We were three friends together. Then, it became a boy and a girl and the third wheel. I was the third wheel. I didn’t like it to say the least. Especially considering the fact that I liked the boy too. But, Dee got him and he got Dee. My best friend and the boy I was in love with. I didn’t know who I was more jealous of.
Rudi was not all that special of a boy. But, there was a sensitivity about him that reminded me of Milton’s Paradise Lost and a depth in him that captivated me like Sylvia Plath when I was 14. But, he was Dee’s boyfriend. So, how many ever drunken nights we might have shared swapping stories under the stars or how many ever arguments we got into discussing Sebastian Faulk’s Birdsong, he was still my friend and Dee’s boyfriend.
Dee was every bit as special as Rudi was not. She was the person who sat up all night with me, every night, when I couldn’t sleep after my father died. She was the one who told me all her Disney fantasies that she used to share with her sister and forced me dress up as a bloody Snow White to her bloody Prince Charming for Halloween. She was the one to whom I confessed my feelings about Rudi and instead of accusing me of trying to steal her boyfriend, she tightened her arm around me and said:
“What do you think we should do now, Lucy?”
Dee is the most special person on the planet and Rudi is not all that special of a boy.
So, I push all my feelings into the box in the corner of my mind and try to forget it exists.
I had never seen Dee so angry. Dee doesn’t get angry. She gets upset, sad, disappointed…but never angry. Except today. Today, her teeth were clenched, her eyes were flashing, her cheeks burnt red, her hands balled into fists and she was standing rigidly in front of her parents.
“How could you let it happen?” she bit out.
Her father looked uncomfortable, but if she had expected an answer, it wasn’t forthcoming. He just shrugged noncommittally and turned away.
With a guttural noise that seemed to tear from her insides, Dee launched forward with her fist raised. My eyes closed involuntarily and my ears awaited the sound of bone against bone with bated breath. It didn’t come and when I opened my eyes, it was to see Lucy wrapping her arms around Dee and pulling her back.
“He’s not worth it, Dee,” she was whispering.
And with that single sentence in her ears, Dee burst into tears and turned around into Lucy’s arms. She held on to her best friend as if she was clutching for life itself and cried like she had never cried before. Lucy was much shorter than her, but she was the rock in the storm raging inside Dee that night.
I turned away.
A strange feeling was building up in my chest and it was making me uncomfortable with its familiarity. I knew Dee’s only real family was lying in the ICU after having tried to kill herself. I knew she needed all the comfort she could get, especially with parents like hers. But, I was jealous.
I was jealous because she turned to Lucy instead of me. I was jealous because Lucy didn’t feel the need to step back from the scene between Dee and her family to give them space. I was jealous that she knew what my girlfriend needed better than me.
I was jealous because my best friend was closer to my girlfriend than I was.
They think I don’t see them. But, I do.
I see them share interests, swap stories, tell secrets to each other and tease each other mercilessly. I watch and I wish I could be a part of it.
They met in college, a mere week before Lucy and I met and a mere 10 days before Rudi and I became friends. 7 days early and they already had inside jokes that I didn’t understand. When Lucy and I became roommates, I thought it would change. These things usually go When Harry met Sally-way- you either become a couple or drift apart. But, like everything about them, their friendship was no “usual” kind.
Throughout my first year, I waited and I watched. I kept counting the days until when Lucy would announce that he had asked her out. It didn’t happen. And when we came back from the vacation, Rudi took me aside and asked whether I would have dinner with him that night.
I replied that I’m free, but I would have to ask Lucy about her schedule.
He said: “Not Lucy. Just you and me. Like a date.”
I was too shocked to say anything and he assumed that my silence was my acquiescence.
That was our first date and it was so awkward that I came back and cried on Lucy’s shoulder that I did something that ruined our friendship forever.
She gave me a chocolate and asked me to shut up. Then, she assured me that nothing could ever ruin our friendship, because we knew too much about each other and nobody else would put up with us.
Half an hour after that, she got a call. She took it out in the corridor and I knew it was Rudi. I never did get to know what she said to him that night. But, the day after he asked me out on a date again and soon, I had adjusted myself to the task of pretending to be busy every time Lucy got a call after date night. Pretending to be busy and straining to listen; because I was jealous of those conversations that I wasn’t a part of.
She was my best friend and my only family ever since my sister killed herself.
He was my boyfriend and as of two weeks ago, he became my fiancé.
But, as I see them both now, discussing Anna Karenina over dinner, I become jealous of the world they seemed to live in when together; one where Milton and Tolstoy and Sylvia Plath share a meal and talk shop. I become jealous of the way they seem to inspire each other, ideas bouncing off of each other and coming alive. I become jealous of the thought that emerges in my head every time I see them together:
“Why is he with me, when he could be with her?”
Chapter 2 will be up on 29th Nov ’15