Here we go again.
I shifted on the upholstered bench, absorbing Becca’s tale of woe. “What did he say?” My question came by rote. How could it not when it was the usual story, even if told on another day?
Misfortune was a continuous wave churning through Becca’s life. One that might soon overwhelm her and drag her to the murky bottom.
“Nothing!” Becca smacked the table with an open palm, our coffee cups rattling on their white china saucers. “It’s always the same.”
I pressed my lips together, struggling to say something supportive. Quickly, I rejected each bit of potential advice, forcing myself to stay silent. After all, every single one of those words had been said before.
“They take everything I give, yet I get little in return.”
Yet she always tried again, as if choosing a variation of the same sad melody wasn’t a self-fulfilling prophecy.
“I’m sorry.” I placed my hand over hers and squeezed.
Darkness swirled around her, painted in muddy shades of grey. I worried the ragged edge of the inevitable abyss fast approached. It pained me, this feeling of utter helplessness in the face of her despair.
Yet, her own recklessness and willingness to accept poor treatment were the indisputable instruments of her pain. How could I make her realize it could all be different? When would she accept her true worth?
Becca bowed her head, one hand rising to brush away the salty drops clinging to her flushed cheeks. “How do you put up with me?”
“I love you. You’re my best friend.” I blinked hard. Maybe the old Becca was in there somewhere, so I’d keep trying.
Years ago, she’d been colourful swaths of light brightening my life. I treasured our friendship, the woman she could be. We’d helped each other through some of the roughest bits of our angsty teenage years. Becca was more than this broken spectre in front of me. So, so much more. She just refused to believe it, no matter how many times I told her.
“I love you.” The barest hint of a smile touched her lips. “Thanks for listening.” She lifted her cup, giving me a silent toast.
I quelled the burst of hope. This was but a mirage of the old Becca, one that appeared every now and again, teasing me with its vibrance. All too soon, the old Becca would flicker and disappear. The destructive cycle would continue and repeat, over and over, forever unbroken.
Kate Smith is a Canadian author of Contemporary Romance, Contemporary Fiction, and Women’s Fiction.
She lives in the beautiful Okanagan Valley of British Columbia, Canada. When she’s not editing or creating fiction, she spends her time on the local trails, visiting one of the numerous sandy beaches, or visiting with friends.
Her first full-length novel title Reunited was first published in 2016. It has seen been renamed as Everything We Lost, and is Book 1 of the six-book series, The Hamilton Series.
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