rena has been sitting in the shower cubicle for a few minutes when her phone starts ringing. dripping wet, fully-clothed, hungry.
holding the glass partition, she reaches for the phone sitting on the toilet lid. she accepts the call without glancing at the name. it's him. she knows.
"this is rena m."
"hi, rena. i--"
"i thought you'd made it clear that you didn't want me to contact you. at all. apparently, that clarity doesn't include you doing the same for me."
"i had made a lot of things clear, rena. i just wanted to leave because it wasn't good for you. it was for you, not me. listen. i just wanted to know why i stayed for as long as i did. alright?"
just. it is always 'just' with him.
"don't. don't say it was for me, this wasn't about me. this was completely about you. i was happy. i was fine. okay? and i am fine. just fine.
i didn't ask you to plaster my cracks and paint over them. i didn't even ask you to cover up yours. i didn't want to coat our little fissures and enormous canyons. that was all you.
you couldn't comfort me, because i was happy. and you needed to comfort someone, because you don't know how else to love. which is your problem, not mine, so don't throw this at me."
she is fine. 'just' fine. definitely not sitting-in-a-shower-for-an-hour-depressed.
"i'm not saying it was your fault. it's just your nature. that rubbish about me needing to comfort someone... it's...well. it's rubbish. you just settled, rena.
you were happy because you were stable and not excited and not exhilarated. you were happy because it was mundane.
i have loved you through pathetic jokes and anxiety attacks and asthma-inducing roller coaster fights. your acceptance of something that isn't even you...that pushed me out."
she is stuck on 'i have loved you' and she is queasy, like when you eat too many cookies and they keep worming back out through your throat.
except now, her emotions are worming out through her tear ducts. she takes a large breath, holding it, banishing the impending overflow.
one breath. in, hold, out. another, and another, and the last.
"i settled because i felt safe. not stable. i never feel stable with you. i--" need a breath, need a breath.
"you felt...safe. you were trusting me and i thought it was you settling for me. with me. i-"
"it's done now, isn't it? we wounded each other too much. and...i met someone. a woman. evelyn. she's--"
"rena, rena, hold on. you...what?"
well done, she sneers to herself. what a way to come out to your ex.
"i kind of realised i was bisexual? i met evelyn at that pizzeria we used to frequent. she bought me a box of fries, custom-made. it was sweet. she was, too. is. sweet. it's sweet."
she desperately needs to come up with adjectives. and also be not-depressed-and-heartbroken over him.
"oh. well. i am happy you're happy. in a sweet relationship. i wanted to talk. i did. you did. so...i guess, all the best? all the best. i--bye. take care, retina."
"nolistenwait--" he's gone. again.
she has been standing there, right there, until evelyn opens their door, calling for her, finding her rocking on the closed toilet lid, dripping wet, fully-clothed, hungry.
evelyn. wrapping her in a turkish towel, calling her out, feeding her, making her live.
rena has started feeling safe with her. which makes her feel unsafe because she is once bitten, twice shy.
evelyn feels safe and dangerous, like a painkiller that is bound to give you kidney failure.
evelyn is evelyn. she's not him. she is not. not.
evelyn is not him and there is no thrill and there is stability that she does not want and there is safety, a lot of it.
so much of it that she is going to take evelyn for granted and it is not going to go up in flames, it is going to rot and decay and fester in its own filth.
and rena needs the risk of going up in flames. she needs the security blanket that is also highly flammable. which is him, not her. not evelyn.
what do you do when you're in desperate love with him and you are desperately safe with her?