Facing the consequences..
As I hang up the phone to Roxie, the butterflies are back in my stomach. To say I am nervous doesn’t even come close. I haven’t been this nervous since the day I was dared to go up to a group of boys at school and kiss Tommy McLinde on the cheek. I thought I was brave when I accepted the dare but once I reached Tommy, whose shorter than me and he was looking up innocently unaware, the nervous butterflies arrived in the thousands. I almost ran away but when I turned around to see if my friends were watching, all I could see was Poppy with hands on her hips saying there is no way I would go through with it.
I kissed Tommy then ran away from everyone. My face was beetroot red, the butterflies had multiplied further and I thought I was going to be sick from nerves. So I ran to hide my embarrassment while trying to gain my composure back.
We often played truth or dare at school, laughing the entire time at the silly requests put forward. Most times truth was chosen but the answer had to remain a secret between us. The dares were mainly saying something to someone, playing a funny trick on someone in the playground but the kiss, well that was the first time and I had to get it. Never again would I pick dare.
Roxie is on her way over unaware of what she is walking into. It is a shame to ruin such a good day I had with Mum and the twins, but this needs to be done. All day Roxie was on my mind, through-out the movie while eating popcorn, over cheesy nachos, even when I tried on a lilac and white top with embedded fake diamonds around the collar, I thought of Roxie.
I knew Mum noticed my eyes in the morning, a little puffy and hazy. She reached for my hand most of the day, letting me know without words that she supports my decision. Mum let me know I was doing the right thing, I was a good friend.
“Come in Roxie,” I say without emotion as I hear her knock at my bedroom door.
I have my back to the door, knowing I have to face Roxie but still trying to control the butterflies. I pretend to be concentrating hard on re-arranging all my earrings into the right place in my jewellery box as Roxie walks, in happiness beaming out of her.
“Hi Alexx, did you have a good day with your Mum and the twins?”
“Yeah it was cool fun,” I reply, playing with the jewellery box.
“Well you’re lucky, I did nothing today. Brendon played footy but miles away and he went with friends so I couldn’t even go to that. I was glad when you called. I couldn’t get over here quick enough.”
Roxie keeps talking, most of which I barely take in. The courage I had built up all day is now breaking down. I’m not sure if I can actually go through with it. I will break Roxie’s heart. I am going to make her feel like a loser, someone who has no friends except me. Even then I haven’t been a good friend at all.
“Oh that’s good,” I respond automatically, still not paying attention.
‘Are you OK Alexx?” asks Roxie, realising the conversation had been very one sided.
“OMG, did you say something to your Mum about their fighting,” asks Roxie.
As I turn around in the chair to look at Roxie standing innocently behind me, I realise she is still more concerned about me than I deserve.
“Umm, no I haven’t said anything to Mum. I’m not ready to.”
“Oh I thought you must have, you seem unhappy,” replies Roxie.
After taking a deep breath and looking directly into my friend’s eyes, the courage comes flooding back like a high priority email appearing in your inbox, needing urgent attention.
“Roxie I need to talk to you about Poppy’s party.”
“Cool a party,” responds Roxie excitedly moving to sit on the edge of my bed. “When is it?”
“Next weekend actually and it is a slumber party.”
“Oh, so soon, she hasn’t given us much time to organise our stuff.”
“Yeah well she told us a few days ago,” I reply waiting to see if Roxie will put the rest of the story together. When she looks at me blankly I know I have to tell her the full story.
“I’m sorry Roxie but Poppy hasn’t invited you,” I say nervously fingering my jewellery.
“What, what do you mean?” asks Roxie confused.
“Poppy has invited me, Sam, Bella and Jo to her slumber on Saturday night but she said she is only allowed ask four people. So she couldn’t ask you.”
“Ohh” says Roxie sadly, realising the enormity of the situation.
Roxie’s eyes stay glued on me, waiting to hear the reason why she has been left out. It is like she is looking into my soul, determining whether it is good or bad and what type of friend I am. Part of me wishes she will look away and not see the real me. I don’t want her to realise that I am not a worthy friend.
Another part of me wishes she will cry, scream, yell, and lash out. If Roxie loses it I can handle that, maybe cope with the situation and try to calm her down. That is not Roxie’s style. She simply sat, quietly, emotionless staring at me waiting patiently for me to continue to break her heart.
The butterflies I have in my stomach have left but have been replaced by nausea. I feel sick from my behaviour and how I have treated my best friend. She still sits opposite me trusting everything about I’m about to say.
“I’m so sorry Roxie, I asked her if she could talk to her Mum and tell her that there is five she needs to invite but Poppy said her Mum didn’t want anymore than four,” I say quickly the words spurting out.
“Ohh”, came the same response.
“I said I didn’t think it is very nice but Poppy said that she couldn’t do anything about it.”
“So if Poppy told you a few days ago, why didn’t you say something then?” asks Roxie shaken from the news.
“I’m so sorry Roxie, I didn’t know how to say it to you,” I respond.
“So are you going to the party?” asks Roxie unexpectedly.
“Well, umm I was going,” I murmur.
It is like I have taken a knife and cut out Roxie’s heart. I can see the immense pain on her face and she makes me feel it too. Roxie’s world has just been turned upside down with the realisation the people she thought were her friends don’t really care for her. To add to the immeasurable pain, her best friend has given the final blow by agreeing to go to this party that she is not a part of.
“You know, I never thought Poppy liked me that much,” says Roxie, anger building in her voice, finally opening up to let out her true feelings. “And that never bothered me cause Poppy is always your friend, but you Alexx are my best friend.”
“Your mine Roxie, you know that,” I interrupt.
“I use to know that, but not anymore.”
“Don’t say that,” I say my courage disappearing.
“Why would you do this to me? What have I ever done to you?”
‘Nothing, you have done nothing to me.”
“That’s right, I have done nothing but be your friend. Whenever you need help, I am there. I keep your secrets because you are my friend and I don’t like seeing my friends hurt. And for all this, this is what you do to me,” screams Roxie tears in her eyes.
In all the years I have known Roxie I have never seen her cry. I have seen Roxie break her wrist when she fell over trying to beat a group of boys to the football. She won the race to the ball tripped over along the way, landing directly on her left wrist, snapping the bone. The pain was intense, it was clear from the expression on her face but she never once cried.
I have been with her when her aunty died from cancer. Roxie doesn’t talk about her aunty much, it is too painful. But not Roxie, she is brave. Brave for her but she was being brave for her Mum and Dad too.
I have seen her fight with Brendon and I mean really argue with some horrible things said. Not one tear came. If it was me, I would be on the ground curled in a ball rolling back and forth in a mess. But not Roxie. She took it all in her stride, getting through everything without a tear to be seen.
Today is different. I am the first person to make her cry and that is nothing to be proud of. The strong spirit Roxie possesses has been crushed by her so called best friend. Roxie is like a rock, a solid rock there for everyone needing her. I am destroying this.
“I am so sorry Roxie, I will tell Poppy that I won’t be going to her party.”
“No, don’t do that for me,” replies Roxie sarcastically.
“I want to. I should have told you straight away. I should have told Poppy to go stick her party.”
“Then why didn’t you?” asks Roxie.
“I don’t know,” I lie cowardly not wanting the dirty truth to come out.
“Poppy is your friend, not mine, you should go,” said Roxie, the anger subsiding.
“No, Poppy is OUR friend, or at least that is what I thought. You are my best friend and friends don’t treat each other the way I have treated you. I’m so sorry Roxie, I really mean it. I hate that I have hurt you.”
When Roxie allows me to embrace her, to show her how much I care and how I regret the way I treated her, I know she has forgiven me. Roxie needs the hug as much as I do, as we hug for a long time, both showing the same intensity. Our friendship went to a new level of trust and respect. This is the kind of friendship most people wish for and I am lucky to have mine right next door.
“I’m going to tell Poppy that I can’t come to her party,” I state without pretence, allowing Roxie to see how serious I am to prove to her I am sorry.
“She will ask why! What are you going to say?”
“I will tell her the truth. I will say that I don’t like the way she is treating you and if you can’t come then I don’t want to come either.”
“I don’t want to go anywhere I am not wanted Alexx. She didn’t invite me for a reason, so even if she says she will invite me, I don’t want to go,” says Roxie.
“That’s cool, I don’t want to go myself now anyway,” I respond realising the damage I am about to create.
- “Keeping Secrets” – Chapter 1 (ourparallelconnection.com)
- “Keeping Secrets” – Chapter 2 (ourparallelconnection.com)
- “Keeping Secrets” – Chapter 3 (ourparallelconnection.com)
- “Keeping Secrets” – Ch4 – Opening up the box of secrets (ourparallelconnection.com)
- “Keeping Secrets” – Ch.5 – The Secret Party (ourparallelconnection.com)
- “Keeping Secrets” – Ch.6 – ‘Mum’s Help’ (ourparallelconnection.com)