Last Night

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I end up staying home
from school the next day at
Natalia's insistence -
though I in no way
resist the idea.
I don't want to risk
running into Seth, risk
everything coming back, all
the anxiety and self-loathing that
had pushed me to tears
last night.
I don't want to
have another confrontation,
either, because there is
no doubt in my mind that
our next one could very
well come to blows
much worse than just
a slap.
Being hit by him
was bad enough
the first time, thanks.

My parents are all
distracted sympathy as they
rush past me
and out the door
to work after Nat
drops me off at home.
Eddie resists my mother's
insistence that he'll be late
to school long enough to
give me a brief hug
and assure me that
“everything's gonna
be okay, Tilly.”
Tears prick at the
corners of my eyes
yet again, but I blink
them back before
he can catch sight of them.

Thias is next;
he pats my shoulder and
promises to beat Seth up
if he catches sight of
him today. He's
kidding, of course -
Thias would never do
something like that,
whether or not Seth was
a jerk yesterday -
but it's the thought
that counts most.
I make him promise as he
slips on his shoes to
come talk to me after
he gets home.
I think we both have
relationship issues we need
to talk through
right now.
His eyes, even after
these past few months, still
look too sad.
I'm sure mine don't
look much better now.

Euni comes last, lagging
behind like always, even after
Thias yells back through the
doorway for her to hurry up.
She finally emerges, face
carefully blank until she
reaches my side. I
almost expect her to pass
me by without saying anything,
as she has been lately -
but she surprises me by pulling
me in for a sudden hug.
“I'm not going to say
'I told you so,'”
she murmurs,
“but, y'know.
I kind of did
tell you so.”

“I know.”
We stand like that for
a few moments, me
silently clinging to her
and her holding me up - and
surprisingly, Thias is
tolerantly quiet in
the background.
Finally, I pull away
and motion for her to
join our brother outside;
she hesitates, reluctant.
“I should have
listened to you before,
I know,” I tell her.
“Look, we can talk
about it later -
you’re both gonna be
late for school.”

“That's not important,”
she protests, rolling her eyes,
but gives in at last. She
jumps into her shoes and
plants a kiss on the top
of my head all in
the same breath, then
hurries out the door.
I'm left alone in
the house, only my
thoughts to accompany me.

And boy, do I have
things to think about.
On my way to my room, I
snag a box of Froot Loops from
the kitchen (comfort food is
one of my greatest weaknesses)
and lapse into the thoughts
that have plagued me since
last night.
Just how much of what
Seth had said is true?
Yeah, he was angry, and
I've heard that angry people
aren't always the most
truthful, but I've never known
Seth to lie about something
as serious as why he
wanted to break up with me -
or whatever the point of
that fight was.
And I definitely don't think
he would say that about
Natalia - because he could have
told me so many other
things if he wanted to lie,
things that had nothing to do
with her sexuality.
And how else would he
have guessed that I
have feelings for her?
It's not naturally a conclusion that
you immediately consider, the
idea that your girlfriend
might be gay.

But the idea still
makes me feel weird, too,
the fact that Nat might not
be who I'd thought she was
all this time.
I want to accept it, but
it just seems too weird
to even consider.
I mean, look at all the
boyfriends she's had, before
and during the time I've
known her. If she
isn't straight, then why
bother to date boys
at all?
It just doesn't
make sense.

Still, part of me
hopes that maybe
I'm wrong, that maybe
she has feelings
for me, too.
It's crazy, I know, and
I shouldn't feel this way, but
I just can't help it.
Just because someone
tells you that how
you feel is wrong,
is it really so wrong?
Love is love,
isn’t it?
Or is it?
I mean, I'm not religious,
so I don't believe in the
one man, one woman thing -
but is it really okay
for two girls or two guys
to be together?

I don't know.
I can't make up my
mind when everything
around me is screaming,
No! No! No!!!
Don't I get to make
up my own mind on this,
or do I have to go along with
what everyone else tells me
is true?
Do I listen to what
Seth says, or
do I just ignore it?
I want to just go
with my gut instinct, like
I usually do, but
my gut is silent, except for
the low grumble it makes
at the sight of my
impromptu breakfast.

I don't want to choose, I
decide at last.
There's so much discomfort that
comes from choosing to go
the way that everyone
else has gone, but there's also
too much at stake to go
off on my own and
forgo the protection that comes
from sticking with the pack.
Deciding on nothing
at all isn't a permanent
fix, but it's all I
can manage right now.
I can't decide, not when
I'm still so emotionally wired from
all that had happened yesterday.
If I really had to choose, I think
I might just start crying again.

My phone suddenly vibrates on the
bed beside me, lit up with
a notification, and
catching me completely
off guard for a moment.
How's it going?
reads the single-line
message from Nat -
and as my heart leaps from
within my chest, I
wonder if maybe I already
have made my choice.

×

Okay, so I didn't realize quite the extent of the workload I have until today. I've missed like, two deadlines this weekend and I'm freaking out. It's worth noting that I haven't written any new chapters so, unfortunately, I have to put this story sort of on hiatus again? I'm going to try and write a chapter or two when I'm caught up and not scrambling not to die, which is not now. I have a huge paper I'm focusing on that's due Wednesday and I literally have no time for anything else. So hopefully near the end of this week/into this weekend I'll have time to write more, and hopefully I'll be able to update again by next week. Super sorry, fam. I hate college rn.

(Also, this is rather poorly written, but I have no time to correct it as much as I'd like. Super duper sorry. Life in general also sucks. I need to manage my time better...)

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