A reading was open on my laptop but my eyes were glazed over as I stared at it, not reading a word. After this weekend of CJ's serious distantness, and witnessing him ditch Easter for a six hour phone conversation with Sarah, I was forcing him to tell me what was going on.
It was a few minutes past our 5:15 time to meet, and I casually turned around from where I was sitting at the bar that faced the window, where the people passing by outside were a constant source of interest. I turned to see CJ fixing his coffee and snapped my head back around. I didn't want it to look like I was looking for him, I hoped I didn't turn around too fast so I caught his attention, then my cool-girl cover would be broken...
It was a minute or so until a cup of coffee was set down next to me. Just long enough to confirm that CJ had to look around the coffee shop for me.
"Hey," CJ avoided my eye, "What's up?"
"Hey," I yanked out my earbuds and snapped my laptop closed, "What's going on?" I said coldly.
"So Sarah and I are probably getting back together, we're talking about it."
"Ok." I said blankly, "Go on."
"We don't think I was in the right mindset when we broke up, and we're trying to work it out. But in this process, Sarah's not cool with you and I hanging out, and I think she's right and I don't feel comfortable asking her to be cool with it. We can be friends in a ballroom setting with other people around, but we can't hang out one on one." CJ looked at me through the corners of his eye.
I looked him right in the eye, "You need to take whatever feelings you have for me and crush them like a bug." I spat, "If you have any intention of making this work."
"That's what I'm trying to do, and if I'm even going to try, I can't hang out with you. Are you ok with that?" CJ asked.
"Why in the world would I be ok with that?" I snapped, "I'll deal with it because I obviously have no choice in the matter, but I just lost my best friend. Again. Because at the end of the day, I thought we were still friends, no matter what happened."
"If you ever need something, you can still reach out to me. I just can't guarantee anything."
"Besides Sarah, how's everything?" I asked. I don't know why I asked, I don't know if I cared, but maybe it was force of habit to care, but maybe I just didn't want to talk about this anymore.
"This weekend has been awful," CJ admitted, "I'm just so overwhelmed, I'm debating asking them for medication when I go back to my second appointment. I really don't want to, but I had the worst breakdown of my life on Sunday. I was in the shower, and it just all hit me and it was so bad and I didn't know what to do. I think I've just got to finish my work stuff, and get through school, and then I'm going home for the summer and I just need to do absolutely nothing and get my shit together and then take on the job thing."
"I'm sorry CJ, I really am. I would say if you need anything just ask," I shrugged, "but you probably just shouldn't." my tone went ice cold, which seemed to mirror the chill that settled in my heart.
What was friendship if you couldn't hang out together? What was friendship if you couldn't go to the other person when you needed a friend?
We weren't friends. As CJ talked and I gazed out the window at the many people passing by, I felt the return of the grip of loneliness. I could have been sitting alone.
"I hope you can figure things out," I said, "Do what makes you happy."
"I'm trying, I really am. I made the biggest decision of my life while I was in a bad place, mentally, and I'm trying to fix things."
"The biggest decision of your life?" I narrowed my eyes, "Like job things?"
I wanted nothing more than to pitch myself out of the window. If breaking up with Sarah was the biggest decision of his life, he needed to sort out his priorities.
"Well, thanks for telling me this time, instead of leaving me totally in the dark," I said indifferently, "Even though I had to beat it out of you a bit."
"I told you I was going to talk to you today!"
"Only after I insisted," I raised my eyebrows.
Our conversation shifted to the upcoming competition, "I'll still be there for gold standard," CJ smiled just a bit as he pulled on his coat.
Was that his way of saying all wasn't lost? Ballroom had been what kept us civil last semester when we weren't talking. CJ seemed to leave suddenly, and I felt hollow sitting at Starbucks. I didn't know whether I wanted to cry or kill someone. I was caught somewhere in the middle and all I knew for sure was that CJ and I were no longer friends.
Friendship wasn't conditional.