Chapter 5: Relief

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"Hey Diego, you're so tall. You've changed a lot." He sits down beside me and starts talking.

"Yeah, it's three whole months since we last saw each other. I'm sorry I disappeared like that, I want to explain."

I don't react to his words.

"Are you okay, Judith?"


"Are you okay? You seem a little out of it."

"No, it's not that, I just still can't believe I'm here talking to you."

"Maybe it's not me you're talking to, maybe I'm somebody else who just looks like me..."

Diego starts cracking his usual jokes, that baffle us and make us laugh at the same time. I laugh and start to relax. Luckily, he's the same old Diego.

"Sorry, it's just I thought I might never see you again. I thought we did something stupid that made you angry and you didn't want to see us, or that I made you angry with something I said. We've been going round and round in circles every day trying to work out what happened."

"I'm the only stupid one around here," he assures me with honesty.

His sincerity and strength only fascinate me further. When I hear those words, a warm shiver runs down my spine all the way to my stomach and my heart bursts even more. A cool breeze caresses my face as I listen. I'm so used to people putting the blame on everybody else but themselves, or always playing the victim without realizing we all act like idiots at some point in life, that his frankness makes me actually tremble. I suddenly feel as if I've entered another dimension, an alternate reality, one of truth without fear.

"I disappeared because I did something stupid and it's taken me three months to get over it and stop punishing myself."

"Ahh..." I respond timidly.

"I'm going to tell you everything that happened, but only on two conditions. Firstly, don't say anything until I've finished the whole story. You have to promise you won't interrupt before I finish telling you everything, right until the end."

"Got it. And the second?"

"Secondly, it still makes me embarrassed to talk about what happened, so I'd like you to sit with your back to me. I want to tell you, but I prefer not to see your face when I do."

"I promise I'm not going to laugh," I assure him.

"You're the first person I've told apart from my family and it's still really embarrassing for me."

I accept his requests and sit on the bench with my back to him. Diego starts telling his story:

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