I could see her sitting on the living room couch laughing with him, like they were watching something on television. My mother had this laugh that made everything look beautiful and everyone else happy. I knocked but they couldn’t hear the knock so I tried to ring the bell but they weren’t looking at the door or at me. I could see them right there busy watching the television and unaware of my presence.
“Hey Mom, Dad” I screamed “it’s me Dom, please open” I rang again and again. The bell noise was getting louder and louder but they were still not looking at me. I did not give up, I pressed it again and again and then she looked up with anger in her eyes like she wasn’t happy to have me there. I woke up realising I was dreaming and my phone was ringing, rubbing my eyes I looked around at the bottle of vodka next to me. Dammit! Dom I cursed myself realising what I did last night. I picked up the phone thinking it must be Mike. Why did you call him? I asked myself
“Hello?” I was feeling guilty about last night
“Open the damn door” It was Kristine
“You are outside?” I asked
“Will you open it?” she sounded irritated. I walked up to the door, while trying to fix my hair and rubbing my eyes.
“Why the fuck wont you open the door. I was ringing the bell like crazy, I got scared you know” she barged inside
“Good morning to you too” I smiled shaking my head at her language. Even after being friends with her for over 6 months I was still not used to her cursing all the time.
“God! You look like a mess” she took a seat on the couch “was someone here last night? Are you with someone? Is that why you won’t open?” “I have been ringing the bell and calling you. I was about to break the door you know.”
“Okay stop” I was now laughing. What was it about her that made everything lively and colourful I asked myself. “I was sleeping. Sorry, I think I must have overslept”
“Hmm…Okay. Get ready then, will get your breakfast on the way.”
“Where are we going?” I was trying to clean the bed, was glad Kristine hadn’t seen the box of pictures on the floor.
“Shopping, you remember I have to buy something for my cousin’s wedding.” She stretched on the couch “I don’t know why Tim makes me do this. I don’t even know my cousin’s full name and I have to go to her wedding”
“Okay, but can we make a stop at Mike’s. He wanted to see me, it will take just 15 minutes” I asked while trying to find something to wear.
“Cool. How’s Annie?”
“Good, good” I screamed from the bathroom. I was dreading the day, because I knew Mike would question me and ask me to stay with him and Annie for few days. I wasn’t in mood to shop, but saying no would mean questions. There was no way to find out if Tim had told Kristine about what happened in the university. Something told me maybe Tim didn’t, because it was unlike Kristine to not ask me about it.
“Hey, you still there?” I asked from inside the shower. Kristine was too silent.
“Ya, ya. I’m here. Just relaxing”
“Just 2 minutes” I hurried up. What was Emily doing here? I wondered. I quickly got out of the shower, changed in to a black t-shirt and blue denims, put on my shoes and declared “I’m Ready. Let’s go”.
“So my dad called last night” Kristine said as she drove here Lexus “He is like Molly, my cousin, wanted my phone number so she could call me and invite me”
“Now why would she do that?” She paused “I think he is just finding excuses to call me and talk to me. Yes that’s the thing. I’m sure. Tim thinks I’m crazy. Am I crazy?”
“Am I crazy?”
“Am I crazy? Dom?” Suddenly the car stopped with a screeching noise jerking both of us in front
“What? What the hell happened?” “Are you okay?” I was worried. She looked okay and there was no car in front of us.
“There, you are awake now” she was laughing
“What? Kristine why do you do this?” I snapped. Kristine started the engine and drove in silence for next few minutes. I looked at her and cursed myself for losing my cool; I cursed Emily for showing up and acting like nothing ever happened.
“I’m sorry” I said “and yes you are crazy. Tim is right.”
“Really? You too? O god, why do you both have to be so much alike?” she threw her hands up in the air. She wasn’t mad, which was a relief.
“Sorry I guess I didn’t sleep well last night.” I apologised again.
“Well I guess I will have to buy you a Kristine special coffee today” she looked in a good mood. Keep it together Dom, Keep it together I begged myself to not fall into pieces.
“Okay you go ahead I will park and come” She said. I got out and started walking towards the house. Mike and Annie lived in a big two storied house in the Manhattan suburbs with a beautiful lawn. The door was open which usually meant either Mike was at home or there were guests at home; I hoped it was some neighbour not wanting to face Mike.
“Hey anybody home?” I froze when I saw her in front of me. I thought my legs were going to give up as I stood there face to face with mother. She was looking like she always did, pretty and beautiful. She was with Annie when I entered; the looks on their faces were enough to tell me no one was expecting me. Annie looked worried and my mom uninterested.
“Mom?” I barely managed the words
“Annie I will go upstairs now. I think I need rest.” She ignored me and started walking. I felt bad for Annie for being caught between my mother and me.
“Sorry, got stuck at the parking spot” I forgot about Kristine. With my mother in front of me, not wanting to acknowledge my presence, I could not think straight.
“Hi I’m Kristine” She smiled at my mother.
“I do not care who you are young lady.” She said
“Mom, please. She is my friend”
“How do I know what kind of friend she is?” my mother looked at Kristine and then back at me.
“I’m sorry? Did I do something to annoy you?” Kristine asked
“Don’t apologise to me. Apologise to your parents, kids like you have brought nothing but shame to their parents”
“Pam, please.” Annie interrupted
“Annie I’m sorry I know it’s your house. I should not be rude with your guests.” She walked away “Please let me know when we can sit again and continue our discussion”
“Dom, I’m sorry I didn’t know she was coming.” Annie looked at me with apologetic eyes “She just came this morning. Said she wanted to give surprise to Mike. I’m so sorry…if I knew I”
“Ann, you don’t have to apologise. Please don’t” I smiled at her “Tell Mike I came and I will come back again.” I hugged her and assured her that nothing was her fault. Annie has loved me more than my own mother and I knew how much it was hurting her inside for not just standing there and not being able to stop my mother.
Kristine did not ask me a thing while we drove towards the city. I knew there were hundreds of questions going on inside her head but she said nothing. We both pretended like nothing happened and went on to the shopping spree, although she did not shop much and we decided to end the day early.
First Emily and then my mother, I wasn’t sure why suddenly everything was coming back to me after one year.