*This story is purely fiction and completely random. Really.
“They say the ones that you love are the ones you hurt the most.” ~Charice, I Did It For You.
I can’t help but agree, I really can’t.
I do remember reading somewhere about being close to someone only increase the chance of getting hurt more. And that’s what I believe up to now.
If getting closer with anyone would only brings pain in the end, than I should make a distance with anyone and build a thick brick wall from whoever trying to get closer. I should not get anywhere personal with anybody as well, then, I said to myself.
My mind flew to some time ago in the past, when I was arguing with my best friend, an independent woman, and the alpha-male figure in my life ever, who had struggled harder than anyone I know, to fight for her right and responsibility to raise her only daughter, me. It started from a simple, if not unnecessary, dispute. I couldn’t remember whatever caused that dispute precisely, though. Was it about some guy that I dated that she’d disapproved? Or was it about me being a slob, neglecting my stuffs on the floor as usual, once I considered they were useless to me? No, it was about her going out with a guy who’d been trying to win her affection–and mine, of course, I’m her daughter anyway–but I thought the guy was… worthless, in my opinion. Nah, that was long time ago. Then perhaps it was because I spotted her smoking in the bathroom, obviously trying to hide from me, since she’d declared that she would never touch that poisonous thing anymore–ever. Then I bursted into rage.
Well, whatever the reason was, we became estranged to each other. I was obviously upset and she got even more angry when my temper got the best of me. I treated her rudely, impolitely, and inappropriately. And she felt that I had no respect for her anymore. Of course, I was angry, yet I cared so little about her complaints. Perhaps because in the past, no matter what had happened between us, we always made up. But it was always her who started to ask for my forgiveness, and then, as I was always to proud to apologize back, simply nodded and accepted her repentance, then somehow, we would talk to each other like nothing ever happened. She would then try to make up for whatever she thought was wrong and hence angered me, by treating me over-generously. She would cook my favorite food, and fulfill whatever needs I asked her, as well as giving me extra pocket-money.
I guess somehow in my sub-conscious I knew that she felt guilty for divorcing my father which led to an assumption which she created herself that she was not a good mother, and I made use of that. I’d been thinking over and over for years whether that was exactly what I did. Then I’d feel guilty and told myself what a horrible person I was. In response, I would then refuse whatever things she offered to me, and told her that she need not do anything at all, for it would only increase my guilt. But as time went by, and so did the arguments and the reconciliations, I guess I became used to it, and so I got rid of my conscience and let her do whatever she thought was best. I told myself that I was a monster and an awful person, but I began to accept that mindset. Fine, I’m not a good person. I’m a monster. I’m an awful person. I’m horrible. That’s what I am.
Perhaps I was just trying to justify myself by giving myself bad credits and ugly self-images.
But again, I’m getting used to it now.
Then, after those horrible fights, we never really reconciled. Our anger never ceased, and then it became so quiet at home. We barely talked to each other anymore. It was like having a stranger in the house. I felt a bit of regret and guilt as I always rely to the past experiences that she always asked for forgiveness and that was how we always made up. I guess she thought that it was time to teach me a lesson and thought that I would ask for repentance first. Oh, but no, my pride would never allow that. Never. I would never beg for forgiveness, even if that person is my own flesh and blood. My mother. And my best friend for the last 23 years of my life. No. I was too proud for that.
It was odd, actually, knowing that I would definitely ask for forgiveness were it was someone who I just met in a store, or bookshop. I would not hesitate to say how sorry I was to offend someone who I barely knew in my life. I knew myself that well.
But to think that it was my mother, someone who’s closer to me than anyone else in the world, there was this anger burning inside of me each time I pictured myself asking for forgiveness first. No.
Even knowing how much it had hurt me, as well as it had for her–and somehow I knew that I’d hurt her more than she had to me–didn’t change anything. Perhaps it was indeed far more easier to do so to strangers since we hardly hurt by them. We simply make mistakes, but it was easy to forgive as well as to forget. Hell, it’s strangers. We barely feel the pain. Perhaps the bigger the pain we felt, the harder it is for me to ask for repentance.
So, after a month of silence, I finally decided that I’d had enough, and packed my things. I ran away to stay with one of my grown-up cousin, from my paternal side of family, who was ignorant enough to my situation and condition. She was 5 years older than me, and she had not yet married. She lived alone in her house and was content with her life. I told her that I was trying to get a job and asked her to let me stay for a while until I get a job and could afford to rent a room in a boarding house nearby. She agreed, only after I agreed to share the pay for the electricity and food.
Then, a week later, she told me there was a vacancy in the company where she worked. The salary was below satisfactory, but enough to feed me and pay for a cheap boarding. Fortunately my generous cousin decided that she would let me stay in her house if I wanted to, as long as I keep sharing the pay. I agreed.
So here I am, in my new workplace. Trying to make a fresh start. A brand new start. Amongst strangers who don’t know anything about me or my life. I suppose, regarding my stupid pride, this would be easier. As long as I maintain the distance with others.
Don’t get too close with anyone, I reminded myself.
And don’t open up too much, spilling too many details of my life, I added to myself.
* * *
I walked to my desk this morning with a cup of coffee in my hand. As I sit, I drank my coffee and turned on the computer. I was a little earlier than I’d expected since I found out that there was only one person other than me in the office.
Crap, I mumbled to myself as I realized who that person was. Alice, my co-worker who was pretty talkative and loved to gossip more than anything else in the world.
I smiled grimly at her and quickly turned back to face my computer, hoping she would not try to make a small talk.
“No chit-chat, please, no chit-chat. No courtesy needed, no courtesy, no courtesy, no need to…” I mumbled to myself when Alice called my name.
“Stay where you are, Alice,” I mumbled, but Alice were already walking towards me. Obviously neglecting her works, and she sat on an empty chair next to my desk, which actually belong to Archie.
“Hi, Alice,” I said cheerfully, while I was actually cursing and swearing inside my head.
“Hey, how are you?” She started politely.
“Erm, good. How are you?” I asked her back, trying not to be rude.
“I’m good. Listen, have you heard about Meg and Sam?”
“Eeerrr, nope,” I answered. “And I don’t wanna know,” added a voice in my head.
“They broke up, you know,” Alice continued, not even trying to read my leave-me-alone-expression.
“Oh,” I muttered, hoping that simple and short response would make her leave soon.
It didn’t work.
“Yeah, it’s terrible. We always thought that they’re such a perfect couple. They barely quarel, you know. And still they broke up. Do you happen to know why they broke up?” Alice asked me again.
“Eeerrrr, no. Fact is, I don’t really know them,” I said.
“I see. Jenny told me yesterday that Meg cheated on Sam, and that was why they broke up.”
Fuck, I don’t care, and I don’t wanna know.
“Stupid Meg, I said. Sam was too good for her. He was really cute, don’t you think so? I always hope to find a boyfriend like Sam, someday. And now that he’s single…”
I raised my eyebrow.
“Nah, I had not a single intention to make a move on him. I just thought…”
Crap, I don’t wanna hear it. Go flirt with him if you want, Alice, but there’s no need to spill it out to me.
“Well, he might still be in love with Meg, though. I saw them together this morning going out of the elevator together. Perhaps Meg was begging for Sam’s forgiveness.”
Heaven’s sake! This is an office, Alice! People go into the elevator together! Do you think the elevator is your private space-shuttle?
Now that I think about it, the elevator should be a private place, so that I could go there and hide myself from Alice. At least until everybody finally come and fill up the office. Then Alice would be too busy to even think to have a chat with me.
“Do you think they would be back together again?”
“Huh?” I startled, not really paying attention to what Alice said, and was quite perplexed with her sudden-question.
“Meg and Sam! Do you think they would be back together?”
Fuck. We’re getting personal, aren’t we?
“I… I don’t know. I barely knew them,” I said reluctantly.
It’s none of my business. Neither is it yours, Alice.
“Ah, right. So you told me,” Alice said, and then she was silent. I stole a glance at her and I saw her deep in thoughts. Hopefully she was thinking of going back to her desk.
“Do you think it’s appropriate if I asked Sam to have lunch together with me later? I always thought he’s cute, and now that he’s single, perhaps I could try to…,” she stopped, and I saw her flushing all over her face. “Well, do you think it would be okay if I do that? Do you think it’s appropriate? I mean, it’s barely a week since he broke up with Meg, but he’s single, so it shouldn’t be at all inappropriate, right?”
I honestly hoped she was actually asking herself as she seemed like she was speaking up her thoughts aloud.
But Alice starred at me in silence.
And when she called my name, “Natasha!” I knew she was waiting for my answer.
Fuck. We are getting personal.
Next thing I know, she’d make me her love-consultant and soon we’d become BFF. Perfect way to keep a distance from everyone.
“Eeerrr…, I… I suppose…?”
It was more like a question, really. It was barely an answer, right?
“Do you think he would reject my invitation to have lunch together?” Alice kept asking.
Dear God, I moaned to myself. Go ask him out and find out for yourself! It’s a lunch–only a lunch! Why the fuss?
“I… I don’t know,” I answered.
God, or whoever You are, oh, the supernatural powers that controls the Earth and the Universe, please, please get her away from me.
“You don’t seem to know anything!” Alice complained, perhaps realising that I wasn’t much of a help–or a councillor–to her. I hope that would make her go away.
“Oh well, you already told me that you barely knew him anyway,” Alice said, then.
“But do you also think Sam is cute?”
“I… Eeerrr…, maybe?” I answered hesitantly.
Frankly speaking, I do think Sam is good-looking, but he never tempted me as much as he did to Alice. So I really don’t give a damn about how cute Sam is.
“Hmmm. What about you, Natasha? Sorry I kept you from talking, but I will stop talking now. Do you have a boy friend?”
“Nope,” I answered. Short and simple.
“Well, then, perhaps you’re interested in someone in particular here?” She continued asking me.
Goddammit, stay out of my life.