The light on her answering machine was blinking when Rory returned from grocery shopping that evening. Dropping her mail and shopping bags on the counter, she hit “play” and started to unpack, but the unexpected voice stopped her cold.
“I’m done waiting, Roar. That man you married is d-e-a-d and there’s no longer any excuse for your not calling me back, your oldest and dearest college chum. Come on, we know too much about each other to not be in touch! So pick up the darn phone and call me. Otherwise, Aurora Elise – yes I do remember your given names and have no problem using them – you will be subject to my continual harassment until you do. I have e-mail and cell phones and all sorts of technological ways to ferret your butt out of that cocoon you call a life!”
She hadn’t given up on her after all. When the message ended, Rory played it a second time. Then a third. Then she started to cry. To sob. Finally releasing every collected ounce of pain inflicted since the day she promised to love, honor, and obey.
Despite the silence between them, despite the fact that Rory had chosen Paul over her, she called and spoke with the same impudence that characterized her all those years ago when they were freshmen on the Hill. She was the one who shared Rory’s memories of college in a way that Julie never could. It was Selina who had introduced her to midnight buffets at the local diners, to study groups, and to men besides Richard.
Rory allowed yet another wave of grief to hit her. When her sobs were finally spent, she hit the replay button, and felt the tears bubble up again. She hadn’t cried this hard since she didn’t know when. Certainly not at the recent funerals. Possibly not ever.
How could she have cut Selina out of her life? What does one say after so much time? Rory wiped her eyes and stared at the phone, trying to catch her breath and calm her heart. Selina knew everything about her, yet she was still calling. She still considered Rory a friend. Amazing.
Selina even knew the story behind Richard.
No one else but Julie had ever asked, and Rory hadn’t been ready to tell her what he’d tried to do, had started to do.
He held me down, Selina, and said he was going to make me his. He said I would love it. He said that it was time for us, that we’d waited long enough. He loved me. He swore it over and over. Selina, we went for a walk – nothing more – but he had a whole romantic picnic set up, waiting for us. It was so sweet, I thought. He had a blanket spread out and real picnic basket sitting on it, just waiting to be unpacked. There were candles and crystal, moonlight, and everything. Selina, maybe it was me, maybe I was wrong. I was so pleased that I went along with it. He didn’t start talking about making love to me until after we’d eaten. And I said no. I wasn’t ready. He asked when I would be, and I said I didn’t know exactly. The next thing I knew, he was all over me, holding me down and promising that I’d like it. It wasn’t until I started to cry that he stopped.
Still in her muddied and torn clothes, Rory had clung to her roommate, shaking. He’d been so angry at having to stop before he finished that he’d left here there in the dark, cursing her, and telling her to find her own way back.
Shaking her head no, Rory had cried harder.