That Stupid Elephant

I woke up this morning to find that it wasn’t a bad dream. I had three texts from Fife:

  • I’m worried about you. You’ve just stormed off, and I have no idea where you are. Call or text me so I know you’re safe.
  • I wish you would at least talk to me. It’s not what you think. You’re over reacting.
  • This is getting ridiculous. I am not moving my stuff out until we talk about this.

I’ve turned off my phone.

In the kitchen, there stood HarryPotter, t-shirt and boxers. He shook a box of cereal at me and said, ‘Want some?’ I nodded and he poured us both a bowl. At the kitchen table he asked, ‘What do you want to do today?’

Oh, fuck, I don’t know? I thought. I want to reverse time and go back to when I met fuck-wit Fife and wack him in the bollocks with a tyre-iron. But of course, I couldn’t say that. Instead, I said, ‘I’m feeling a bit lazy. Can we just hang out?’

Now, when I decided to escape to HarryPotter’s house, it wasn’t just because I needed to get away from Fife. Which I did. I had also hoped that HP would help me get my mind off things. He can always make me laugh, and we talk about stupid shit. And I love that about him. When I’m with him, I think about things other than my troubles. (Except when he is my trouble, of course, but that’s been a long time ago.) Yet, this weekend hd has been quiet, sullen and boarderline grumpy.

We spent the entire day on the sofa flipping through channels. There was a giant elephant in the room that neither of us would mention, but I’m sure my elephant was different than his. I just couldn’t figure out why he was being sullen. Was it because of this blog? Even though he said he stopped reading it, had he started again? Is he mad that I’ve been blogging about him even though he asked me not to? Does he know about my ‘predicament’ and he’s waiting for me to say something? Maybe I should talk to HP about it? Maybe I should tell him that I might be…well…you know? In fact, I physically opened my mouth several times to say something, but nothing would come out. I literally could not bring myself to say those words. I was beginning to hope that he had read the blog, and I that he would bring it up. He would tell me that it was okay and give me a cuddle. But instead, there we sat, on the opposite ends of the sofa, flipping through television channels.

Around ten o’clock that night, after a long day of doing and saying nothing, I decided to have a bath. Squirt some shampoo and washing-up liquid in the water in an attempt to make a bubble bath. I went into the cupboard in the hall, where he normally keeps the spare towels, and I found a brown paper bag with lovely silk hanging out. I know I should have left it, but I’m too much of a snoop.

Inside the bag was a beautiful turquoise silk skirt with vines and branches embroidered along the bottom.

‘Damn it. That’s your birthday present. You weren’t meant to find that.’

I turned around, and HarryPotter was standing right behind me.

‘I’m so sorry,’ I said. ‘I really am. But it’s lovely.’

‘Since the surprise is ruined, you may as well have it now,’ he said.

I wasn’t sure if he was mad or not. ‘Oh, I can wait. I’m so sorry, I was just…’

‘It’s okay,’ he cut me off. ‘I’m glad you found it. That way you can wear it.’ He finally had a smile on his face.

We went into the lounge and he asked me to hold it up. ‘Recognise the design?’ he asked.

It was from LadyBohemia’s painting — the one with the vines and leaves and little white flower buds against a blue sky. I couldn’t believe it. How did he know? How did he get the pattern? The colours?

He explained that when I showed him that painting, the first time he came to the flat (when Fife was sleeping and HP said he looked like a Muppet) I said that I thought it would make a lovely pattern on a skirt. So, HP took a picture of it with his phone, then he gave it to a girl he knows back from when he was in art college who does textiles, and he had her make it into a skirt.

I asked how he knew my size.

‘When I’ve put my arms around your waste my wrists go past my elbows,’ and he put his arms together like he was hugging and said, ‘You’re this big.’

I threw myself at him, flung my arms around his neck, gave him a big kiss, pulled away and said ‘Thank you. This really is the nicest present anyone has ever gotten me.’ And I meant it. I cannot remember a more thoughtful gift anyone has ever gotten me. (And my birthday’s not even until August.)

‘Right. I need to talk to you about something,’ he said.

Shit. This was it. He knows. I braced myself. I wanted him to know about my ‘situation’ and it would be so much better if he brought it up. I can’t even type it, let alone talk about it.

‘I said a bunch of stuff when I was drunk at that party,’ he started.

I forgot all about that, I thought. Shit, that’s why he’s been sullen. He’s gotten drunk and is embarrassed he was talking all kinds of nonsense.

‘I said a lot of things that night. A lot of things about how I feel about you. And…’ he continued.

I didn’t know why he was making such a big issue about it. I know he was just drunk and talking shit. In fact, I knew what he was going to say next. He was going to say, ‘I said a lot of things that night. A lot of things about how I feel about you. And I didn’t mean them. We’re great friends. I’m sorry I got drunk and acted like a twat.’

That’s not what he said.

He said, ‘…And…God, I don’t know why I’m bringing this up…actually, yes I do know why. I’m still in love with you. I can’t stand that you’re with someone else.’

Holy fuck. I did not expect that.

He could see my shocked expression, ‘I’m so sorry,’ he said. ‘I should have kept it to myself. I was kind of hoping we’d get smashed this weekend, and I could tell you how I feel once I’ve got my whisky coat on. But since we’re not drinking. I’m sorry. God, I’m an idiot. I’m just tired of being your friend. I can’t stand it. I love being with you, and I want more than this.’

Holy fuck. Holy fucking shit. Not now. Not now. Why couldn’t he have said this last February when he came to my flat that first time? Why couldn’t he have said this before I went travelling? Why couldn’t he have said this so long ago? Why now? Oh god this is fucked up. As much as I want to, and I can’t be with him, not until I’m sure if I’m pregnant or not. Oh shit, I just typed it, and I hate typing it. And there’s no way, once he knows about it, that he’ll still want to be with me. He may love me, but I can’t ask him to love someone else’s kid. And what if I don’t keep it, then I can’t ask him to take on my baggage. And even if I wasn’t in my predicament, HP and I have always been a mess when comes to romantic stuff. Do I want to risk our friendship by being in a relationship with him? Then again, after what he’s said, our friendship is already ruined. God this is messed up.

‘I can’t.’ That’s all I said. ‘I can’t.’

I should have said more. I should have explained. I tried. I opened my mouth, but nothing came out. How do you tell someone that you’ve made the biggest mistake of your life by putting your trust and faith in a sociopath? How do you tell someone that your mistake will mean that things will never be the same? How do you tell someone who’s put his heart on their sleeve, that I can’t feel the same way? Not right now. How do you reject someone who means so much to you? How do you say, ‘I’ve fucked up’?

I did say, however, ‘I can’t stay here.’

‘Yeah. I’m sorry. You’ve got a boyfriend, and he seems really nice, and I’m so sorry,’ he said. Then he buried his face in his hands and mumbled, ‘Oh, this was so stupid.’

I looked at him and I felt even worse. In the last few months he’s lost his father, his mother’s left for another country, and now me…me…I’ve told him that I can’t be with him. Shit!

‘I only said something because I assumed…’ he hesitated, then continued, ‘Well, I assumed that after my outburst last Friday you knew how I felt. I assumed that it was the big elephant in the room.’

That stupid fucking elephant.

I looked at the clock. It was too late to get the train back to Dundee. I’d have to stay the night. ‘No. This isn’t your fault. It really isn’t,’ I said. ‘I’ve just a lot going on. And I need to think about all this. And, no, I’m sorry. This isn’t the reaction you wanted…but, listen. I’m going to take a bath, go to bed early and leave in the morning.’

He just nodded ‘yes’ and I went into the bathroom for a bath. I’m now in the guest bedroom. I just can’t believe this. I.Can.Not.Believe.This.


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