15th chapter

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Just how many times in the last few months did she wish for everyone to leave her alone? Well, her wish finally came true. Nora was sitting in her living room, completely left alone. She was incredibly sad, so she tried to differentiate between the sadness she felt when she would lose someone, and the sadness she felt when someone would decide that she had lost them. It was hard to say which one hurt more or less. The first one felt completely unfair, and everyone would wonder what did they do to deserve this. At that moment, people would allow themselves to think that something they had done, good or bad, possibly had an impact on what happened. It was incredibly hurtful and hard to accept, as it would happen unexpectedly, like a slap on the face you did not see coming. And no matter how many times you got slapped, you were always just as shocked and shaken to your core.

But when you would lose someone because they left, that was a choice. It was a result of a series of situations you really could have done something about, but you had not. Or you had, and then you lost them. That is, if you had done nothing, you would possibly still have them. When you would lose someone unexpectedly, you could live the rest of your life believing that they had never intended to leave you. But when someone decided to leave you, you had to live with the fact that someone had made a decision to leave you behind. As if you have never even existed.

Nora felt hurt and ashamed at the same time. Regardless of what she wanted to be the truth, she was aware of her behavior and that it made Viktor leave her. As it would usually happen after overthinking one and the same thing, her thoughts began to drift in different directions. So she quickly drifted from being hurt to being angry. Maybe that was the way she unconsciously shielded herself. If you turned things around for long enough, you would be able to find justification for anything you did in any situation ever.

- What exactly is wrong with him? He abandoned his own child! You don't do that! It's hard, no one ever said it won't be, but that doesn't give you the right to just leave. Technically, you have that right, you're not forced to live with anybody, but you don't just go to another country and leave everything behind. And then what!?! Things are no longer dandy here, so you're just going to make a new life there – Nora was standing in the kitchen washing dishes. She was furious, and that was her way to get everything out of her system. The plates were impeccably scrubbed. She tried to lay down several times, or sit on the couch and watch some TV, but nothing helped, except standing and walking around. Maybe she wanted to walk all of that anger out.

- How could he leave me? – she said out loud and felt a tear slide down her cheek. She could not believe he was really gone. She could not believe she was begging him to stay, and that he was so out of love with her that it meant absolutely nothing to him. One glance at the oven reminded her of the lunch she made. Today was supposed to turn out differently. That stupid lunch was supposed to be a clear sign.

And then there was a moment when a new emotion emerged. Anger and sadness were slowly replaced by fear.

Exactly 678 thoughts went through her head in just one minute, and Nora realized just how many reasons for fear she actually had. She and Jana were completely alone in the world. Not only that, they were alone in Viktor's world, and Viktor had just left them. She had nothing. They lived in his apartment, where for the first time, she felt like a stranger. She had no job and had nowhere to run if anything went wrong. What if she was not able to take care of her own child? That feeling was hard to define, but it was one of the worst Nora had ever had. Fear and shame that her daughter would miss something because she is not capable enough. Suddenly Nora's phone was on her ear, and she could hear it ringing, but no one was answering. She realized she had called Monika without even thinking about it. That was probably the only way she could have done that, considering how their last conversation had gone.

If Nora had thought about it for just a second before making that call, she would have realized how stupid it was to expect she still had the right to call Monika any time of the day or night. Or the right to call her at all. Nora had lost that right when she intentionally uttered the words she knew would hurt Monika. And she knew how much it would hurt her if Monika did the same to her. And Monika could; she knew her deepest fears, insecurities, and worries. That was what friendship was all about. The privilege of having one of the most potent kinds of relationships in life and the power to completely destroy that person about whom you know every slightest bit. And Nora did precisely that. She knew exactly what Monika was afraid of, and she used it in the ugliest way possible. Remembering that, Nora got so ashamed of her behavior and treatment of Monika that she became physically ill. She ran to the bathroom and vomited. Still sitting on the bathroom floor and leaning against the toilet, Nora cried aloud. Not only was she sad, alone, and forgotten, she was guilty of it all. You deserve to feel this way, you piece of shit. She lost just about everything she had ever had in her life. Whether by her own merit or by some higher verdict. If she could have only one wish, she would wish to fall asleep and never wake up again. She did not see any other way out.

At that exact moment, Jana cried out. It sounded like she was having a nightmare. Tears streamed down her small innocent face, and she was terrified. Nora got up and went to her crib. She picked her up gently and hugged her. As if by magic, they both calmed down. The reactions that occur in the human body when you feel close to someone affect the brain at an incredible speed and can relax you in seconds. Isn't it wonderful that a hug is one of the ways to trigger those reactions? Nora could feel that everything would be all right. She would make sure everything was all right. This child was her life, and there was nothing she would not do for her. Mommy will look after you forever. I promise you, my love.

All of a sudden, the doorbell rang, and Nora was overwhelmed by a sense of dread, for she had no idea who it might be. The past experiences made her fear it could be something terrible.

She took a deep breath and opened the door. And there she was, that beautiful fool that was Monika, holding yogurt and the peanut puffs. If, at that moment, Nora has not felt the most profound gratitude in her life, she probably never would.

- Yogurt may have gone bad, but that's just because I've been waiting for you to come to your senses for a while.

Nora just started weeping. She felt such an adrenaline rush that she would have probably collapsed if she had not immediately grabbed the wall. She did not deserve Monika. She did not deserve to be cared for by someone she was so cruel to. How beautiful and forgiving person Monika had to be? It was the gesture and the moment when every cell in your body is sure that someone loves you. Truly loves you, like you are a part of them. Those are the feeling the life should consist of, and everyone on Earth certainly has such a person. You just need to find them. Find, appreciate, and never let go of them.

- Nora, for the love of God, stop whining.

She knew everything. Monika knew how sorry Nora was, that she loved her too and would never intentionally hurt her. She also knew that Nora would get better and that it was the best thing for both of them to leave Nora alone until she got out of that state she was in. Of course, that did not mean that those words did not hurt Monika. She was sad and angry at Nora, but all along, she knew it was just a short-term thing. Because, when it came to the people you love, you just knew those things.

- But I treated you like the biggest shit – Nora said through tears.

- That's true, yes. And don't get me wrong, I'm ready to be real' angry at you, but not right now. We have to fix you up a little bit because it makes no sense to be mad at you when you are so broken – Monika said, hugging Nora.

Imagine you are falling apart, and you feel you are just a pile of little broken pieces. You think only the worst about yourself, how you deserve nothing and no one in your life, but you cannot escape from your reality. Then someone comes and hugs you, and all those pieces come together again. And you are whole again. Because of one single genuine hug. 

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