2ND DAY - 1846 WORDS, 2.5 HOURS
We’d been there for almost a week, the three of us and Miss Mary, when Jack asked if I wanted to go and get a coffee after our morning lecture – we were in English Literature together. I said yes, of course, and so that afternoon we went into some tacky café round the back of the lecture hall. It was nice to be spending time with him again, but I felt strange. Almost like I was betraying Amy.
“How are you finding the course?” Jack smiled uneasily at me. He had cream on his top lip, but I didn’t say anything.
“Yeah, it’s good… I like reading.”
“I know you do.” He said, staring out of the window. It was raining.
“Jack, I like you.”
“I should hope so. We are friends after all, right?”
“Right” I said indecisively… to be honest I really didn’t know any more. I was so jealous about him and Amy. “Can we go back to your apartment?”
When we got there, it was pretty cold so Jack turned the heating on full blast. We sat on the bed, since it was warmer in the bedroom. Plus, that’s where the TV was. Amy was at a lecture so I got myself comfortable for my first university mistake.
“Jack, I like you.”
“Didn’t we already go over this?” he smiled.
“Yes, but you don’t understand. I like like you.” I was lying, although once upon a time it had been true.
“Rebecca –” he hesitated.
“Please, Jack. It’s what I want! And I know it’s what you want to. I can see it in you. I see it when you’re with Amy. I know you want to be with me.”
“Stop this! This is insane, this isn’t you. We’re friends aren’t we? Friends don’t do this sort of thing.”
He was looking me in the eye and I knew I had to convince him that this was the right thing to do. I couldn’t leave it as it was, or it wouldn’t be enough to break him and Amy up. I needed to do this to get Amy back, and I knew it. I smiled at him, and took off my shirt. He looked scared, but he was too easily persuaded that this was what he wanted.
“We both know it, don’t fight it.” I said, trying to sound cheeky though failing miserably. It worked though.
It was sad, and I felt guilty. I had intended to leave before Amy came home, but Jack had fallen asleep and I couldn’t really be bothered to leave. The key turned in the lock just as Jack opened his eyes and smiled at me. The front door opened just as he leaned over to kiss me, his eyes shining. Amy glared at me on her fresh white linen, through the crack in the bedroom door left ajar, just as Jack – who was yet to notice the love of his life at the door – put his hands round my waist and spoke.
“I feel like I know you better than I ever did before. And I want to get to know you even more.”
What happened next was unpleasant to say the least. Amy opened the bedroom door wide and looked at me, tears welling up in her eyes. It wasn’t until that moment that I realised I’d achieved the complete opposite of my goal. I’d broken Amy’s heart in my attempts to make her mine. She had a life, she had other friends, and she had been happy. I should have been happy for her. That was the way she wanted it, and it wasn’t until I’d shattered her world that I realised I was the one with the problem.
I a step back at that point, a step back from life. I’d lost my best friend, I’d lost the two people who I felt “understood” me, and I felt isolated and scared. The afternoon I left Amy’s apartment for the last time, she threw The Beatles’ “1” album down the stairs at me.
“Keep it, it’s from Jack.” She cried down at me. A single tear dropped from her cheek down the well between the two flights of stairs between us. The silence echoed around me as I turned to leave. All I could think was how I’d left my bra on top of the TV set, and what would happen when Amy found it.
CHAPTER 3 – GETTING TO KNOW YOU
I remember thinking when I was just fifteen how cool it would be to get to know so many new people, so many new friends to make. I still thought the day before I came to Edinburgh that this would be true. I expected to be Little Miss Popular, but I hadn’t exactly got off to a brilliant start. In three weeks I’d made no new friends, and lost the two I started off with. Jack had dropped out already, and he ceased to exist in my mind. But Amy was still there, I saw her sometimes but she refused to see me. I didn’t blame her, I felt guilty.
Miss Mary was growing on me. We had dinner together a few times, and I soon removed the masking tape divider from our room. She was quiet, and didn’t have too many friends. I liked that. She never hogged the bedroom with her annoying friends because they were sharing a flat, so they always congregated there. I was free to spend a lot of time by myself in the bedroom, sipping instant coffee while staring out onto a moonlit brick wall. How romantic.
One night the two of us were in our room. Mary studied chemistry though she really didn’t look the type. She was staring at her books filled with colourful charts and confusing numbers. I was never one for mathematics and that sort of thing.
“So… how was your day?” I asked. I guess I was looking for some sort of social stimulation. In Aberdeen I wasn’t exactly Miss Popular, but here I had nobody and it was beginning to take its toll on me.
“Not so bad. Our lecturer was sick apparently but my friend Susie says he’s got a hangover – she saw him in the SU bar last night, downing shots of tequila!”
Mary didn’t approve of drinking, so I wondered what she was doing with a friend who hung out with teachers in bars. I smiled and tried out a new fake laugh I’d been practicing the night before. She bought it, so I figured I might use it more, for the lame jokes the losers cracked at the dinner table.
I had an appointment with the doctor the next day. My first here in Edinburgh. A new doctor, same problems. The surgery was student-y with STI posters plastered all over the walls. I saw a girl I knew from my English Study class. She smiled. I wondered what she was in for, until I saw a small cut above her left eye. It looked sore. I bet she got it from her abusive other half.
The Girl with the Cut above Her Eye
She’s in love with this guy, but he doesn’t know how to treat her right. He smacks her about when he comes in late, wasted. He’s got a job, while she goes out to study. But one night he comes home from work an hour late. His dinner’s cold and he’s angry.
“Who do you think you are, bitch? I pay for your food, your education and your home. And what do you do for me? You can’t even give me a bit of dinner when I come in from work, you useless bitch!”
He’s feeling violent and she knows it. She takes a step back towards the door and cries out as he grabs her by the arm.
He strikes out, and she falls down. Blood trickles from a small cut above her left eye.
I came out of my daydream suddenly. The calling of my name from an unfamiliar voice startled me, but I soon realised it was just the receptionist calling me to say the doctor was ready to see me now. I had butterflies in my stomach. Had I still been friends with Amy she would have been right here at my side, and perhaps things would have been better. I stood up and was shown into the hallway and pointed towards the brown door at the end. As I walked to the end of the corridor I couldn’t help feeling like I was walking to the gallows, on death row. What would the doctor say? Would he have my notes? Was he old, or was he young? Did he have experience with cases such as mine? I opened the door.
I was expecting something a little more formal than what I encountered. The walls were decorated not with high and mighty diplomas, but with colourful artworks and what looked from a distance like poetry. I was surprised by how laid back I felt, even though I didn’t even know the guy. When I’d had a chance to get over the shock of how strange the room looked and felt, I noticed that my doctor wasn’t even there. This was unusual. I sat down in the chair nearest the door and waited. I was expecting it to be one of those moments like you see in the movies where they wait for “what seemed” to be hours and hours, but actually it wasn’t at all. I could have occupied myself for hours, gazing at those paintings on his walls. They meant something, something much more than what I could see them as. There was death, and sadness all about this room yet it sat comfortably with me. I wanted to see who this new doctor of mine was. Could he make me feel comfortable with myself? I hoped so.
The door opened and I turned my head to see who was coming in. A young man – I could swear he looked no older than twenty-five – came into the room, smiling a warm and welcoming smile. I felt comfortable here.
“You must be Rebecca, yes?” he came in and shook my hand. “Wonderful. Sorry I took so long, I was just on the phone to your last psychologist – Sandra? She was just reminding me to ask about how your move went.”
“It went fine, thanks.” I was lying, but although I felt comfortable I didn’t feel that comfortable! He didn’t know me yet, and I wanted us to get along. With Sandra it had always been very business-like and I was determined not to let it get this way again. He sifted through my hefty file while I sat, my palms becoming clammy.
“How’s university life, then? Made lots of new friends?”
“A few. Not as many as I’d hoped but I’m working on it.”
“Good. Now, if you don’t mind I’d like to get to know a little more about you and your background.”