Welcome back! Happy Wednesday!
Enjoy the next installment of “Discussion of Differences.”
But hear this – You can do this. You’re so close. Just buckle down and endure these last few weeks – I promise that the end result will be so worth it.”
Lizzy sniffled and considered her words carefully.
“Thanks, B. Really. It’s so great to have a friend like you. I feel more of a connection to you than anyone else, which is probably why I’ve been texting you non-stop for the last six days. I’m sorry about that, by the way. I just get into a groove of feeling the need to write out everything that I’m currently thinking. I simply forgot that you have these things called work, and your own school, and your life with Will and your family. Will you accept my apology?”
Bethany then realized she’d been holding her breath. As she let it out slowly, she also considered her next move.
“Lizzy, of course I accept your apology. But – You need to make a commitment to me.”
“B – Anything. Anything for a friend like you.”
“Please, for the love of everything holy, text me only once a day from now on. I don’t care if it’s a novel, but consider it a reward, of sorts. You can text me at the end of every day, but only when you get through all of your classes, all of your homework, and any other obligations that you have. Do we have a deal?”
Bethany could almost see Lizzy, see her making that face when she’s seriously considering something.
“You got it, B. Anything to save our friendship!”
Bethany chuckled. “Lizzy – I wasn’t going to end our friendship. I’m just a worried mother hen right now. Do you understand? Anyway, I look forward to your end-of-day texts!”
“B – You rock. I feel so much better now. When’s the best time to text you?”
“Um, any time before 9:30 p.m. After that, I’m asleep. Got it?”
“Okie dokie. I’ll text you tonight then! Thanks, B. You’re an awesome friend.”
“Alright. Let me eat my food and I’ll get back to work. I’ll text you back tonight to let you know that I got it and read it. Now go pass those classes!”
Bethany could almost see the smile returning to Lizzy’s face.
Bethany originally wanted to approach Hunter about Lisanna’s issues, but she felt better once she’d hung up the phone. Still, Bethany didn’t want Hunter to be in the dark about anything.
With shaking hands, she picked up her iPhone and logged into the FlixelFlaxen. She saw the red message bubble at the top of the screen. It always made her heart soar – Almost as much as her personal phone buzzed with a text or picture message from Will.
Bethany almost felt bad that she had such a close relationship with Hunter – They were pen pals, too – but they both knew it was completely platonic. Both of them cared about their significant others too much, along with their friendship, to jeopardize anything.
Bethany just stared at Hunter’s last message for at least five minutes before tapping the screen to write a reply. Whatever she wrote, she had to do it quickly – Her lunch break was almost over. At least she’d been able to scarf down her sandwich while talking with Lizzy.
Finally, in the last two minutes of her lunch hour, Bethany felt confident in her thoughts.
Hey there. I hope you had a good lunch break. I just spent three-quarters of mine talking with Lizzy. Yes, actually talking with her over the phone. I don’t want to get in the middle of anything between you two, but I wanted to be transparent with you. That’s what friends are for – I don’t want to keep any secrets from you. I completely understand if you don’t want to share or talk about it.
Bethany let out a frustrated sigh, peppered with relief. She always felt better when she actually communicated her thoughts and feelings – Whether it be through spoken word, or written. She just didn’t want to hurt anybody.
Hunter had far more freedom at his job – He was able to stay on the FlixelFlaxen throughout the day, unlike Bethany.
He always got excited when the new message icon popped up. He really did enjoy Bethany’s conversations. After all, he had never expected to be friends with her after her graduation more than three years ago. He was immensely grateful for her friendship – She’d gotten him through some dark times, ones that she didn’t know about. And that included issues with Lisanna.
He read B’s latest message once, and then paused before reading it again. He always like to read things more than once.
He took off his glasses, closed his eyes, and pressed his hands to his face. His worst fears were becoming reality. Lizzy was a super senior. Over the last several weeks, he had noticed her withdrawals increasing at an alarming rate. He knew she was struggling, but he had no idea how to help her.
“Oh, fuck. Fuckity fuck fuck fuck! Now B knows. Now what?”
He had to distract himself for a few minutes before replying to her. Luckily, he knew Bethany was working on a big project this afternoon, so he had more than enough time to consider his response to her.
After a lopsided combination of a little bit of video editing and quite a bit of anime, Hunter’s head was clear enough. He didn’t like replying to Bethany on impulse, if he could help it.
He took a deep breath as he poised his hands over the keyboard.
Interesting. First of all, it’s not your fault – I know that Lizzy’s gotten super close with you since last we met at Bill’s. And that’s great! I appreciate you letting me know. And being honest with me. Keeping secrets is never a good thing – Even between friends. Not to worry though – You’re not getting between us. In fact, you saying something has actually been helpful. It’s made me realize that there’s more of a problem than I had originally thought. Let’s work together, if that’s okay with you. I think you want to help Lizzy as much as I do. What do you think?
Hunter finally breathed out as he clicked Send.
“Now, the waiting begins. Until then – More distraction!”
As Bethany wrapped up her project toward the end of the day, she took a bathroom break. She had had Hunter in the back of her mind all day, and barely hit the lock on the bathroom door before beginning to read.
She heaved a sigh of relief as she skimmed through Hunter’s reply. She was grateful for his understanding, but also worried. How were the two of them going to help Lizzy through this storm?
Bethany liked to plan, so she started formulating one in her head as soon as she’d read the last word. By the time she got back to her desk, she’d tapped out a skeleton plan.
Hunter had basically beaten her to the punch though:
I think I have a plan. Of course, I want to hear your thoughts before I decide. But I feel like I need to visit Lizzy every weekend until the end of the semester. I think she misses my company. I’d like to think that my visits help her get through the week prior and at least part of the week afterward. I wish I could stay longer than three days, but rules are rules.
Bethany’s eyes widened. That didn’t sound like a good solution – At first glance, anyway. After all, Lizzy had said the whole spiel about wanting to be alone in front of the whole group.
Her own plan was partially for Hunter to visit more often, but certainly not every weekend until mid-December! Bethany’s combination of fear and hesitation were based on experience – Sometimes spending every waking moment, or every weekend in the case of a LDR, together, have bad results. It sometimes pushes the couple apart.
And Lizzy didn’t need to push anything else away right now. She needed the continuing support of Hunter, Bethany, and her other friends, but also have that balance of time alone. Of course, Bethany knew that she couldn’t change Hunter’s mind, but she could weigh in with her opinion.
Bethany couldn’t respond right away. She needed to mull this over, maybe even talk to Will about it. But there was another pressing thing on her mind: The next meeting. It was just eight days away!
Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂