Okay this is the second last post of the sandwich series. And tomorrow will be the last one, I promise. And just like yesterday, I combined the daily prompt with the so called “Sandwich series”.
Jake had already proposed Emily, with a beautiful diamond ring. She told him she needed time to think about it but he insisted her to keep the ring. “It will remind you how madly I am in love with you”. She was sitting in her room staring at the ring, trying that huge rock on her fragile fingers again and again. She was dreaming, dreams of how all her problems would be solved if she married him. Even this ring was more than sufficient to get her out of debt and give her a decent life. Suddenly a knock on the door broke her dreams and brought her back to reality. She knew who was on the door at this time of the night. Quickly, she put the ring back in the box and put the box in her bedside drawer. She opened the door and there was Ryan holding a box of pizza in his cold trembling hands.
“I thought we could have dinner together, so I brought you pizza”. As he spoke to her, he noticed that she was only physically present, her mind was somewhere else, even her body seemed to be distant. He knew Jake had proposed Emily last night. He knew where her mind was. But he wasn’t going to give up. She was the only relation he had, the only friend, the only person in his life. He was not going to let some rich stranger sweep her away.
“Have you decided anything, yet? I mean, you know how much I love you and I know you feel the same way for me and as far as he’s concerned, he doesn’t even know you that well.”
She didn’t want to talk about it, at least not with him and not right now when she was already very confused. “Can we please talk about something else? Can we forget for a moment that we are adults and just go back to our childhood, when all the imperfections seemed just perfect, where I didn’t have to make such hard choices? Can we do that, please?”
Monday mornings were always a struggle for her. She woke up with a mild headache, went to the kitchen to get herself coffee. She was already late for work, just like every other day. Before leaving for work she checked her mailbox again. It was a daily ritual. She had sent all the poems and short stories she had ever written to a famous publishing house in L.A. Now she was just waiting for response, although she knew there was no chance they would consider her work. But Ryan always admired her work and that’s what made her send her writings to that publishing house a month ago. Now, standing on the front porch of her house she was laughing at herself. How silly of her to do that.
At work, she could never stop staring at the clock. She hated her job. She worked as a receptionist in a nearby hotel.
She had met Jake’s parents a few days ago at their house. He had invited her for a dinner with his family. He wanted to introduce her to his family. She knew by the look on their faces that they didn’t approve of her. Their sarcasm just confirmed it. She knew she could never adopt their ways or act as they would want her to. Even with all the money, she would never be able to fit in. Yet, she thought that it would be fine if she got married to Jake against their wishes.
Jake was very much aware of how much his parents were unhappy with his choice. He had to make a choice, but he had never wanted something so badly in his life, something for which he had to make efforts. Life had always been cakewalk for him. But Emily was not a thing, she was a person and that’s what he didn’t understand.
He picked her up from work. He had planned everything. He would take her to an expensive salon, buy her new expensive clothing, a new decent haircut maybe. In other words, he had planned a complete makeover for her. He would teach her to walk, talk, behave and dress up like the elite class. He thought, that way his parents would approve of her if they could see that she can totally fit into their status and class. But before doing any of this, did he think of her, of how she would feel or how she would react. He knew she was a high headed woman, the one with a high self esteem. He had once offered to pay her debt but she had refused him bluntly and she had been pretty mad at him for even thinking that way.
“Where are we going?” asked Emily.
“Now that’s a surprise for you. Just wait and watch. Your life is going to change today and trust me its going to change for better”. He was so sure of everything, just the way he had always been. But this was different. She was not something he could control, she was a human and she was different.
She was fuming on their way back to her house and even he was nothing less than angry. They didn’t speak a single word and when they reached her house,without saying a single word she got out of the car. She didn’t look back and he didn’t wait. That night, Ryan came to see her. He bought her a bouquet of roses. He sensed that she wasn’t in a very great mood.
” What’s wrong with you? Did he say something to you? I told you he’s not good for you”. But she didn’t respond. He tried to keep the conversation going but little did he know what the conversation would turn into.
“You know you can talk to me about it. I’m your best friend. Why are you complicating your life? Can’t you see he’s not the one for you?”
She could no longer control her anger. She started screaming at him, something she had never done before. ” Okay, so you tell me what should I do. Marry you and increase my financial problems even more? At least I have a better job than you. At least I didn’t drop out of high school. I’m under debt and you have to pay for the mortgage your father left you. What if you never hear back from the art gallery? What about the time when we have kids? How will you pay for their school? The way your father did? How will we raise a family with no money? I don’t want our kids to end up like you did. At least I’m not the one living in dreams that someday suddenly everything will change. Just think radically for once in your life.”
When she stopped, he had nothing left to say. This was someone else or maybe she has changed because this was not the friend he always leaned on, this was not the girl he fell in love with. Without saying anything, he walked out of the door.
She spent the whole night sitting on her front porch and weeping. There was not a moment when she didn’t curse herself. Even the makeup couldn’t hide her swollen eyes next morning.
Jake had called her up a hundred times and left several voice notes but she was no longer in the condition to talk to anyone. She had hurt her best friend last night, the only man who always stood by her side through thick and thin even when her own father didn’t.
Her heart was heavy and she could barely breathe. Her own body could no longer cooperate with her. It had been 5 days since she last saw Ryan. She didn’t have the courage to walk up to him and apologize. The damage had been done.
She returned the ring Jake gave her. Jake had never felt such a rush of emotions he felt when she returned him the ring. He couldn’t understand what his body was doing to him. He had never felt this way. Was this anger or disappointment of being rejected, something he had never faced before. Or was it his heart, something he wasn’t aware of before he had met her. May be it was his heart that was now broken.
She was the one responsible for hurting both of them. She could have been smart and prevented this mess but there’s little you can do when your own body is a war zone. When your mind refuses to cooperate with your heart. When you no longer have control on your actions. When your heart paralyzes you. But the worst part is, you can’t hold anyone else responsible. It’s just you.
She hadn’t checked her mailbox lately. “I’ll check it tomorrow morning”, she thought to herself. But she had nothing to do. Something made her walk up to the mailbox. With a heavy heart she opened the mailbox and saw a white envelope. Her heart started beating fast. Her body was unable to take this sudden rush of anxiety. Her legs were trembling, she could have collapsed any moment but she didn’t. The address on the envelope read, ‘Brown Publishing House’.
to be continued…