Friendship Drama Romance

We sat on the beach and watched a glorious sunrise. The sand was slightly damp from a shower of rain earlier that morning. As the sun rose higher and higher in the sky we promised to stay in touch. Jenna and I had been friends for several decades. We had picked up the same ragged bunny in kindergarten and refused to give it to the other. The compromise had been to play together. I wanted bunny to make tea and Jenna wanted bunny to go climb a mountain. As we grew up we always wanted different things and somehow that was how we remained friends. We were always both so curious and we could share with each other what we had gone off and done in our own individual worlds. 

I realised that not everyone else was like this. I had other friends who became frenemies and even enemies; when our interests diverged so did our friendship. Why was it that similarities brought people together more often than differences? What could be more fun than having a hearty disagreement with each other, realising how little or how much each of us knew about something and then laughing it off? Jenna often said that ego stood in the way of friendship based on difference. She said, “In that moment, when someone wants to believe that they are right; that their experience and knowledge must count for something….to recognise that it may not, may be something they are not willing to face. When one thread is unravelled would the entire garment come undone?”

Jenna and I kept in touch as much as possible after she left. We would text and email and video call. She would complain about her latest boyfriend and I would whine about my husband. Andrew never liked Jenna for some reason. He always said that she appeared to hold many secrets close to her chest. He never understood why I did not see her that way. I had known her my whole life to be brutally honest about every detail of her life. There was not a call, text or memory that she had not shared with me. Andrew said that she had a wild streak in her and not in a good way. I laughed at that. We were in the car on the way home from a party his boss had hosted. He was in suit and tie and I was wearing one of those beautiful off shoulder sleek black dresses that you see in the movies. I was finally able to fit into something a little bit tighter for the first time since the baby had been born. “What does not wild in a good way even mean? She doesn't sleep around as much as she talks about it you know...it's just her being funny” I asked him. Andrew said, “ It means that breaking a wild horse is not an easy task”. 

We met again in person a few months later. Jenna cradled Charlotte and crooned adoringly, “oh, you’re such a little darling!” Andrew watched from across the pantry whilst pretending to read an article on his I-pad. We left both babies at home and went out for dinner that night. Jenna appeared delirious at the prospect of a new job she’d just heard about and spent the entire evening talking about her excitement at possibly moving back to town. I was happy for her. I really was. Her parents still lived here and she said that she would like to be closer to them as they were getting older. Jenna said, ”Of course, I’d be closer to you too again and that’s wonderful! How’s married life, darling? Is it true what they say that the older you get the less ‘active’ you get?”. She winked at me. I swallowed and replied, “Well, of course with a new baby it’s not like we are newlyweds anymore”. Jenna touched my shoulder comfortingly and said, “Of course! It’s just that Andrew’s always been a little extra mischievous don't you think? His wild nights of partying are legendary. Although it’s been ten years now.” 

The next day Jenna’s words haunted me. Could she really know my husband better than I did? Andrew had told me all about his past but how did Jenna know? Did Jenna know Andrew back then somehow? Should I ask them or let it go? As far as I could tell, Andrew did not seem to want to go back to his past ‘days of glory’. He went to work, helped out with Charlotte at home and made love to me. He did not go anywhere mysterious without explanation and did not lunge for his phone when it ping-ed or tried to hide it from me. 

About three months after Jenna returned back to town, Andrew came into the nursery while I was changing Charlotte, and said that we needed to talk. He was pacing back and forth with his hands in his hair when I walked into the bedroom after putting Charlotte down in her crib. “Look, I never meant to hurt you. I thought that it was some fun and nothing serious. I am so sorry. I am so sorry. I am so sorry,” mumbled Andrew. “Is it Jenna? Did you have something with her?” I asked with a sinking feeling in my chest. He came up to me and looked me straight in the face. He looked me in the eye and said, “We did not sleep together.” Could I believe him? “Then what happened?” I asked. “He touched his lips and chin with his thumb and finger and said, “We just exchanged some photos. Naughty ones, you know? But now she wants to meet and she says that she would be better for me than you…and I just can’t throw away our history and what we have now and what we could have in the future. She’s wild; I couldn't trust her.” I laughed. “Well, you trusted her enough to send her photos didn’t you? Where did you think it was leading?” I did not know what to feel or think or what to do.

Andrew and I drove in silence. The marriage counsellor had said that we needed to get away, just the two of us, and spend time together. We got to the lake house and we unpacked. I had twenty texts and five missed calls from Jenna on just that one day. Andrew and I had agreed that neither of us would speak with her. I did not know if I had wanted to hear her side of things; an explanation or justification or something. Nevertheless, I decided that it would not help to see her again. Andrew and Charlotte fell asleep early on. I went out of the bedroom and sat in the living room with the radio turned on. Our song began to play and I felt this intense sorrow come over me. I felt stifled by my life and by my choices. I wanted to run out screaming and leave everyone behind. I was all alone as was the moon reflecting over the lake. We hung in suspense overlooking all that was around us and wondering when morning would come.

November 20, 2020 03:10

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Courtney Cloud
19:32 Nov 27, 2020

This is a beautiful story. I started out really loving Jenna. She seemed like the wise and fun friend. Now at the end I still feel like there's more to the story about her! I really enjoyed it. I thought it was excellent writing.


Seeker C
17:19 Nov 28, 2020

Thank you very much! It would be interesting to flesh out Jenna's character further and see where she would lead us :)


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