I wasn’t sure if anyone would be home, but I wanted to give Fringe and Marathon their presents. And I wanted to let them know that I still saw them as my friend. I knocked on the door of my old flat, and Marathon answered. She was home alone and invited me in. There were loads of boxes in the hallway, I figured that FringeSister must officially be moving back in.
I told her that I had only stopped by for a moment. I had Christmas presents. What I thought might be awkward suddenly got weird, Marathon started crying.
I never thought I’d see this. The girl who was Miss Strong and Cool was crying. We sat down and I asked her what was wrong, was she okay? Was she ill again? She caught her composure and then just said, ‘I’m so sorry. We should have never done it. It wasn’t fair.’
I said, ‘That’s okay, don’t worry about it. I’m happy living with my boyfriend.’ I assured her that they didn’t force me out of the flat, it was my decision.
That’s when she got up, told me to wait for her, and she went out of the lounge. About a minute latter she came back with a wad of cash. She gave me the money, and told me the real reason she was feeling guilty.
When I came to look at the flat back in September, FringeSister hadn’t been living there for quite a while, and Fringe and Marathon were struggling with the rent. So, rather than charging me a third of the total rent for the flat, every month they’d charged me half. I was paying too much money.
Marathon said that she’s been feeling bad about this the whole time, and after I ‘saved her life’, she told Fringe that she wanted to ‘make things right’. But Fringe didn’t want to go back to paying a third of the rent. She was happy with paying much less. Marathon added that since she moved back into the flat, the rent situation had become a bone of contention between the two of them. And then, when Fringe and her sister refused to reimburse me for the rest of December – essentially giving FringeSister two weeks free – Marathon decided that something had to be done. She planned to ring me this weekend.
Holding £600 in cash made me a bit nervous. Could she afford to give me £600? I told her that I couldn’t take it; I had agreed to a set amount each month, and that it was cheaper than what I thought I would be paying. It just wasn’t right to keep the money, but she insisted.
She also said that the money wasn’t hers anyway. The real reason FringeSister’s husband had been coming around, trying to win FringeSister back, and kicking in doors, had nothing to do with his love. It was because he’s in dodgy dealings, and before FringeSister left him, she took nearly three grand from the house. She stuffed it under the mattress of my old bed, and he’d been coming around the house trying to find it.
Marathon said that Fringe and her sister have been spending that money like crazy, they’d never miss an extra £600. She added that it was only fair I take the money.
I gave her a hug and left the presents. I asked her to please keep in touch, and as she walked me out of the flat, it dawned on me that this may not be the safest place to live. I insisted that she call me if she had any problems, or if she needed to get away. That’s when she pointed to the boxes. FringeSister wasn’t moving in, Marathon had decided to move out. She was going to live with a friend from Uni, but she hadn’t told anyone in the flat yet. She hoped to be gone by the end of the weekend.
I wished her luck, gave her a hug and headed back to the street. As I walked to the bus stop, I couldn’t help but think about all that had happened in the flat in such a short period of time. I’m sad that I probably won’t see Marathon or Fringe ever again, and I’m even sadder that I thought Fringe was a friend, when the whole time she playing me.
Suddenly, I had money. Money Marathon just gave me, money I would be getting from the Christmas bonus, money Fringe returned for my deposit, and the money my Dad gave me a few weeks back. I needed cheering up, so instead of heading home, I hit the high street and bought myself a new dress for the London Christmas party.
I’m now sitting in my room, ‘writing my novel’, while Goatee cooks dinner. My dress is hanging over the wardrobe, and I should be excited about my new bank balance, my wonderful boyfriend, my upcoming trip home, the future London party, and the trip to Vienna. But I don’t feel excited. It all just feels a bit strange and surreal. But then again, what would Christmas be without a little of the holiday blues? I’m sure it will pass.