Chapter 14- You've Changed
I snuck out from under the covers and left a sleeping Anna hogging all the blankets. Anna is one of the worst people to share a bed with; I had pain in places I didn’t know could hurt. I head downstairs and into the kitchen to make myself a cup of tea. I turned the corner from the dining room into the kitchen to see Maya perched on a stool.
I knew were going to have to eventually talk but let’s just say, I didn’t know how healthy conversations at three in the morning could be considered I knew what was coming. We hadn’t talked since before she...
She put me in an uncomfortable situation to lie for her; she knew I hated lying and then she boned my boyfriend. She spun around in the chair idly, oblivious that I was standing behind her. I swallowed hard as if preparing myself to turn around and leave but my feet stood planted on the kitchen floor.
Lord help me.
Maya pivoted on the stool, this time a little too far and she noticed my presence. I walked in as if I hadn’t been standing there until she finished her tea. “Couldn’t sleep?”
I shook my head, taking a seat near her, a stool away, “No. Anna does kung fu in her sleep.”
She snorted, “And you don’t?”
“Hey, I grew that out.”
The kitchen went silent. I glanced at her, her palms cupping the blue ceramic of the warm mug. I took the time to examine her. Maya looked different. She didn’t fit her clothes well anymore, her oversized hoodie hung loosely off her body and those cosy pants mom gifted her swallowed her lower half. It may have been rude to think this but Maya looked sick. “Want some?”
Something was wrong.
How did I not see it before?
Yeah, that’s right. I avoided looking at her the whole time. Eye contact meant I had to think about what she did, and I would have rather not.
I didn’t answer, preoccupied with my thoughts, I adjusted my glasses, pushing them up on the bridge of my nose. I stared at the cup, deciding if I should let her make me some. “It’s chamomile,” she sighed. I knew she wasn’t going to poison me.
I nodded, “Yeah, some tea would be nice.”
She hopped off the stool. Strolled over to the cupboard, and grabbed my favourite mug. Her eyes were swollen and red, her lips chapped and I almost hadn’t noticed her severely bitten nails. I watched her wordlessly.
Something was wrong, something was definitely wrong.
Her hands shook as she poured some water into the kettle. She placed the kettle on the stove and almost as if searching for comfort, she reached over for the familiar warm ceramic. The sound of the ceramic mug being drawn on the counter toward her was the only echo in the whole house. The heavy winds that forced the trees into an unwilling dance drew my attention, I glimpsed as the shadow in the window changed with the swaying of the tree’s branches. Silence bounced off the humble walls of my childhood home and I struggled with Maya’s uneasy glances at me as she sipped her tea.
The kettle sang, piercing the thick blanket of silence covering the kitchen like a fog. Maya poured the water into my mug, the sound of an anxious pour as her dominant left shook.
I didn’t feel anger toward Maya... at least not anymore. I couldn’t tell if it was because she gave it up to the likes of Xavier or because the lies were gnawing her from the inside out. Whatever it was, I couldn’t bring myself to hate her, to be angry, the fading rose-coloured glasses that were as veils upon my eyes, wouldn’t let me, too much of a powerful wind had extinguished it.
She placed the hot cup of tea in front of me and for a quick moment, I could see the extent of damage to her nails, bitten till red and inflamed, a nervous habit that helped her relax. It didn’t look like it was helping. She stood, leaning over the island across from me, “Thanks,” I muttered.
She nodded. I pulled the robe closer around my body as I prepared for the deafness that was silence once more. I sipped my tea. I sighed into the mug, breathing in the warmth. Maya fumbled with the mug, turning the mug in her hands like she couldn’t hold it comfortably. Then she started nibbling at them. I brought my face closer to the steam of the tea and inhaled the soothing liquid.
“Why haven’t you confronted me?”
I looked up at her, her eyes were wide, her brows furrowed and her lips pursed. I swallowed the tea as I was in mid-sip. “I saw it and heard it happen. I didn’t need to ask to know it happened.”
“Aren’t you mad?”
“At first yeah, I mean how could I not be? But what’s the use? It won't change anything and being angry is exhausting.”
“And you don’t hate me?”
I shook my head, “What will that achieve? Besides, I get why you didn’t say anything, how do you tell your sister you fucked her boyfriend.”
She grimaced at the curse word and nodded as if accepting that it was warranted, “We were drunk, he said you guys broke up and I wasn’t thinking straight.” She breathed, “Mac, I’m s-”
She looked at me, mouth ajar and swollen eyes wide, I took another sip of the tea but when I felt her eyes on me I was tempted to explain myself, “Maya, I don’t trust you. I really don’t.” I shrugged, “I could argue that everything you said up until this point is an excuse but I won’t because it is what happened, right? I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt that you won’t lie to me twice about this. You messed up, you know what you did and you don’t feel good about it. That’s all I need to know.”
“You can tell?”
I nodded, “Stop biting them. I’m not angry and I don’t hate you, so stop.”
She tucked her hands into the pockets of her hoodie, I saw the shame in her eyes that were avoiding my gaze. I groaned and rolled my eyes getting up from the stool, went over to the fridge and grabbed a bowl and a single lemon. I cut the lemon and headed out of the kitchen, “Come.”
She stood there, looking at me as if something unusual was happening. She hadn't moved. Upon realising this, I huffed a sigh, spun around grabbed her arm and pulled her along.
We went upstairs and headed for the bathroom that we shared, and motioned for her to sit on the toilet. She did and watched me as I filled the bowl with warm water before squeezing the lemon into it. “Put your hands in.”
Knowing the question she was mentally asking, I answered, “It’ll help.”
She gave in and put her hand in while I scoured through the medicine cabinet looking for the antibiotic. I heard her sigh of relief, “I told you it would help.”
Minutes passed in a comfortable quietness, I patted her hand dry and gently applied some ointment. “Give it a couple of days, it’ll heal.”
Her lips tugged themselves into a thoughtful smile as she looked her fingers over, “Maybe you should become a doctor instead.”
“I will be.”
“You know what I mean, a medical doctor.”
“I don’t know if mom and dad could handle those expenses. Besides, this is a close second.”
I could feel the things that were unsaid wafting around in the air.
“Are you okay?”
The silent fog that swallowed every sound flooded in. It froze time. The possible response to my question made a tense uneasiness creep up my neck. She fiddled with her hands, rubbing them together as if the antibiotic wasn’t spread evenly on her hands.
Like a drop of rain, I saw a single drop of tear turn her light grey fuzzy pants dark in one spot. Then another and another and another. I kneeled to look at her and when she finally met my eyes, hers were filled to the brim, “No one’s asked me that.”
I hugged her and whispered, "It's okay to not be okay. Whatever it is, I'm here when you're ready.”
She wrapped her arms around my torso and rest her head on my shoulder, she sobbed out, “You’ve changed.”
My lips did something involuntarily and with a slight chuckle, I gave in, “Yeah, college does that to you.”
To be continued.