Seeing Amanda sit by the window, one might assume she was looking at the world around her. But the truth was that even if her eyes were looking in that general direction, her brain was not registering any of it. She just sat and stared through the world. Because why look at something that simply does not matter? The sun began to set, and as the rain slowed down, so did Amanda’s tears. If her red nose and puffy eyes did not tell enough of a story, surely the mountain of tissues next to her did – she had been crying a while.
Wiping her nose with an oversized sweatshirt she was wearing, Amanda decided to move from the living room back into her bedroom, which was divided from the living room by a red curtain.
“An open floor plan” was what the leasing agent used as one of the arguments why someone would want to live in that apartment. Amanda remembered hearing that phrase a lot on real estate shows on TV and figured she would like to feel hip and trendy. So, she put in an application, and two weeks later, she moved into that apartment. At first, the apartment seemed huge, but soon enough, it became hard for Amanda to keep organized if every room was a part of the next. Thinking outside the box, Amanda installed curtains. It made her feel as if she was coming out onto a stage from behind a curtain at a theater. At least in the beginning. Then, the novelty wore off, and she just learned to live in the space that she had.
As she sat down on the bed, she turned to the side and smelled the sweatshirt she was wearing. Despite the fact that she has not changed out of it for three, or four, or five days, Amanda still got whiffs of sandalwood and citrus. Splendid Wood by Yves Saint Laurent. The stream of tears began to flow faster again. Surely there must have been ridges in her cheeks by then from all the crying she had been doing for the past couple of days.
A knock at the door caused Amanda to pause her sniffles for a brief moment and listen. She held her breath, hoping whoever was at the door would go away if she did not answer.
The second knock was more intense.
“Could it be him?” she wondered, cocking her head to the side.
“Amanda?” a female voice asked.
Amanda exhaled and shook her head gently. What would she even do if it indeed was him? She guessed it depended on the reason why he came. Was it something he left behind, or did he want to get back together?
More fervent knocking.
“Open up! I know you are in there! You cannot hide from me!” Jessica – Amanda’s best friend, yelled through the door.
Amanda did not feel like entertaining anyone, and so she pushed her back further against the corner where her bed met the walls.
“I have the emergency key you gave me when you moved in. I will count to three. If you do not open up, I will treat this as an emergency and use it,” Jessica threatened. “One… two… thr-“
Amanda opened the door wearing dark sunglasses.
“It is past seven o’clock on a cloudy October day, and you do not have any lights lit in here. You do not need those,” Jessica said before taking off Amanda’s sunglasses. “Oh, honey…” she hugged her bestie.
“Jess, I have this terrible migraine. I’m sorry, but I need to go back to bed.” Amanda turned away from her friend and moved towards her bedroom curtain.
“Not so fast. You’ve been dodging me for days now. I’m done with that. God as my witness, I will get you out of this hole. As your best friend, I promise to put him in the hole, if that makes you feel better.”
Jessica turned on the living room light and looked around. “No old pizza boxes. Good,” she murmured as she headed towards the kitchen. “No dirty dishes in the sink. Maybe it’s not as bad as I thought,” she said to herself and opened the fridge. “Is this the rotisserie chicken we bought together over the weekend?” Jessica yelled out to Amanda, who was already in bed under the covers crying another river.
“Oh, boy,” Jessica whispered as she sat down on the bed next to her friend.
It was Jess’ intention to drag Amanda out that night so they could drink, dance, and forget about men, but that would clearly not happen with the state Amanda was in.
“Alright. Have it your way – sleep. But I am staying right here to make sure you don’t choke on your own tears, and tomorrow we are starting a brand new chapter.” Jessica sighed and pulled out her phone to keep her company as Amanda buried her face in the pillow.
The following day, Amanda’s head felt like it was going to explode with every move she made. Slow as a snail, she made her way into the bathroom in search of some medication. She shook out three blue pills, then added a fourth one for good measure and swallowed them with a handful of tap water. Almost as if the medicine was already doing its job, Amanda felt more aware of her surroundings on her way to the bed. She paused midstep. There was humming coming from the direction of the kitchen.
“Could all that have been a dream? Did he never leave after all?” she began to wonder, still frozen in her pose.
“You’re finally up!” Jessica beckoned her with her right hand hidden in an oven mitt. “Come. I went shopping when you were sleeping, and I’ve made some eggs, bacon, and croissants. Sit.” Jess proceeded to plate all the delicacies as Amanda at down.
Amanda knew she had to get rid of Jessica but was not sure how. She was in mourning of a love that ended, and her friend simply did not fit into that. Jessica was chipper as always. So insensitive. She watched Jess’ mouth move but could not hear the words. Did not want to hear the words. They did not matter. Nothing mattered.
“Did you hear what I just said?” Jessica shook Amanda’s arm.
“No, sorry. My boyfriend of five years just told me he didn’t love me anymore, and I am trying to cope with that. So, no. I did NOT hear what you were yapping about.” Amanda tossed her fork to the side and walked away from the table.
“Amanda, sweetie, I know it hurts, but you will get through this. WE will get through this. When you were sleeping, I received the opportunity of a lifetime – to go on an exotic holiday and post selfies each day. I am finally going to become an Instagram influencer. I will be able to quit my job…”
Amanda tuned out. She was happy for her friend. She was. But she was sad for herself, and she needed to focus on that.
“We are leaving in two days. We’ll go waxing today so you can scream and let that anger out before we head for the exotic Bahamas. For a week! For free!” Jessica announced and pulled Amanda in for a dance.
“Write a story inspired by the word ‘exotic.'”
– prompt used for this CW piece.
P.S. As always, you are more than welcome to use this prompt to inspire your post. If you decide to write something, be sure to pingback to this post so that I can get an alert and check out your piece. (A post on how to do pingbacks can be found here.) If pingbacks are not your thing, feel free to simply leave a link to your piece in the comment section below. The more, the merrier!
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