Ditto

“How’s the straitjacket holding up?” Brad asked as he walked past me.

I craned my head up and glared at him. “I don’t know, how’s the devil worshipping holding up?”

He laughed. “Hey, you should be so grateful I stood up for you.”

I rolled my eyes and turned my attention to Noelle. “Whatever.”

“I still haven’t gotten that date and time set up for our lunch, you know.”

I scrunched my face as if sunlight hit my eyes. “And what makes you think we’re going to get anywhere?”

“Just chill. I wanted to make peace.”

I nudged my chin upwards. “Why don’t you run along before I make you into pieces?”

He laughed again, shaking his head and flopping his arms to his side. “Alright. I’ll see you later then.”

Out of range, I said, “Please don’t.”

“Man, he has it in for you,” Noelle said, tightening her lips.

“He’s so insane. I literally don’t know how to shake crazy off. It’s like I’ve caught a virus.”

Noelle threw her head back and laughed, a single rice inadvertently escaping her mouth. She threw her head forward to try and catch it but it was too late. It was all too funny to ignore though. We tried keeping our yammering to a minimum volume but after that we were starting to get a little too rowdy. Some girl even shushed us. Can you believe it!? It’s probably Stella.

“Let’s go into the break room,” Noelle suggested.

I followed her into the exclusive break room. It’s spacious and full of silver appliances; special attention to detail placed on the coffee machine and its relatives.

“So are you really still thinking about moving?” Noelle asked.

I nodded, stuffing my face with a spicy black bean and soy chicken. I chewed as quickly as possible so I could speak but ended up biting my tongue. I looked as insane as Brad is; twinsies!

“Why not?” I shrugged. “I think I’ll be better off somewhere else.”

“But we’re so going to miss you here,” she pouted.

I smiled, thankful that at least one person still liked me. “You’re so sweet.” I sighed. “I need to get out of here. The worse thing is to have a place suck the life out of you. I’m not saying this is a bad place to work, it’s actually one of the best places and I couldn’t have wished a better job, but it’s time for me to move on.”

“Please don’t tell me you’re moving because of someone else,” she rolled her eyes. I knew she was referring to Brad.

I shook my head. “It’s not that. It’s just time to move on.”

She giggled. “You sound like a line from Ghost.”

I cackled with her, my nose cinching as my cheeks rose and holding a palm an inch away from my mouth. “Ditto.”

Her laughed faded. “Anyway, got a job lined up already?” she spooned her rice.

“Yeah, next week, an interview.”

“Nervous?”

I breathed in, held it, and then out shakily. “Like it’s the first day of school.”

***

“Hey, Daniel?” I called once I entered the apartment.

Nope, no sign. Well, I had some time. Today, it was my time to cook and I was going to make all the sides in the world and somehow make it into a fulfilling meal. Cooking chicken isn’t hard—just season and shove it in the oven—but my proteins always come out looking like a dead, washed up crow. All proteins, except salmon.

‘Hey, when will you be home?’ I texted Daniel.

‘On my way now. Why?’

‘I’m making dinner.’ I added a smiley face. Daniel replied with a worried wide-eyed emoticon. ‘Heeeeeeyy….’ I said, sad face on end.

‘Lol no I’m sure it’s going to turn out amazing!’

I sent him a picture of a batter making a homerun with the caption ‘safe!’ underneath. In the same moment he said, ‘just keep the fire extinguisher handy and know your exists!’ Wink.

‘Lol.’ I groaned. I know this is all fun and games, and he’s just making fun, but it’s not an exaggeration. My cooking skills are weapons of mass destruction.

Anyway, enough about that. I decided to change in more comfortable attire so I headed straight for the bedroom, flipping through our letters. I found one written in cursive font. Confused, I slipped a finger and scratched the seal open.

White card. Embossed lettering. Continued cursive gold font. It practically hissed at me in hush tones. The kind where a mother is trying to school you when you’re in public but she can’t go apeshit because of the (stink) eyes. Those bitches got photographic memory and CPS on speed dial!

It proclaimed, rather proudly, an invite to Adam’s wedding. In it, another note was hidden and it started with, ‘dear Anna—’. I stopped right there and folded the piece of paper, stuffing both back into the envelope and opening my underwear draw. I bunched a fist full and shoved the letter underneath, pushing the draw back.

Frozen, I caressed the wood, shaking my head. Adam was like the ex-boyfriend you used to love but now it hurts to speak to; he was the best friend that never turned his back on me and, despite the both of us coming to a mutual understanding, I felt I turned my back on. I’ve never had a fight with someone I really cared about, and Adam was that guy. But could I even go to his wedding? All dolled up and strolling in? Really? And what about Daniel? I scoffed. As if he’d be happy Adam is still contacting me.

Despite it all, I do miss him. And every day I hate the fact that we’re not on speaking terms. Back to the old days in California. A simpler time. All friends; no complications.

Man, I’ve got to chill. Focus on bigger things like Daniel and a new job. First thing’s first, I’m chucking out all the bottles of alcohol. Let’s do this!

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