Heartbreaks and Friendships
Leah’s POV :
You know the feeling of heartbreak - the one where you feel betrayed and worthless, that nerve wrecking, earth shattering pain you feel, as if something’s breaking inside of you?
Well, that’s exactly how I was feeling right now.
There’s no noise, no sound, no screaming, none whatsoever. There’s just that process of breaking and then, within a matter of seconds, there’s a debris of your heart and soul, lying ruined and tattered and miserable in front of you - in pieces. In pieces you can’t seem to fix. You don’t even get to realize what’s happening until it has happened. And all that happens within just a matter of seconds.
The aftermath of the process of your wreckage is worse. One minute you’re breaking, the next you’re seeing the collapse of your broken self without any power to undo it, although you desperately wished you could. But after that - the moment you start being numb - that after effect is just so much worse.
Truthfully, every heartbreak’s pain lasts just for a few seconds, a few minutes in some cases. Everything after that is just numbness preventing you to feel the pain, that ignorant bastard heart. It’s not a good thing, however, because it doesn’t just stop you from feeling that pain but just about everything you should and you could. There’s nothing left anymore and you’re just an ice statue - cold and rigid - until someone pities you enough (or was it love?) to melt away your pain.
I had the privilege of feeling that pain soon followed by numbness not once but twice in my life. Yeah, lucky me. Losing Sean Cooper - my boyfriend since eighth grade was the second. The first one was when I lost my best friend to someone else too.
Ronnie Wilde and Leah Carmen were almost diaper buddies - inseparable, more attached to each other than Siamese twins. Yeah, that’s what I used to think.
I remember it till this day when I had first met Ronnie. It was on my fourth birthday. I had wanted a huge human sized teddy bear that I could snuggle into while sleeping as I had seen little girls do in the movies and had wanted it for myself too. I had even thought of a funny name to give to my bear - Mr. Bearymore. I was just too much excited and the first thing I remember doing that day after my favorite breakfast of chocolate pancakes was being taken to a nearby mall to get me whatever I had wanted.
It was just Mom and me, dad was busy cooking delicious food and baking my favorite choco-strawberry cake for me along with Grant. I had actually wanted them to come along too but the idea of receiving yummy cake when I get back home from shopping was worth leaving him at home.
I was always a wild child, always running off to wherever I wanted never thinking twice of the consequences. So as soon as the car was parked, I jumped out and ran inside the mall to the second floor where I remembered the toy shop to be - where I had seen my dream Mr. Bearymore. When I reached the last isle where I remembered the human sized bears were kept, I saw there was only one snow white teddy, largest of them all. And there was a girl in brown pigtails who was grinning widely, holding out her small hands to try and reach to it and grab it.
My heart sank because it was love at first sight and seeing the Teddy you fell in love with already belonging to someone else was as heartbreaking as it could get for a four year old girl. Now as I thought about it, that should be listed off as my first heartbreak.
Tears pooled in my eyes and my lower lip was protruded out, quivering - that’s what I did naturally when extremely sad and trying to stop myself from crying.
I turned around, ready to dash off, to run far away from my first heartbreak when I collided with my mom’s legs. The moment she saw me, she knew something was very wrong. Looking behind me, she saw that same cute girl, a little smaller in height than me, still jumping, trying to reach my Mr. Bearymore. She must have thought that I was involved in a fight with that girl which had caused me to cry.
“What’s the matter, honey?” She asked crouching in front of me.
I hastily wiped my tears away, not realizing they had fallen. “Mr. Bearymore.” I hiccuped pointing at that snow white teddy that was now in the girl’s arms, thanks to her mother who had now come to help her.
Mom pouted sadly, sharing my pain. “Oh, we’ll just get another one, love. Don’t cry. There are so many beautiful teddy bears out here.”
My tears were out of control now as the feeling of Mr. Bearymore actually going away with another girl registered in my heart. I shook my head, sending my golden blonde curly pigtails waving in air as more tears flowed. “Mr. Bearymore.” I cried as I hid my face behind my palm.
“Mommy, why is that little girl crying?” The brown pigtail girl asked her mother.
“I don’t know baby.” Her mother said sadly, probably sharing a sad and understanding look with my mother.
“Why are you crying?” I felt her small hands on my shoulder that was still shaking from hiccups and crying. I shook my head, not wanting to tell her that she stole my dream teddy, my first and only true love in the four years of life that I had lived.
“It’s her birthday today.” I heard my mom’s voice, probably telling the other girl’s mom or maybe explaining to the girl herself, my reasons for crying. “She wanted a huge, life size Teddy but the one she liked was the same one your daughter picked.” Definitely the mother’s talking.
“Oh, I’m so sorry about that, dear. But it’s your birthday, you shouldn’t cry. A lovely girl like you shouldn’t cry.” That girl’s mother said in soothing pleasant voice but no sweetness could heal my broke heart.
“It’s your birthday?” The little girl asked me in a soft voice.
I nodded, not showing my face to any of them still.
“I’ll get you another teddy, baby. Even two if you want. Whichever you say.” Mom offered.
I removed my head from between my hands and looked up at her with my tear stained face. The offer was tempting but I hadn’t thought of two names. I frowned at the dilemma. And I loved Mr. Bearymore too.
“Here.” The girl said beside me, extending her hands to offer me that teddy, my first love. I looked up at her in confusion. “It’s not my birthday. I can buy this the next time mommy brings me to the mall. But since it’s your birthday, I’d gift this to you this time.” She said smiling widely.
I was even more confused. “Why would you give me a gift? We are not friends and only friends give each other gifts.”
She looked down sadly for a while but then she looked up and her eyes were lit with excitement. “So let’s be friends. Will you be my friend? Then I can give you a gift, right?”
My eyes lit up too, because of two things. One, I will get my Mr. Bearymore and two, I’ll get a friend, my first friend other than my cousins or my older brother Grant. “Really?” I asked to make sure she was sure about this.
She nodded her head, her pigtails following the course and her grin widening at the prospect of maybe getting a new friend too because I don’t think I’d be happy if I had to give away Mr. Bearymore like she did. “Yes.”
I smiled and wiped my tears and my snotty nose. Then I extended my other hand out for a shake to seal the deal. “I’m Leah.”
“I’m Ronnie.” She took my hands and shook it. “Happy Birthday Leah.” She said as she extended her arms and gave me the very first gift of my fourth birthday. Two actually, Mr. Bearymore and herself as a friend who’d later become my best friend, I just knew it.
“Thank you!” I exclaimed and hugged her giggling. Mom paid for the teddy but for me, it was still a gift from Ronnie, my friend. I was not an adult to deny the offer and tell her to keep it so I accepted it. While Mom did some more shopping with Ronnie’s mom, Ronnie and I sat inside the Pizzeria in the mall and talked about everything two four year girls could.
My mom was apprehensive about leaving me alone with another kid just my age but Ronnie’s mom convinced mine that Ronnie was a responsible child. I was a wild child, always running off, but that was the first time I actually sat in one place and talked my heart out.
I also managed to convince Ronnie play one round of tag with me around the pizzeria and then we were back at our seats talking before our mother’s came back. Basically, she had managed to calm my wild side for some hours and I had managed to bring out her wild side for the same.
Later, when I reached home, I had ran off again as soon as the car stopped right into the kitchen and into dad’s arms. “Dad!” I exclaimed.
“Princess!” He imitated my voice and picked me up as I ran into his arms, tickling me a little.
“Do you know what I did today?” I asked, desperate and excited to share the wonderful news I had.
“What did my baby do today?” He asked genuinely interested, seating me on the counter beside him where he worked on lasagna.
“I made a new friend, daddy! A new friend. Her name is Ronnie and she is a little smaller than me but she is my friend.” I told him, my eyes laced with excitement.
“Oh. You did.” He looked at mom for confirmation and she nodded with a smile.
“Yes! She even gave me a gift, daddy. Mr. Bearymore. She is so amazing. She also likes Rapunzel, you know. That is her first favorite Disney movie. But she likes Belle more than Cinderella. Cinderella is my number two favorite princess. And she has two Ken dolls and she will bring them tonight to play with me. I invited her for my birthday daddy, oh, I have so much to prepare.” I said and jumped the counter, not caring about the distance, though it wasn’t much.
I ran all around the house, preparing my dress for the evening, setting up all my games and dolls together. I even cleaned my room and placed Mr. Bearymore in the middle of my bed. Just like that, all my attention went from Mr. Bearymore, my first love to Ronnie, my first friend, best friend and it was all about her since then. She always came first.
We were stuck with each other all the time except for when we were forced by our parents to stay at our respective places. I would make her life full of adventure and she’d help me with homework and studies. We were opposites in every way but we completed each other.
I laugh humorlessly at those bittersweet memories as the tears continued to flow. It’s almost the same as that day today. It’s my birthday again and I was excited for this day, I’m turning eighteen, so why not? It’s the same as that day, as I again ran off as soon as I exited my car towards the school hallways where my best friend would be waiting for me to greet me like always and the gush about the plans I had today.
It was the same when I saw her with him, my second first love in human form, not reaching out for him this time but him already in her arms. It’s the same way my heart broke the last time, leaving me numb in just a matter of seconds but this time, I felt utterly betrayed.
It’s the same way that I turned around to dash off but this time, there was no mom to collide into me and stop me from running away and ask me what’s wrong when I cried. It was all me, alone this time. So I ran because I didn’t have the courage to stop. I ran until I found myself in an isolation.
I don’t know what had happened. I don’t know what had went wrong, what I had done wrong but one day, I came to a sudden realization in eighth grade that Ronnie didn’t come to my place anymore. She didn’t sit with me at lunch. She had a new friend now, Carol. I heard that that they were best friends. And I thought that I was the only one privileged to that title.
I didn’t even realize when I lost my best friend to someone else just like this time when I didn’t realize when I lost my boyfriend to someone else. I just happened to witness both my losses in someone else’s court to know that I had lost.
As I recall those memories here, sitting inside this small, smelly cubicle of this washroom, tears still flowing the same as they did years ago on that day in the mall when I saw Ronnie taking away my first love. The only difference being that this time, my first love is an actual human, the boy I have loved for as long as I could remember and she has no intention of returning him to me.