Ben avoided his death by not coming home that night. I stalked around the house like a caged panther for a good hour before I decided that I was tired of the post workout grime. When I walked out of the bathroom an hour later I felt like a new woman and the “new woman” demanded sleep. She was dead tired for some reason, which was pretty pathetic considering she had pretty much lazed around the house until Zumba.
It took the fact that I was referring to myself in the third person for me to decide that it was time to hit the sack. Determined to let Ben keep the master bedroom, I laid down on the guest bed. After all, it was his house and it only seemed right.
As I laid there staring up at a ceiling I couldn’t see in the silent, pitch black room, I found myself thinking of Alex and our extremely short interlude at the studio. Just the thought of his name made sleep, which had been so adamant in claiming me, abandon me in favor of doing what seemed to be my newest favorite hobby: Overthinking things.
The question that nagged at my thoughts was: What exactly had Ben done to make things worse?
Because things definitely felt like they’d taken a turn for the worse.
Alex and I should’ve had a laugh over Ben writing something as childish as “Ben wuz here” on the back of my neck. We used to laugh about stuff like that all the time.
As a matter of fact, now that I thought about it, it explained why the two blondes that always liked to give me a hard time were sniggering together in the back while they looked at me with their judgmental eyes… not that that was important or even relevant.
That led me to question number two. Why had something so simple felt so… complicated?
The factors of our situation were pretty clear cut. Alex, Ben and I had spent our early childhood together. Ben had moved. Alex and I had grown closer. Ben moved back. I slept with Alex. We regretted it. I moved in with Ben and didn’t tell Alex.
Why didn’t I tell Alex?
That was the real question. Was it because every time Ben was involved it drove Alex and me closer? Why did that make me feel uneasy? You couldn’t get any closer than bumping uglies and I wasn’t too proud to say, “Been there, literally done that.” Or was I uneasy because we couldn’t possibly get any closer which meant the only direction left to move was apart?
The more questions I asked, the more frustrated I became because none of them were getting answered.
I don’t know when my eyes shut or when sleep finally came to relieve me from my self-inflicted torment, but when it did, it reeked of irony. The tables had been turned, and I officially understood what Alex meant when he said not even his dreams allowed him to escape me.
I watched the orange colored moving truck turn off of our street and onto the main road, too shocked that he was actually gone to move. It wasn’t until a horn honked at me that I realized that I was still standing in the street staring after a vehicle that I knew would never grace our street again. Tears pricked my eyes and I rushed back inside my grandmother’s house, past my little sister’s play pen and into my room, where I closed the door fearful that someone would see me cry.
As I stared at Ben’s sloppily written apology card, the words kept blurring. I blinked furiously, refusing to let the tears fall. I was more or less successful in keeping them at bay until Alex came over later that evening. His face seemed so forlorn and the carefully constructed dam that I’d built cracked.
At first the tears had started slowly. They ran like little rivers down my face, but after a while, I stopped trying to stop them and just let them come. We clung to each other with him whispering to me in Spanish. I hadn’t learned to speak it yet, since I didn’t share his Hispanic heritage, but the words I didn’t understand somehow soothed me just the same.
Maybe if I had only been crying because Ben had left me, I would’ve recovered fairly easily, but the truth of it was that I wasn’t. Yes, I was crying because he left me, but he had given me an excuse to cry over the things I never let myself cry over.
I cried because the girls at school teased me about my mom; I cried because my sister was blind. I cried because my whore of a mother was dead, and I wept because I knew I had until high school at the latest until my grandmother joined her.
|Mila Kunis||as Adrienne|
|Carlos Freire||as Alex Espinoza|
|Adam Levine||as Ben DioGaurdi|
|Roselyn Sanchez||as Natasha|
|Cristiano Ronaldo||as Daniel|
|Vin Diesel||as Vincent|