Drama Fiction Friendship

As I stood devastated before the family court building, a lone tear spilt and left a blotch on the divorce papers I had clutched hard in my hands. I couldn't believe it was all over now. I looked at Jason walk towards his car, half heartedly hoping that he might turn in my direction and may be just maybe change his mind. But who was I kidding? It was over.

I sighed and got into an Uber. I let myself sink into the seat and the floodgate of my emotions opened. By the time the cabbie dropped me, I looked like Rudolf the reindeer on a bad day. I sucked in a breath and put on my sunglasses. The front desk lady didn't need to know that I had just returned from splitsville, did she?

Once in my hotel room I called my mom,

"Mom....I...got a divorce."

The audible gasp from the other end threatened to open another round of waterworks, but I reigned in my sobs and trembled as she whispered,

"Oh Honey, are you alright?"

I suddenly didnt want to be on the phone anymore. I wanted to climb into bed with a tub of icecream and cry myself to eternity. I curtly ended the call and promised to call back soon with a strict warning to both my parents to remain where they were. I stood in the middle of the room, staring at the bed and the welcome abyss of misery, but I knew I had a month to settle things between us and getting my stuff out of our house was on top of that list.

'Our house', I thought wistfully. I still recalled the day we had collected the keys from the realtor. We both had pitched our entire savings to get that beautiful house by the lake. We had imagined a garden, kids playing around the front and getting old and gray on the front porch- together. But today as I stood at the gate, our house felt like a strange place, as if I wasn't welcome anymore.

Jason opened the door and stood ackwardly to the side to let me in. We had always greeted each other with a kiss, now it just felt suffocating to be in his presence.I looked at him oddly and he averted his gaze. When did we grow so apart?

"Uhhhuh," I cleared my suddenly dry throat, "I came to pick my stuff. I have some boxes in the trunk, if you didnt mind...."

He sensed my hesitation and just used a single word, "Keys."

I placed my carkeys on his outstretched hand and got the boxes out of my trunk.

"Shall I begin here?," it felt odd to ask him permission to collect my things from my home, but then it wasn't my home anymore. I picked up an ugly looking statue of a dog and looked at him questioningly.

"I never liked that one," he replied.

I dumped the statue in the box and moved to the awards and trophies. There was one, right in the center, which we had won at this fair in our town. It read 'best couple', and I smiled at the irony.

"You remember the fair?," I looked at him, sadly staring at the trophy.

"How could I not, we had won it for knowing each and every thing about each other. Everyone had thought we were amazing."

I smiled softly at his reply, also wondering when is it that we stopped knowing what was on each other's mind.

The next rack had photos and he chose the ones he wanted to keep, they were mostly the ones without me. I sighed. He winced.

We carried two boxes upstairs and began emptying my wardrobe. At the bottom of a pile of clothes I found a t-shirt, 'parents to be' it read and my face crumbled. Jason stood up abruptly and turned towards the door,

"I can't do this Sara, just pack your stuff, I will be downstairs."

I cried silently as I packed my existence from Jason's life and headed downstairs. He silently picked the boxes and put them in my car. The silence was deafening, considering the screaming and accusing we indulged in, in the past whole year. It was as if we had nothing to say to each other anymore, he even seemed ready to move on. It hurt. We never got enough of each other and now we have to learn to live a seperate life. That night I slept between the boxes, trying to remember my room and the warmth of Jason beside me. I did not get out from my hotel room for three days straight.

On the fourth day, the housekeeping staff knocked, despite the do not disturb sign, incase I had eloped without paying or worst was dead without paying. After some fake apologies and a tense smile at the mess in my room, the lady finally left. I picked my phone and saw twenty missed calls from mom and five from Jason, five in a row in the past hour.

"Oh shit the bank!!," I exclaimed and hurried into the bathroom. I dialled his number as I pulled on my jeans.

"Hey! Am so sorry, I overslept. Are you at the bank already?"

I heard a relieved sigh on the other end,

"I will pick you up."

I smiled, "Ok will be down in ten."

I was bouncing on my heels as his red camaro rolled into a stop. I hopped in with a cheerful goodmorning and he nodded, falling back into silence as we weaved our way through traffic and reached the bank.

The bank manager gave us a sympathetic look, as we sat before him. He always addressed us as Mr. and Mrs. Cunningham, but today he used our first names.

"Sara, Jason, I understand that you have undergone a divorce and would like to close the joint accounts you hold as part of the proceedings. May I know how you wish to resolve the amount held in them?"

Jason cleared his throat, "Uh uhuh, I wish to continue with an individual account here. Barring the balance required to start the account, I wish to have the money converted to a DD."

I stared at Jason astonished. He had not bothered to consult me and had not even offered the money. He had won the house and bank balance in the split, while I got our flat in the city and the monthly expenses paid, I had expected him to consider my opinion.The bank manager's question brought me out of my thoughts,

"And is this fine by you ma'am?"

I stammered miserably, "Uh -Ah, Oh yeeeah, maybe?"

The manager raised his eyebrows but I just couldn't frame a sensible sentence at that moment. I slumped as I said, "Yes okay."

Once the formalities were concluded, we walked out onto the sidewalk. Jason hesitated and I halted,

"Sara I want you to have this," he said handing me the DD. I could only open and close my mouth as he walked away to his car. Raindrops hit the pavement, as the skies participated in my misery. This time I stayed in my room for a week, just staring out of the window at the changing seasons. I knew I had to move into our flat sooner or later, but for now I just wanted to be nowhere.

Two weeks later, I had managed to pull myself together and had moved into our flat. It was a three bedroom sea facing luxury, but it felt cold and lonely than our snug little house by the lake. I sat in the balcony, sipping coffee and making plans for my days to come. I had been a home maker, and though Jason’s alimony would cover expenses, I wanted to get a job, just to stop myself from going crazy.

I made up my mind and called my long lost best friend,

“Hey Tammy, its me Sara.”

There was a moment of silence before Tammy exploded,

“OH My God! Sara!! How have you been? It’s been what? Twelve years since we spoke last?”

I cringed, so much for being her best friend.

“Yeah, me kind of drifted apart. How are you? Where are you now?”

I could hear her cover the phone and scream to someone ‘it’s Sara, can you believe it?’

“Yeah Sara, am good. I live in the city now. I run an art gallery with my husband. How is Jason doing? You guys still at the little lake side town?”

I was embarrassed, she knew my husband’s name, she knew where I lived, and I didn’t know she had gotten married. She probably was in touch with my mom.

“Tammy I need your help. I ….I …you know….got a divorce. I needed a job, but I am pretty much new to the job thing. Would you know someone whom I could connect with.”

I could hear a muffled conversation again, while I counted seconds.

“Sara, hey, you know we have been looking for a reliable person to work at our gallery. Someone who could look after appointments, overlook the movement of the artwork, and just take care of the place. With work expanding, we don’t mind an extra hand. What say? The pay is decent and workhours flexible you know incase you have to manage kids.”

I shut my eyes and gasped, Tammy realised she had hit a nerve,

“hey are you okay?”

For some reason, I confided in a friend I had forgotten for years.

A month was finally coming to an end, and I had wrapped up most of the formalities with Jason. Many things had changed. I was working. Jason was aloof. We didn’t scream at each other anymore, but then we didn’t talk with each other either. I was handling my finances, miserably, so I had to hire a CA. My best friend had become my close confidante and employer. But there was one thing left to do.

As I stood at the graveyard, I wasn’t sure I could walk into the rows of graves. Just then I felt a hand on my shoulder, its familiar warmth spreading through my body right upto my heart. I looked up at Jason, as he took my hand and I let myself be led to the grave of our one and only child.

‘Timmy sleeps here’ the headstone read. I could see the pain in Jason’s eyes as he knelt and layed a flower on Timmy’s grave. I knelt down beside him and said,

“I wish things had been different, I wish Timmy had been alive. But as much as I want I can’t change things and am really really sorry for everything.”

Jason looked at me as his unshed tears trickled out,

“I think we never forgave each other, we kept scraping the wound and kept festering in the pain alone. We never took time to heal. I am trying now. I hope you will try to. Can you forgive me for all that I have said and done?”

I smiled at him, a heavy weight lifted off my chest.

“I know being friends may be cliched given our situation but I would like to do this together. I think we owe that much to Timmy.”

He nodded and we walked back to our cars hand in hand. Promising to meet at the support group that night, we headed our separate directions. Finally there was something meaningful to say and do. Finally things had changed for the better. Finally we had a fragment of space where we could exist in peace.

April 16, 2021 03:58

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