I sat on my bed, rolling a joint as I listened to the argument unfolding downstairs in the kitchen. I should be used to all of this by now, but I wasn’t, the noise left me anxious and afraid to leave my room. The sudden noise of plates being smashed to the ground made me jump. I hated hearing my mum scream, all I wanted to do was go out there and hit my dad’s face with a bat, but the last time I interfered, I got whipped with a belt. Mum made me promise to never interfere again.
I turned off the lights, laid down on the carpet, lit the joint and took my first puff. The deeper the breaths I took in, the more drowsy I felt. The fighting grew faint and indistinct. The only thing I could hear was the sound of my beating heart gradually calming. I’d thought I would be able to forget what was happening downstairs. But I couldn’t. I flinched at the sound of more plates crashing to the floor. I didn’t want to be alone tonight. I locked my door and quickly called Noah but there was no answer as usual. There was no point waiting for him to call me back. I climbed out the window, and made my way across the balcony, towards the tree at the side of the house; with everything going on downstairs there was little chance I’d be seen. The cold wind sent goosebumps up and down my body. I was slightly stoned but I managed to grip the tree branches tightly with my sweaty hands. I could see my misty breath as I made my way down the tree.
I had a 30-minute walk to Noah’s house, so I jogged to keep warm. I lost feeling in my face after a while. I didn’t realise how stoned I was until I arrived on the main road. The lights were brighter than usual and the cars were a blur as they drove by. The road felt never-ending. I decided to cut through the back streets to reach the park that was located at the bottom of the hill where Noah lives. I knew it was dangerous to be walking in the dark backstreets, but the amount of cars that honked as they drove past made me paranoid. I slowed down to catch my breath before walking up the steep hill.
Noah’s house was your typical modern-day mansion. Tall hedges blocked the view of the house from the street, but once you were past these, you could see the sandstone house. The large picture windows at the front of the house meant that anyone could see inside from the driveway. Noah’s parents were both lawyers, they decided two years ago that they would build their forever home before their retirement next year. It must be nice not having to worry about how your parents will pay for the monthly mortgage. I quietly walked to the garage, trying to avoid the sensor lights. I couldn’t hear music coming from the garage, I didn’t know if Noah was editing late again so I went to the side of the house to look into the garage window.
The red light illuminated the whole room, Noah’s computer table faced the window. He was in his pajamas glued to his laptop scre`en. It looked like he hadn’t showered for days, his curly hair was a mess, there were food stains on his grey hoodie and pizza boxes on the floor. Noah was wearing his headphones, I didn’t want to wake up the household so I waved my arms wildly to get his attention. When he finally looked up from his laptop with his big blue eyes, he sighed when he noticed it was only me tapping on the window. Noah walked over to open the side door of the garage.
‘LC, what are you doing here?’ Noah stood in front of me with an annoyed expression.
He leaned forward to kiss me on the forehead ‘Oh, sorry babe. I’m just a little stressed out at the moment.’
‘I can see that.’ I instinctively walked over to his couch next to the computer table. ‘Anyways, I just thought I would come visit you since I haven’t seen you for two weeks.’
‘It’s 12am. How did you even get here?’ I watched Noah settle himself down on the computer table.
‘I walked’ I said proudly.
‘That’s so far.’
‘It wasn’t too bad.’ All I wanted was for him to ask me why I was even here in the first place. Why was that so hard? I don’t know why I expect so much from him. It only led to disappointment anyways.
Noah frustratedly scratches his hair, ‘Are you going to be sleeping here tonight?’
‘Yeah, if that’s okay.’
My head was spinning again. The weed was still affecting my eyesight and the red light was making it worse. I laid back on the couch and closed my eyes hoping that the spinning would stop.
‘I really don’t have time to hangout right now though. I have so much work to do,’ Noah said in discontent.
‘No surprise there,’ I mumbled, my eyes still shut. I came here wanting my boyfriend’s company but instead, he was hinting for me to go. I should’ve stayed at home.
‘Really?’ Noah said clicking his tongue in disapproval.
‘When do you ever have time for me?’ I rolled my eyes as I turn to lay sideways on the couch to face him.
For the first time, I realised I was looking at a stranger. This wasn’t the person who I fell in love with five years ago. There was a time when seeing Noah would have made me nervous. He could take my breath away with just one glance. I was happy back then. It seems like a lifetime ago now. It was getting harder to hide how I felt about him. The sparks weren’t there anymore.
‘You’ve been here less than five minutes and you’re already starting an argument’, Noah said angrily.
‘Look, I didn’t want to be at home. I didn’t think you would mind if I came over.’ My stomach twisted into a sinkhole, I turned to face the ceiling and bit my tongue to stop myself from crying.
Noah sighs and moves his chair closer to reach for my hands. “I’m sorry.” He pauses, I can see the guilt spreading across his face. ‘What happened tonight?’ he said, his voice full of affection.
I wanted to tell him that I was drowning at home and that I started to smoke again to because I couldn’t handle my anxiety but my mouth wouldn’t move. I could see his eyes wandering back to the computer screen again. I just sat there and smiled weakly.
‘You should probably finish off your work first before we talk’
‘Thank you, baby,’ he said, playfully kissing my hands a couple of times before rolling his chair back to the computer table. ‘When I’m done with this, you can tell me everything.’ Before I could say another word, he turned to his computer and puts his headphones back on.
I sat back up quickly, watching Noah quietly. My head finally stopped spinning, I closed my eyes, took a deep breath in and breathed out in an audible sigh. I wanted Noah to turn around, to give me some kind of hope, a sign that there was a chance for our relationship. This cycle was becoming toxic for the both of us. I didn’t know why I always hesitated to let go. What was I afraid of? I couldn’t be worried about being alone because when I’m with him, I feel lonelier than ever.
‘How was work today?’ I ventured.
Nothing. I was talking to a brick wall. Was this his way in telling me he didn’t want to be with me anymore or is he just oblivious to what he’s doing? I didn’t understand. I couldn’t keep trying to defend his actions anymore. I wasn’t going to let him put me and this relationship on the side.
I stormed to grab another computer chair and placed myself on his right-hand side.
Noah’s startled by my actions and lowers the volume on his headphones. ‘Are you okay?’
‘I’m not okay. I haven’t been for a very long time.’ I felt a sensation that vibrated throughout my chest. I paused to control my breathing again, my heart pounded abnormally hard. ‘Do you even want to be in this relationship anymore?’ I didn’t care that I was raising my voice.
‘What? Where is this coming from?’ he said in a confused tone, his mouth slightly open.
There it was. His favourite go to line to use on me whenever I blindsided him. I hated it. I stood up and walked away to contain my anger before I said another word. I calmly turned around and noticed Noah staring blankly at me on his chair.
‘Just put me out of my misery already’ I said faintly.
Noah sternly faces me as he places his headphones on the table. ‘Of course, I want to be in this relationship.’
I shook my head in frustration, pacing around the garage. It was worse than I expected, he just didn’t want to make the effort anymore.
Noah stood up to stop me from moving around. He firmly secured his hands around my wrists. ‘Can you tell me what’s wrong? I’m so confused.’
I’ve been with this guy for five years and he still didn’t know me. He couldn’t read me the way I could read him. He knows what happens at home and yet, he has no clue what to say or do to ensure me everything will be alright. What was I fighting for?
‘If you actually paid attention, you wouldn’t be asking me in the first place’ I said softly. I freed myself from Noah’s grip and walked back to sit on the couch.
‘It’s always about your parents anyways, that’s nothing new.’ I could hear the irritation growing in Noah’s voice as he walked over to kneel down in front of me.
‘I get it now. It’s easy for you to pretend that my problems don’t exist because it’s not happening to you.’ I laugh sarcastically. We weren’t on the same wavelength. Why hadn’t I seen this earlier in our relationship? ‘How could someone with the perfect family home understand what I’m really going through.’
Noah stood on the other side of the garage speechless. I could see in his facial expressions that he was trying to come up with things to say.
‘I don’t give shit if it’s the same shit with my parents, I expect you to be there for me like I am for you.’ My voice cracked, I could feel my body trembling. ‘I know your job is important to you but it doesn’t give you the excuse to stop caring about me and my well-being.’
‘I always see you and when I don’t, I still call you whenever I can. I’ve never stopped caring though.’ Noah says in a panic. He walks over and kneels in front of me.
‘‘No Noah, all I am to you is white noise in the background.’ My breathing was becoming heavy, I thought I could be strong but I failed miserably. I could feel the tears streaming down my face.
‘I’m here now. I’m listening.’ Noah places his head on my lap, his hand clutching my legs.
I didn’t try to comfort him. It was too late for that. It was too late for anything. I was done waiting for him to come to his senses. I would rather be alone than be with someone who made me feel lonely.
Noah’s eyes finally connect with mine, his eyes bloodshot and his cheeks a light shade of pink. I didn’t realise he had been crying on my lap this whole time. He wiped the snort from his nostrils and whispered. ‘I’m sorry. I promise, I’ll do better.’ I really wanted to believe him this time but I heard it before. I would only be a fool if I was to believe him again.
‘There won’t be a next time Noah.’
Noah lets go of my legs in shock and walks away aggressively shaking his head. ‘No, no, no, no, you can’t just end it like this after five years together.’
‘I’m done Noah.’ I wiped my face and gained back my composure. ‘I’m tired of taking care of my boyfriend when he can’t even take care of me. I’m not your mother, I’m supposed to be your partner.’
‘Why are you doing this to me?’ he said softly. The despair in his tone broke my heart but I needed to tell him the truth. ‘But I love you LC. There’s no one else for me.’
‘I’m not trying to purposely hurt you.’ I looked directly into Noah’s eyes. I observed his face silently before I said another word. I could see his puffy blue eyes filled with tears and his lips quivered. Noah was showing me emotions that I hadn’t seen in a long time.
‘We’re both trying to hold onto something that’s been dead for a very long time. I want to break up now before we end up hating each other.’
‘We’re supposed to be a team though. I don’t know what I’m going to do without you,’ he said quietly as he sat back down on his computer chair, and pressed his face against his palms.
‘We haven’t been a team for a very long time Noah.’
I don’t know how long we were sitting there but I couldn’t take the silence between us.
‘I think I should go now.’
‘Yeah, you should.’
Noah didn’t look at me, so I knew there was nothing else to say.
As I walked the quiet streets, the piercing icy wind woke me. My mind was clearer than it had ever been before. By the time I arrived home, the house was quiet again, the lights were all turned off. I climbed the tree with no complications and I fell right onto my bed, too tired to even change my clothes. I didn’t expect that to happen tonight. All I wanted was to find some sense of comfort from my boyfriend. I thought I needed someone to save me from myself but in truth, I was only there because being with Noah was familiar to me. I didn’t need to be there at all. I had made it each day without his help and I knew I was going to survive this break up as well.
‘I’m going to be okay.’ I muttered under my breath.