CHAPTER TWENTY THREE
“Mom. Mom, will you please stop crying. I am fine! Look at me. I’m fine,” I talk to my family through a video call.
“No. We’re flying over right now,” My mom sobs on the screen with a tissue in her hands. Her face is red and teary.
“Mom, please don’t do that. You don’t need to do that. Will you calm down please? I am absolutely fine,” I plead, but she still cries. “Mom. Stop crying mom. Can you stop. Mom stop. Can you please put Dad back on?” I get frustrated. “Dad, I am fine,” I tell my Dad, who is concerned but so much calmer.
“Are you sure you are okay? Because if you want, we can come right now?” he says.
“I am really really okay, please don’t cancel anything and come here. I will come home in the summer anyway. You can come and get me yourself. I have a lot of studying and stuff to do right now. There’s just a few weeks to go. Okay?”
“Okay. But if you need anything, you call me straight away. Do you hear me? Straight away. I know your friends are taking good care of you.”
“Yes they are,” I look at them all lined around the room.
“Take care. Love you.”
“Love you too. Love you Mom,” I say before ending the call. I let out a sigh and point at Jen, “You told my parents!”
“Well, they had to know,” she defends herself. “Are you okay Kye?” she sits next to me.
I reflect on what has happened, “I actually am, I feel fine, I’m a little shocked at being here but I’m fine, honestly guys don’t worry. I’m glad to be alive put it that way. Everything was just a blur. I saw a flash of lights and then that’s it, I was out. Oh but I do remember pain!”
“Sorry,” Marcus says giggles.
“Kye, do you know who did this?” Brian asks.
I think hard, “No, I have no idea. It just went so fast.”
“Don’t strain yourself, it’ll come to you. Anyway, I bought you your favorite flowers,” Lia points at the colorful bunch of gerberas on the side table. “I couldn’t find anything acting related.”
“Thanks Li, now you’ve got the investigation you always wanted.”
“The university and the police are investigating, we’ve all spoken to them, and they’ll speak to you soon. A case has already been opened,” Rio explains. “We’re just glad you’re okay.”
“Yeah Kye, we’re happy you’re back. Now you have another story to write,” Deq grins.
I laugh too and shake my head at the poor humor. The doctor walks in with a few papers in his hand.
“Kyara, I’m Dr. Singh. How are you feeling?”
“A lot better, thanks,” I reply.
“Good. It’s all thanks to your friends, Dr. Marcus in particular for his quick thinking. He saved you a lot of blood loss and ultimately your leg.”
Marcus as humble as ever, “Nah, Jen stopped the bleeding first. I was just doing my duty Doc.”
I am so grateful for the people around me right now. I love each and every one. If it wasn’t for them I may not even be here right now. God, thank you for such loving friendships. Dr. Singh tells me a bit about my injuries and wounds. I have scratches and cuts on my hands and arms and a bruise on my jaw. Then a nurse walks in interrupting him, she holds two crutches and smiles at me. My body turns cold. Are they for me? Now I feel ill. Since I regained consciousness I didn’t realize that my right leg had been raised beneath the covers. Now I am aware that I can’t move it, I actually can’t even feel it! I slowly move my hand discretely under the blanket to check if it’s there. Thank God, it is. I probably just need some support for a few days. I calm myself and wait for the doctor to explain, I still don’t know what is actually wrong with my leg.
“Further to those minor injuries you have suffered an open fracture to your leg, Kyara. This means that at the time of your bone breaking, it protruded through the skin slightly, which is why there was a lot of bleeding,” he looks at Marcus and then back at me. “You are very lucky Kyara, these type of fractures are usually more complicated but in your case we have managed to successfully realign the bone and it will fully recover.”
I take a deep sigh of relief and nod at Dr. Singh. It still hasn’t hit me yet that I was involved in a car accident and that I have broken my leg. I am pleased that it will recover, but I’m still scared for some reason. I’m anxious. I’ve never been in a hospital before, not for myself.
“You will need the assistance of crutches to walk…”
I saw that coming.
“…As your leg is currently in a cast…”
Oddly, I didn’t see that coming. My heart rate increases.
“…The recovery time is expected to be around eight to ten weeks and you will need the crutches for approximately four to six weeks-”
“What?” I interrupt him. That, I definitely did not see coming. “Four to six weeks!” My thoughts switch from my present situation to the future. I panic and sit up straight. There’s only one thing on my mind right now - my call back audition. My lips begin to tremble as I try to get some words out but I don’t know what to say. My hands quiver as I reach for the sheet that covers me, I take it off and see my leg wrapped in a white cast. I take my left leg off the bed and then I try to move my right. It’s heavy and numb. Dr. Singh is confused by my actions as is everyone in the room. He steadies me. Tears fill my entire head and face, I try to hold them back. I angrily lift my right leg with all the power I have in both my hands and shove it off the bed in grief. “No no no, I need to walk,” I speak in a state of confusion and disbelief as I urge myself to stand up on both feet, but my leg gives way, it’s so numb, that it’s painful. I collapse into the doctor’s and nurse’s arms. Brian is nearest to the bed, he leaps next to me and holds my hands back. I can’t bear to look at anyone, I feel them close by and worried.
“Kye. What are you doing?” Brian asks as he helps me sit down.
“I need to walk,” I reply holding back my waterworks, looking down at the ground. I don’t know how to tell the doctor, they never take acting seriously and I am not in any mood right now to hear that it is not important. I’ve worked so hard to get to this stage of the audition.
Dr. Singh tries to reassure me, “Kyara, are you okay?” He pauses. “Look, I understand this is a lot to take-”
“Eight to ten weeks?” I question, my voice is low from the lump of sorrow at the back of my throat.
Dr. Singh looks at me and I look at my friends, who all know exactly what I am thinking about.
“I can’t…I can’t wait that long,” I tell him with my voice trembling. “You have to do something please.”
“Kyara, your leg will fully recover. Don’t worry about it. It’ll just take time,” Dr. Singh tries to uplift me, but he’s missing the point.
“No, you don’t understand. I…I have an audition, a callback for a big movie in two weeks and I need to be able to move well for it. Please,” I beg, my bottom lip trembles.
Dr. Singh, takes a moment, he is sympathetic and looks directly into my eyes, “Recovery time can vary hugely. It might be that you recover much quicker than we anticipate. This depends on your body. However, I have to be honest with you, Kyara, I doubt it will fully recover in two weeks. You may be off the crutches but it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to walk normally in just two weeks. I am very sorry. Try and get it postponed or tell them it will take time. I would be more than happy to provide you with a doctor’s note with all the necessary details. If there’s anything I can do to help, then I will, okay?”
I swallow hard and force a nod because words are not coming out of my mouth.
“I’ll leave you to rest now. Just try not to stress about it. I’ll see you later,” he places his hand on my shoulder and leaves.
The nurse comes my way to settle me back down in the hospital bed but Marcus politely tells her that he’ll manage. We wait until she leaves the room and the door closes. I feel everyone coming closer. They’re all silent. I can’t open my mouth because if I do, I’ll cry. I can feel my eyes heavy with tears, red and watery. I see Jen, she feels my pain so much, that she is just as lost for words as I am. Brian wraps his arm around me and Rio sits beside me. He takes my hand.
“Kye-” he begins.
“It’s okay,” I quickly say, I don’t want them to feel bad or sympathetic. I act strong, “I mean, it can’t happen now, it’s no one’s fault.” I find myself smiling out of pity, I laugh a little too in the midst of my sorrow, but I’m not acting. I’m lying. “It’s just meant to be…I’m okay...” Tears drip from my eyes, as much as I try, this is something I can’t act or lie about. “I’m okay...” I squeeze out of my throat before covering my face with both my hands and wiping my tears as they uncontrollably pour from my eyes. “Sorry,” I whisper crying, shake my head in my hands hiding my wet, red, veiny face, apologizing for nothing.
“Oh Kye,” Jen kneels in front of me with tears rolling down her face too, “It’ll be fine. You can still go to the callback.”
I shake my head still weeping as quietly as possible in my hands. I inhale with shuddering breaths. “They won’t take me.”
“You don’t know that,” Lia joins Rio’s side.
I wipe more tears from my face and try to speak, but if I open my mouth I’ll choke on my words. My tears won’t stop, not today.
Rio places his hand on my back, “Let it out Kye. Let it out.”
* * *
I’m discharged a few days later. It feels good to be back at home although the stairs are a killer! The accommodation staff offered me a place on the ground floor but I wouldn’t be with the guys and Jen, and I need them more than ever right now. My eyes are still swollen from crying, I don’t think I’ve ever cried so much in my life but I’m happy to be back and I’m grateful for my life even though I’ve questioned it. After much discussion with Jen, Lia and the boys, I have decided that I will go to the callback and I will try everything I possibly can. I pray to recover sooner. Who knows, they might still like me. They liked me before, what difference is a broken leg for a few weeks going to make? I even got the wink!
The past week has been busy with the lawyers, police and Lia all trying to find out who hit me with the car. All I can remember is that the car was white and it may have been really far from me when I thought it was safe to cross. It was my right of way anyway. So the police think it was a hit and run or worse… an attempted murder. I, on the other hand really wish it was just an accident. Lia has her own investigations going on. She already has a suspect – Betty Johnson. And as much as I hate to admit it, she has been acting very strange lately. She’s avoiding me and where she would usually say something to me or at least confront me, now she acts like I’m not even there. Knowing her and her followers, Maya and Ellen, they would definitely have something to say about my crutches but none of them have. What makes it even stranger is that Abbey was acting really weird when she asked me what happened to my leg. She made it super quick and then disappeared. After all this and Lia constantly suspecting Betty and her friends I seem to have remembered something from the accident. When I was hit, I didn’t pass out right away. I seem to remember seeing a blonde girl driving and an even brighter blonde in the back window. I also seem to remember the car awkwardly breaking, jerking and swerving after it hit me. However, this could all just be in my imagination. With everything going on, I can’t distinguish whether this is what I really saw on the night or whether my brain is just making it all up, I mean I did have concussion. The one thing I don’t remember is the registration which would be the biggest help. Honestly though, I don’t think Betty could do such a thing. Yes, she’s mean, jealous, big headed and just an idiot but she’s not criminal minded.
“Hey, how are you doing Kye?” Lia enters the living room in a hurry.
“I’m good,” I say sitting with my colorfully signed casted leg raised on the table, studying for examinations.
“I’ve been speaking to your lawyers – thanks for appointing me by the way this is really going to help my profile – apparently the police are suspecting Betty too! She is acting very peculiar from gossip around campus and she has a white car, which, seems to have disappeared for the past week and Maya apparently is ill and has gone home!”
“How do you know all this stuff?” Jen asks.
“I know a lot of people from different courses and word gets around quick,” she replies.
“The police are suspecting Betty?” I ask. I am worried, I really don’t want it to be her, I can’t imagine it being her, or can I? But everything is leading towards her and no matter how much I wish that she didn’t do it, even I am beginning to think that she might have.
“Yep. They are going to interrogate her soon I think.” Lia nods.
“I still can’t believe this has happened,” Jen articulates.
“Me neither, but it’ll all be fine Kye, you just recover soon. Leave the criminal catching to me,” she winks. “Anyway, I have to go to Deq’s quickly and then I have a lot of reading to do, so I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Lia leaves and Jen sits on the floor with her goggles on, testing something from her project, “I never imagined Betty would stoop so low. I know I shouldn’t say anything yet, because we don’t know for sure, but if she did this, then…then I have no words. I mean, is it because of the audition? Or that she just doesn’t like you? Like how? How can you hit someone with a car?”
“I don’t know, but if it was her, I’m sure she was not thinking right. She was probably having a bad day,” I say.
“A bad day? A bad day, Kye!” Jen stops, takes off her goggles and looks at me. “Why are you always thinking about other people’s thoughts and feelings and their reasons for when and why they do stuff? Especially bad stuff!”
“You know what I mean. She couldn’t have done it for fun,” I respond.
“I don’t care what her stupid reason could have been. Running someone over is unacceptable no matter how someone is feeling. I swear if it is her, I will…” she mumbles the rest in anger and then puts her goggles back on and carries on working.
I stay silent. She is right. It is unacceptable. And if it is her or whoever it is, I know I’ll feel angry. I’ll be hurt to find out that someone did this on purpose. This might cost me my audition and that’s what would upset me the most.
Jen turns back to face me after noticing that I haven’t spoken, she takes off her goggles again and leans on the table, “Are you okay, Kye?”
I smile at her and nod, “Yes. You know what Jen, this whole thing has given me a little bit of a new perspective. I don’t know if my perspective is better or worse but I think I’ve moved on from the whole accident thing. I just feel calmer, like what is going to happen in life, is going to happen in life. However, at the same time I want to recover quickly, prove that I am still suitable for that film and basically move on with my life. I want to move forward, be happy and achieve my goals. If I’m alive right now then I’m sure this whole thing happened for a reason, whatever that may be. I don’t know but God does. I just have a lot of faith and I hope God keeps it.”
“He will. He has to!” she says enthusiastically. “You are recovering quite quickly. You might even make it to the callback next week without any supports.”
“I’m just a little gutted that I can’t practice the physical stuff, I have to rely on the dialogue now, but yeah you’re right, all thanks to Dr. Marcus and you guys.”
It’s true, I am grateful to have them and we all help each other somehow; Jen and Rio are helping me with my exam studies, Brian is helping Jen with literature, Lia is solving a mystery, Deq is assisting her and Marcus is doing everything he can to help everyone including helping me recover quickly. I don’t know what we would do without each other. My health is improving quicker than I thought, I try to walk without the crutches as much as possible and I can (holding on to the walls or at least using one crutch). Marcus says it’s partially in my own hands. He says that I need to rest my leg and give it recovery time but also I must exercise it to strengthen the muscles.
“Alright, that is enough for today,” Jen puts down her tools. “Watch. That. Wire.” She points very specifically at a looped wire on the floor near the breakfast bar. “I can’t tuck it in anywhere because, well, I just can’t at the moment. It is connected to a lot of things. So watch it and tell the boys too.” She stands back and admires her work.
“Looks good,” I compliment.
“Damn right it looks good,” she smirks. “That is a lot of hard work right there.”
“Yes it is and I’m witness to the hard work. I’m really proud of you Jen.”
“I’m just glad it works! I hope it works on the presentation day too,” she crosses her fingers. “Right I’ll carry on tomorrow.”
* * *
It’s early in the morning. Jen is at Brian and Marcus’ asking Brian for some literature help. I stand at the breakfast bar it the kitchen crunching on a bowl of cereal. It just makes it easier because I don’t have to get up off the couch again when I’m done. I finish and wash up maneuvering around the kitchen holding onto the drawers and surfaces. There’s a knock at the door, which is weird because no one ever knocks, they just barge in.
“Come in!” I call waiting for a fresh face to appear as I find one of my crutches to help me to the edge of couch.
As I pass the archway, I see a familiar face, nervous and frightened. It’s Betty. I stop and stand still surprised by her appearance. This is strange. Why is she here? She also freezes when she sees me. In her hands she holds some fresh flowers. Her face is pale and looks smaller, she isn’t wearing any makeup. She actually is pretty, prettier without it. She wears a long, sad and slightly swollen face and is if her bad attitude that she carries is not with her today.
“Hey…” she forces a smile and then tries to find words, “…These are for you.”
I still stand motionless and anxious. She has never been to our apartment. How did she find out where I live? I say hi and then take an awkward step back letting her into the living room.
“I’ll just leave these here,” she places the flowers on the breakfast bar and then looks around. She fiddles with her hands awkwardly, “How are you, Kye?”
This is very strange. Her voice is soft and meaningful, there’s no sarcasm or bitchiness at all.
“I’m… okay. Thanks,” I respond trying to take a seat on the arm of the couch. My crutch falls on the floor.
“I’ll get it,” she bends down and picks it up, then unsure where to put it she leans it against the breakfast bar. Her mind is elsewhere.
I finally sit, “Betty, what are you doing here?” I ask trying to get rid of her quickly.
She sighs deeply and leans back against the bar. She huffs and puffs and then places her hands over her head in irritation, grief and anger. Her forehead wrinkles up and her eyes show…guilt.
“Kye I…” she starts to sob, “I…I’m so sorry. I didn’t do it on purpose. You know I would never even dream of doing…” Betty’s words come out faster than I can hear them. Her voice crackles from her crying and her cheeks flush red.
My eyes open wide. She did it! It was her! All kinds of emotions and questions take over me. Why did she do it? Why is she crying? Why is she telling me? Should I trust her being alone with her right now? She doesn’t seem like she’s come to harm me? I really was hoping she had nothing to do with this. I feel slightly scared but more annoyed, “What? Betty, you were driving the car?” I ask to clarify.
“Kye, I can’t believe that I... I don’t know what came over me,” she weeps at her own actions. I see signs of anger in her. She’s angry at herself, “You don’t understand! I can’t believe that I did something so stupid! With my own hands. These hands!” Her muscles are tense as she looks at her hands in shock and grits her teeth as she speaks. “I feel sick at my own actions, Kye! I’m…I’m sorry. I’m glad that you are okay. If something more happened, I wouldn’t be able to live with myself.”
I hear her guilt and the realism in her voice but what if something did happen? I wouldn’t be here. She attempted to – I can’t even say it.
“Why? Why!” I ask in anger raising my voice.
“I don’t know! I was intoxicated! I don’t know why!” she answers with tears rolling down her face. “I am a terrible person, I know.” She calms down and begins to explain, “All I ever wanted was to become a Hollywood actress. I studied it since school. I took part in every single play they put on. It was my career, my goal. And I was good at it. I was better than everyone else and I knew it. I never had any competition. In all my life, all that time that I have been working towards my dream, I never had any competitors. Then you came, a mere physics student who joined the drama society. The people like you, Sheera likes you, even my own friends like you. When I got that big audition I was so happy, Kye. I really felt like that was my time, but even the casting directors liked you better!” She is opening up and sharing her truth, her feelings. I’ve never seen that in Betty before, so I listen quietly. “I don’t understand Kye? Why do you study Physics? All I’ve ever worked for is acting and drama, my entire life. I want it so bad, Kye. So bad! I guess you know that feeling. And yes you are good. It’s not just that you’re good at acting and that people like you, it’s everything about you; your tanned skin, your long hair, your intelligence, you’re different, not the typical blonde girl,” she pauses and shakes her head sniffing her tears back. “I guess… that’s what came over me. I am so sorry Kye. I never meant to hurt anyone by my actions. Believe me, I hate myself for what I’ve done. I’m not here to ask for you to forgive me, because what I did is not forgivable, I know. And I’m not here to ask you to drop the case – I’ve already had a phone call from the police and I should suffer the consequences. I just came here to tell you the truth - it was me and I just had to tell you myself.” Betty pulls herself together and wipes her face ready to leave, “I really hope you get the role, Kye. I’m not going to the callback. Not after what I’ve done. I hope you recover quickly. And I hope your dreams do come true. You deserve it. Maybe we can be friends, when you’re in Hollywood and after I’ve done my time. ” she finishes with a wry but genuine expression and walks past me and into the hallway, I mildly laugh at her last sentence, it could partly be true.
“Betty,” I call her.
She stops still facing the other way.
“Go to the callback.”
She turns around and shakes her head in guilt and grief.
I reinforce my words, “Go for me. I need some competition. Please.”
She thinks for a moment and then gives me a sad smile, “I’ll see.” She walks out.
I take a deep loud breath and wipe my hands over my eyes. That was intense. My mind is muddled. It was Betty. Lia was right. It was Betty! She is such a complicated person under the thick coat of makeup. She’s similar to me – although I don’t think I could run someone over not matter how sad or intoxicated I was. However, when you’re upset sometimes your actions are wrong and crazy. That’s why people say, never take action when you’re upset because most of the time you end up doing the wrong thing and then you regret it. Betty expressed herself and opened up, she showed a different side, a side I never thought existed, a side that was covered up by her dream, the same as mine. After hearing her, I feel sorry for her. I am sorry that I took her limelight. That wasn’t my intention, I just wanted to fulfil my own dreams and I have been working towards acting since I was a child too, but she’s right, she has worked harder than me I suppose and more consistently. So understandably it would hurt her if someone takes over. I know Betty’s acting, she was all real there… that was her. She does feel guilty, she feels terrible, and I saw it in her eyes and heard it in her voice. The fact that she pleaded guilty herself and feels remorseful is good enough for me. Feeling true guilt is the biggest punishment of all. God, I don’t know what you’re planning up there, but at the end of the day all I came out with is a broken yet recoverable leg. If you can forgive, then who am I not to? I don’t agree with her running someone over, but I understand her pain and guilt. Somewhere in my heart I forgive her. People are not bad, it’s their circumstances that make them do bad things. I hope that one day we both become friends in Hollywood. She deserves a chance. I’ll drop the case.
With my thoughts coming to a close and my decisions made, I make an effort to get going and do some studying in my room. I look around for my crutches, the nearest one leans on the breakfast bar. I hop, holding on to the walls to get to it. My hand slides through the ring and I hold onto the handle. I lift the crutch to begin walking, but I hear a loud clang behind me. The crutch pulls back and crashes out of my hand. I hear loud clattering behind me. The project! I lose my balance as the crutch falls to the floor. My foot slips! I’m down on the ground with a clang. Pain shoots up my leg, through my spine and straight to my head. I let out a groan but the pain quickly vanishes when I see half of Jen’s project, smashed on the ground next to me. I hold my breath.
“What happened?” I hear Rio’s voice coming from the landing.
“Kye are you okay?” Jen runs in from the hallway followed by the boys.
Jen and Rio help me up.
Jen giggles at my clumsiness, “Kye, you need to be more -” she sees the disaster I caused behind me.
Jen lets go of my arm. Deq replaces her and slides a crutch under my arm. They all then stand back and gasp at the catastrophe. Jen’s face turns red, her veins can be seen in her forehead. She stares at the mess, breathing heavily.
Brian places his hand on her shoulder, “Jen-”
“No!” she shoves him off, still staring. Her eyes turn red and watery.
“Jen, I’m sorry, I just fell-”
“Don’t!” she shouts at me pointing her finger in my face. Her face rages with anger like I’ve never seen before. “Didn’t I tell you to watch the wire, Kye? You’ve ruined everything!” Tears drip from her fuming face.
My heart races. She is furious. She has put her heart and soul into this. She has worked day and night on this project and I have just gone and ruined half of it in seconds. It’s due in a few weeks! I feel sick. I feel like crying. How did this happen? How could I do this to Jen? I feel her wrath and this time she’s not joking, it’s not the funny kind of anger. This is serious.
“I didn’t mean to-”
“No no no Kye! Stop with the bullshit! Are you hurt?” she asks in fury.
“No…no I’m not,” I answer confused by the question.
“No? Then why did you do it, Kye? You could have fallen anywhere, anywhere!” she screams.
“Jen calm down,” Brian interrupts her sternly.
“No Brian! Kye, you know how much this means to me, how could you do this? It’s due in a few weeks! You smashed the whole damn thing!”
“Jen, it was an accident!” I shout back.
Cold, angry laughter emerges from her, “No! No, it wasn’t an accident. You did this Kye, I told you very clearly about that wire!” she sobs in anger. “Why did you go near it? Huh Kye? Why? When have I not supported you?”
“What?” I say defensively.
“Is that what this is Kye? Is it that I’m doing this project and you’re not? Can you not take it that I’ve made this?”
My brain freezes. Is this Jen? My Jen? What is happening right now?
“What are you saying Jen? It’s okay we’ll fix it,” Rio says in a calming tone.
“Fix it? Fix it?” she reaches for a piece of metal on the floor, “This took me weeks!” she chucks it back down. “She did this!” her fingers point at me. “People were right, you are jealous of me! You can’t take it that I’m actually succeeding with my dream and you’re struggling with yours! You can’t take it that I’m doing well in astrophysics! You can’t take it that I’m doing two subjects! I am really really sorry, Kye. I am sorry about your accident and your audition, but that wasn’t my fault! I supported you in everything! And this is what you do to me? In my final few weeks!” she shouts and cries as she speaks in frustration.
The whole world around me has turned. My body and mind is numb. I don’t know if this is really happening or if it’s a dream. If it is a dream, it’s a nightmare. How can Jen possibly even think like this? I don’t know what to say. I don’t know how to defend myself, its Jen, I never thought I would have to.
She wipes her tears and catches her breath, “I can’t believe you. This is despicable. Three years of friendship, dreams and having each others’ backs and this is how it ends?” Her voice softens but her tears are still hard. “I feel really betrayed Kye. You ruined everything. No callback, no project, no NASA! All of this was a mistake! This is over… it’s over,” she pushes past me nudging my shoulder.
Brian squeezes my hand quickly and then runs after Jen. I stand with my head spinning, holding back my tears of embarrassment. My cheeks shake and I purse my lips. Rio, Deq and Marcus slowly empty the room, leaving me to my disbelief. I’m wounded by what Jen has said. I thought she understood me. I thought I understood her. What is happening, God!?