Yay updated within a week! I think.. anyways, I spent time writing this today so that you could have something to read before I left! (read my next post). So, enjoy this chapter... :)
After walking endlessly through streets, people, signs, I found myself standing outside a familiar wall. The house was made out of bricks in different shades of orange and had several windows carved out on the wall, a few small balconies here and there. It stood big and tall on the street. It was a house I had never mentally gone to myself actually and I remembered the sign one the wall, naming the street Lexington 2nd street. I stood against the wall, hesitating and doubting whether I should go in or not. What was I even doing here? Okay, so I came to apologize, that’s all.
I noticed how much of a different environment this was compared to where I lived. I lived in an old style, but original family house placed in a calm neighborhood where people walked their dogs or jogged at a slow pace. There were people here too, walking their dogs or jogging, but this was more of a city life. It was more like a mess, with magazines booths, food stalls and other small shops lining up on the street. People going in all directions, taxies driving unbelievably fast and a few whistles now and then. And I liked it.
I thought that this fitted me more, this city life with things always moving or happening. When I moved out, which, maybe now would be pretty soon considering all the stuff going on at home, I wanted to move to someplace like this. As I thought about moving, I thought about Lily and the things she had said and the things I had said, and I realized that I couldn’t just “walk it off” as I thought. I still felt the pain throbbing in my chest, but at least I hadn’t cried any more. And then panic rushed through me as I remembered I’d been crying and I felt the panic because I didn’t want to look like a mess when he’d see me. Like I cared, but… I did.
I took a step forward, standing in front of the big door that led to the apartments inside and before making any other move, I took off my sunglasses, trying to remove any signs around my eyes that indicated I’d been crying. I hadn’t put on any makeup today anyways, except for mascara and light red rouge. But it wasn’t like I had been weeping, so I was sure the mascara hadn’t created a pool of blackness beneath my eyes. My hair looked alright I think but I patted it anyways, straightening any tangles that I could feel.
Why was I getting so nervous all of a sudden? I looked fine, I know I did. Besides, I wasn’t going on a date or anything. It was just Josh. Just the guy who I had happened to encountered a few times now, including the mental hospital ones. And then my mind traveled back to what his reason for being there was again. But I refocused on what I came here for. To apologize. There was a girl, carrying a pink hand bag coming from the other side of the door and she held up the door after her, expecting I was on my way in. But I stood still. What would I actually say when I met him? I hadn’t thought much about that…probably because I never used to think beforehand on what I would say, so why couldn’t I do that now then?
“Hello, you’re on your way in or what?” The girl asked, obviously annoyed at me for doubting. Well, I was too. But I was thankful that she cared to hold the door for me.
I walked in and was surrounded by narrow walls creating a long hallway to all the apartments. And then I remembered, I didn’t even know the number to his apartment? Dang it. Since I had never gone here while I was conscious that is.. I remembered that when me and Laura ran out as fast as we could, we didn’t have to run that long to get outside, so it must be one of the doors more near to the exit. I walked and walked… and then turned. I was facing a door with the number 8, I wasn’t sure it was his, but I guessed. I couldn’t do much more.
I knocked three times and it was opened by an older man, wearing what looked like hiking clothes. He had stubble on his chin and looked down at me through the brown hat he wore. He probably looked as confused as I did, because, clearly, this was not the right door.
“Yes, can I help you?” He asked in a polite tone.
“Sorry, I think I’ve knocked on the wrong door. I’ll just leave.” I walked away quickly and heard a faint “okay” and then the door shut.
“Looking for someone?” I heard someone say in a too familiar smug tone behind me. I turned around and saw Josh, standing outside the same door. He wore black jeans along with a blue sweater and his brown hair seemed to have grown since last time or maybe it was just disheveled, though I don’t know why that would make it look longer. He smiled. I frowned.
“Hi.” I said more shockingly than I imagined and walked up to him.
“I thought you didn’t live here.” I said, meeting his eyes for the first time. He looked better, better as in the bruise had almost faded around the right eye and the anger in his face was gone, relieved for that.
“Oh, that’s my dad. He’s on his way to hike.” He said and looked backwards and just then, I remembered that he had told me once that his dad hiked. His dad waved at me, I smiled and returned it. He then came towards us and stretched out his hand.
“Seems like you didn’t knock on the wrong door after all. Well, aren’t you going to introduce us Josh?” He said, nudging him on the shoulder. I let out a light laugh.
“Dad, this is Hayley. Hayley, this is Jim, my dad.” He said, pointing with his fingers at us and acting in the least enthusiastic way, still smiling though.
“Nice to meet you, Hayley.” He said and shook my hand.
“You too.” I said and smiled back.
And then silence fell over us. I glanced at Josh who with a smirk, glanced back. It seemed as if the fighting between us has melted away and I was glad for that. Only.. I came to remind him of it by apologizing. Then Jim picked up a large green bag packed with equipment for hiking from the floor. He put his hand on Josh’s shoulder and shook him lightly.
“Well, I’m on my way then. I’ll be home in 2 days. Call me if you need anything.”
“And how are you going to help when you’re in the woods, miles away from here?” Josh asked, in a joking manner.
Jim shrugged and put on his backpack.
“I don’t know. But it just feels good saying it. Okay, behave now and see you later!” He said and then turned towards me.
“And pleasure meeting you, Hayley.”
I gave him a nod and made way for him as he went out the apartment door.
“Your dad seems nice.” I thought out loud. Nicer than mine..
“Yeah, I guess he is. It’s nice to have the whole apartment for yourselves sometimes though.” He yawned and walked around. He then stopped and looked at me.
“So, what brings you here?”
And I snapped, remembering why I was here again. Ugh.. here it goes.
“Right, uhm. Listen, I kinda wanted to talk to you. About…the fight at the beach. I’m sorry about that. I got mad at you for going after Pete but then I realized you did because I crashed at your apartment again.. I’m sorry for.. everything really. You’ve been saving me all those times, at that party and then the club and yeah, I just wanted to reassure you that I won’t be intruding your apartment anymore, so sorry for that too.” I said, looking up at him. He lowered his glance and for a moment I thought I saw a hint of anger in him again. But his voice was calm.
“The apartment was never the issue but apology accepted.”
“Great.” I said a little too fast. Wait, what? Did he say that it wasn’t the apartment? Then what was it?
“Do you even know why I went after him?” Josh suddenly said and sort of caught me off guard.
I looked to the side and then said in an obvious way,
“Yeah, well, he’s a total jerk. And if I have to come up with a reason you did it, if not your apartment then, it’s because you see me as a friend, right?”
He looked at me seriously and for a moment, that was all there was. No words spoken between us and I started to feel almost nervous again.
“And friends don’t let other friends get drugged.” I added a bit awkwardly.
After I said that last thing, I saw his lips turn upwards. But he had a look before, which I couldn’t read and I know I’d seen it before, the last time I was here. But he cut in before I could ask.
“Yeah, friends don’t do that.” He said, looking down and then up at me again.
I gazed around his apartment, thinking of what I would do when I got home. What John would say, especially after hearing Lily’s version of the walk we took. Who knows, she might say I escaped, since I’m grounded. Right now, I wanted to escape, just pause everything for minute and go to the roof and just lie down and be. Everything else could wait. I needed a break. But I had waited long enough. I had had a break for 2 years.
“Hey, are you okay?” Josh woke me from my thoughts. He took a few steps towards me and he managed to sound conventional but still serious as he asked me that. Not like those fake therapists on TV.
I then wondered if it was that obvious that I had cried, even though I was pretty sure I had covered it up already. Nevertheless, the words came out of my mouth naturally, with a sigh.
“It’s John, my dad. And, Lily, my grandma. You know the story I told about my mom leaving me 2 years ago? Well, I know for a fact now that John and Lily both know where she is but they are hiding it from me. I confronted Lily earlier and… I just.. I don’t know what to do.” I never meant to say any of it, but here I was, opening up like a book again.
Why was it that with Josh, I always did this? I leaned against the doorway absentmindedly, thinking I needed to stop spilling out everything about myself. It didn’t seem normal…but then again, we were friends now, so, maybe it was. But it wasn’t when we were strangers.
“Well, you wanted to find out the truth right?” He said, trying to sound a bit chipper.
“Yeah, but it was like at the mental hospital. When I told you I was being discharged, I was glad because, I wanted to get out. But somehow.. I was still scared, remember? And I think it’s the same with this. I want to know the truth so badly, really, I mean, that was how I ended up at the hospital that night I overdosed…because of all of this with Cynthia. And now that I’m so close..”
“..You’re just scared.” He finished.
I looked at him, trying in my unconscious state to understand him. Everytime he said something like that, it sounded like he knew how it felt himself, like he’d been through something similar too.
“Yes.” I said.
“Anyways, yeah so I came here to say I’m sorry about crashing at your apartment and I’ve said more than that already.. so, I’m going to go now.”
I took a step from the doorway, so that I was standing outside the door and then turned around, finding that Josh was just behind me.
“Thanks again.” I said and met his eyes sincerely.
And then, for some reason, I took a step forward; putting a hand on his shoulder and leaning in to kiss him lightly on the cheek. It was merely a touch and then I felt the weirdest feeling I had ever felt, no matter how hard I tried to ignore it. I pulled back and felt his eyes on me. I walked away before he could say anything.
“Good luck.” I heard him shout after a while.
I thought about the fishing trip somehow. When I caught that perch and how Josh said that the first fish you caught were supposed to bring you luck. But I didn’t need luck right now. I needed and wanted the truth and I was ready for it. I had to be.
thanks for reading guys and I'd love to hear your thoughts as always....!