want this relationship; this is not what I want!”
Jesus Christ, you can be friends with who you want,
I don’t give a shit, alright?”
She shook her head, her heart felt heavy and she was discouraged.
“That’s not the point. I’m not happy with you,
please. Please, everyone gets mad at me when I try to leave you.
If you see me like this again…
please just break up with me.
If you say you love me just do it, promise?”
“You don’t love me?”
There was finally emotion in his eyes.
She answered honestly.
“Then next time I will break up with you.”
She felt her mouth curve slowly upward at him…
perhaps for the first time in days, longer even.
He moved closer to her, to touch her, to try and pull her in.
She flinched compulsively but let herself into his arms,
feeling all the wrong ways his bones felt against her own.