My heels thudded hard on the pavement as I stormed away. In the movies, this would be the scene where The Papapapas’s Fashion Killa would be playing as the lead swayed her hips and flipped her dark hair. Her confidence would reverberate down the street and everyone would be turning their heads like the boyfriend in that meme everyone is so tragically obsessed with. But this was not the movies, in fact, this was far from it. My heart was racing as I questioned whether or not I’d done the right thing or I’d gone too far. Sure, Julie’s a bitch and she said insensitive shit, but did it warrant a drink in the face? I could’ve just told her she was a bitch and then gotten on with the rest of the night, but instead, the bitch is still in there and I’m the one fleeing the scene. It’s like giving the victim a school suspension instead of the instigator.
“Anna! What the fuck!?” I heard a deep voice behind me yell.
I picked up the pace on the slight downward slope of the street and in my heels I feared I was going to face-plant mid-Beyoncé strut in my half-assed Madonna Halloween costume. Oh, who am I kidding, my costume is awesome!
“Anna! Don’t pretend you can’t hear me!” he yelled closer. “Anna!”
“What!?” I stopped abruptly and pirouetted, head-banging into Jasper and we both staggered back, rubbing our foreheads. “Shit.” I scrunched my nose in reaction to the throbbing radiating my head.
“What the hell went on back there?”
“What? She got what she deserved.”
“Listen, all I know is that I turned around at one point and you’re throwing a drink into Julie’s face.”
“Oh, what do you care anyway? Suddenly she’s your girlfriend, now.”
“Don’t be so evasive.”
“Don’t be so stupid, then. You’re acting all high and mighty going after me because you think I did wrong without even knowing the full story.”
He scoffed breathlessly. “I wasn’t even accusing you of anything.”
“Then why don’t you go ask your girlfriend what happened.”
“And now you’re pissed off that she’s even my girlfriend,” he said when I started to turn away. “Great.”
I turned back. “No, I’m pissed off at her and her bitchy ways. I’m surprised people have taken her bullshit for so long. I’m so surprised, in fact, that someone like you is with someone like her and all you can say is that it’s ‘complicated’. Listen, I’m tired, I don’t want to argue with anyone anymore. I’m all out of drinks to throw—I’m unarmed—just leave me alone.”
I slumped my shoulders. I couldn’t feel more deflated. Jasper just stared at me and I didn’t know whether I should way for him to say something and then leave or just leave.
“Follow me.” He took my hand and led me to his car.
I jumped in without any resistance because I figured he was taking me home but we did a detour first and ended up at the mechanic.
“I don’t need my car fixed,” I said as a joke, pointedly. And I certainly didn’t want to see Nate. I just didn’t have the energy right now to be all cutsey or defensive depending on how he’d take the image of Jasper leading me into his childhood home.
We barely spoke as I trailed behind him upstairs and down the hallway. At the end of the hallway was a room with a door cracked open and I could hear voices. A woman with what sounded like a southern accent and a T.V. tuned on.
“This is why I can’t just give everything up so easily,” Jasper whispered. “Stay here.”
Jasper opened the door and strolled in lively. “Hey, how’s my favourite father doing?”
“Oh, Jasper, don’t tease,” the woman said, stringing sentences the length of a medical report with words so long and complex they were like a second language to me.
I peeked through the door and saw the braids of a dark-skinned woman in nursing scrubs jabbering away with Jasper as he flipped pages on a clipboard. An old man lounged in bed with IVs, a heart monitor and other beep-bops lying about. Super technical set-up. I was staring at the inside of a hospital.
“What are you supposed to be?” his father asked.
His father squinted. “What’s the difference?”
“No difference, dad, I just didn’t want to go all out.”
His father scrunched his nose disapprovingly. “Well, there’s always next year. By then you and Julie might be dressed as bride and groom?”
“How are you feeling?” Jasper asked avoiding the question, popping down on the side of his father’s bed. The nurse turned to the door and I had no idea whether or not she was supposed to see me. Jasper called after her and she stopped mid-way, giving me enough time to escape.
This whole time I thought the complication was a selfish indulgence or a particularity about Julie, but it turned out he just didn’t want to disappoint his father. Ugh, another guy with daddy issues. Am I just a magnet for men who are either exceptionally close or exceptionally distant from their fathers? Well, don’t I know how to pick them!
***Heya! Didn’t know if I should post all at once since I needed to catch up from Halloween of last year, but then I decided to just cut it up and post something now. Hope everyone is doing well and their new year is starting off great! I also posted on Samson&Delilah a few days ago. Soul xo***