Booty Call(2)By: Amy Brent
It took me a long time to process what had gone down that day, even after he moved all his stuff from the apartment and left me there in the hollow shell of what had been our life together. On the day that he had moved out – and moved in with her at once, I might add, just in case he was worried about my injury going uninsulted – I got the call that I had landed this volunteer position at Helios Industries. It wasn’t much, but it as the tiny glimmer of hope that I’d needed to keep my shit together and hold back from going to pieces the first chance I got. I redecorated the apartment with the last of the rent he’d given me out of guilt before he’d left, trying to turn the place into something a little bit more my own, and had tried to pretend that none of this was happening and that I could actually get through the next month of volunteering without too much trouble. I was lying to myself, it turned out, but then everyone seemed to be doing that recently so what was the big deal?
The first few days on the job had actually been a welcome relief to sitting around my apartment and going to classes all day. I felt as though everyone knew what had happened, that everyone was talking about me. I knew that I was just being paranoid, until I overheard a couple of girls from one of my classes in a coffee shop discussing what had happened, talking about what an asshole he was – even though they were on my side it didn’t do much to assuage the deep unhappiness that had permeated my system by then, my entire body feeling as though it had been filled to the brim and then some. I hurried back to my apartment and bawled in the kitchen for an hour as I tried to make sense of everything that had happened the last few weeks. I hated this. I hated myself for letting it get to me so much. I hated him, but I knew that if I could have gone back to how things were, when I was oblivious, I would have taken all of it back in an instant. And that’s what I hated most of all, that I was a fucking pushover deep in my soul.
So I threw myself at the position when I started it, glad that no-one knew a thing about be or the bullshit that I’d been forcibly dragged through. It was a relief to come to a place where no-one looked at me with this sad sympathy in their eyes, as though they had been there or were worried that one day they might be. And, despite my occasional crying jags in the bathrooms, I was actually doing a pretty good job at holding myself all the way together despite how bullshit I felt about all of this.
I was working in the charity department, helping them set up a couple of events and crunching the numbers for them when they were done – it wasn’t precisely what I’d got my marketing degree to do, but it was a great experience to work with people who were passionate and driven and at the top of their game. It would look killer on my CV.
I reminded myself of that as I got to my feet and wiped the last few drops of my tears away. This was going to boost my career in a way I could never have come close to without it. That was worth it, right? Worth all of it?
I looked at myself in the mirror, at my slightly red-rimmed eyes; I pulled down a few strands of hair from the tight ponytail I had made at the top of my head in the hopes of distracted from the fact that I’d clearly been crying, and washed my hands and touched up my lipstick as best I could. I could do this. I brushed down the skirt-suit I’d picked up a few weeks ago as a reward for getting this position in the first place, nodded, and then headed back to my desk. Freda was waiting there for me. She frowned when I emerged from the bathroom.
“You alright?” She asked gently, and I felt another wave of emotions bubble up inside me. I was on the brink of just breaking down and telling her everything, all about my shitty boyfriend and the cheating and the lying and the fact that the whole of my university seemed to know about it. But instead, I plastered a big smile on my face and looked up at her expectantly.
“Yeah, I’m great,” I replied. “Just some allergies, I think, nothing to worry about. What is it you need me for again?”
“I need you to take these up to the man upstairs,” she lifted her eyes skyward, and I felt my heart skip a beat.
“Trust me, you should just call him Nate”, she waved a hand. “Anything else makes him feel old.”