Not Welcome

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First I force myself to drag my weighted body out of bed. It feels like all my limbs have been replaced with lead.

Then I make myself some coffee. I don’t want to be awake, but since I have to be, I might as well try to feel as okay as possible. All there is for breakfast is sugar cereal, so I don’t eat anything because the thought of something too sweet makes me nauseous. Especially if I have milk in it. The milk would probably turn sour right in my stomach from all the anxiety I’m feeling.

I scroll through Instagram as I sip at my hot coffee, trying to distract myself from the overwhelming feeling that I, soon, will have nothing better to do than this every day, maybe for the rest of my life.

Okay, that’s a little dramatic, but I think I have a right.

[Scott is typing…]

My chest tightens. Maybe he’ll say to come over. Maybe he doesn’t really want to leave. Maybe he realizes how big of a mistake it is moving Lindsey halfway up the country.

I open my phone when it says I have a message from him.

Can you come over a little earlier so we can talk?

I ask him when and he says whenever, so since my coffee is still a little too hot to drink, I get dressed while it cools down, drink it like a normal person, then brush my teeth and hair. It doesn’t even really register with me than it’s barely eight in the morning. This is two hours before he said he was going to leave.

As I knock on the door to his apartment, I’m wondering what he could possibly need to talk to me about. There’s no way he’s going to stay here, so what’s the point of me getting my hopes up. There is no point. And that’s why it hurts, I think.

He opens the door, presses his finger to his lips (gesturing to be quiet), and waves me inside. I see Lindsey still asleep on the couch as I follow him into his bedroom.

He shuts the door then explains, “I’m letting her get as much sleep as possible. We have a long day ahead.”

I nod, glancing around the empty room. There’s not even a place to sit. I stop myself from looking too long because I can feel a familiar burn in my chest telling me I’m about to cry.

“I wanted you to come early so we could clear some things up.” He reaches into his wallet and pulls out a check. “Here.”

He hands it to me, and I just stare at it. $500.

“What’s this for?” I ask flatly, almost annoyed.

“For buying me groceries, stuff to live on, letting me live with you after Christian. I couldn’t pay you then, but I finally have the money, so… there you go.”

“I don’t want it,” I say, just as flat, shoving the check back at him.

His eyes don’t lose their cheerfulness, but it does go down a few notches. “It’s the least I can do.”

“Those were things I did for you as a friend. Not as a favor that needs to be repaid.” I wiggle the check, prompting him to take it back. He still doesn’t take it. “I would’ve done it even if you did have the money. It never mattered to me. I just wanted you to be happy.”

He still won’t take the check, so I drop it and turn to go before it finishes floating to the floor. His hand catches my arm. “Don’t leave.”

“Why not?” I swivel back to face him again.

“There’s more I want to talk about.”

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