Part Twenty Five

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Kate knew she was depressed, she talked to Mason every day, sometimes several times, and those conversations were the only things that seemed to lift the dark cloud that hung over her. She saw the New Year in sat curled under a blanket on her sofa, alone except for the phone calls that punctuated the evening.

 Mike and Steve were in the middle of their leaving celebrations, work parties, family parties, friend parties, Tilly had the wedding plans. Kate didn’t feel anyone understood her predicament, she wasn’t sure she understood it herself.

A week after saying goodbye to Mason at Heathrow, she came home from work, anticipating an empty house, only to find her best friend sat waiting for her.

Kate was wrong-footed for a few moments, but then she saw the determined look on her face. “What’s going on Tilly? I thought you were busy tonight?”

She was immediately defensive and the Tilly looked concerned, “Kate! I’m worried about you. Since Christmas...”

Kate shook her head, “first it’s a problem that I spend all my time with Peter, now it’s a problem that I don’t?” She knew she was overly defensive but she didn’t care.

Tilly sighed, “It’s not a problem! I’m not trying to be judgemental...but I honestly thought that being free of that obligation, and Mason...well I thought that might make you happy finally, but it hasn’t, has it?”

Kate paced the room, “it’s all so perfect in your World Tilly isn’t it? Everything goes well for you! ALL the time!”

It was the first time that Tilly really saw how upset, unsettled and how low Kate really was, and she knew she’d never seen her like this. Suddenly she wondered if this blunt approach was the right one, but she’d spoken to Mason last night, and if she didn’t talk to her today...it would all look a hell of a lot worse than it actually was.

“Kate! Please...” Tilly stood and reached for her hands, “I don’t want to argue with you, you’re my best friend, but I can’t see you this sad!”

Kate instead of shouting as Tilly almost envisaged, collapsed on to the sofa and buried her head in her hands.  Tilly sat beside her and laid a hand on her hunched spine, waiting for her to move, to say something.

Eventually she looked up at Tilly from a tear streaked face, “I thought this would be easier. I thought that not having to do everything...for everyone...I thought it’d be a relief.”

Tilly was floored, and could only sit there in silence as Kate carried on from a mess of snot and tears, “but it’s not. I don’t know what to do with myself. I lie awake at night worrying, panicking, I can’t concentrate at work...I don’t know what to do anymore!”

All her friend could do was hold her and comfort her as she tried to control her breathing. For Kate her world was crashing in and she had no idea why, or how to change it. She wanted Tilly to tell her how to make things right, but knew that was unfair. Finally she could breathe, start to rationalise.

                “Why am I like this Tilly? I should be happy, enjoying myself.”

Tilly sighed, stroking Kate’s cheek with affection, “yes you should. I’m no psychologist love, but you’ve have a ton of misplaced guilt for far too long, you’re hardly used to just thinking of yourself. Are you?”

Kate shrugged, unable to answer, so Tilly continued, “I don’t think that you need to rely on Mason here, you need to make the break for you, your own needs. But...it’s new love, excitement, and you’ve lost so much of the effort and commitments from your life and suddenly have nothing to fill not just your time, but your mind too. It’s no wonder you feel so lost.”

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