In writing my novel, I’m going through the character summaries and trying to decide what the conflicts will be. Since I’ve decided since the main character will have a mental illness, one of her conflicts will be deciding how truthful to be with her friends. One of her fears is that if she is truly herself, her friends will abandon her, because they will see how worthless she truly is. So here is scene that may or may not make it into the final piece:
Laina opened the door to see Kyle.
“Well, I wasn’t expecting to see you at this late hour,” she said.
“Can I come in?”
“Yeah, yeah, come in. Let me make you some tea or something, sit down.”
Kyle settled onto the couch and let his eyes wander around the paintings. Leona pulled out the kettle and Kyle said,
“Actually, I’d prefer a whiskey.”
“If by whiskey, you mean bourbon, I can do that. Ice or neat?”
“What are you doing?”
She chuckled. “Are you kidding? I’m not going to ruin the flavor with ice. Neat all the way.”
“Ah, okay then.”
She came out with two Glencairn glasses.
“Sorry, man, I get the fancy crystal cut one,” she said, “you’ll have to make due with the plain one.”
Kyle laughed. “I’m not bothered.”
Laina sat on the opposite side of the couch and swirled the glass.
“This is one of my favorites, it’s been aged in sherry barrels.”
Kyle nodded and took a sip. He let his eyes look across at the wall.
“So, ah,” she said, “What brings you to my humble abode?”
He paused. “I don’t really know why,” he said. “I guess I was worried about you. You seemed really upset last night.”
“Aw, thanks,” she said. “And I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to worry you. I can still be emotional, but it’s nothing like it. . .used to be.”
“Yeah, about that. . .”
“It took me a long time to get over that, you know. And I’m not sure I’ve ever forgiven you.”
“You know, it was never about you,” she started.
“I know that,” he said quickly. “Or rationally, I do. But you have no idea what it was like to find you. No idea to realize you were actually going to do it. I mean, stupid teenagers talk all the time about how their life sucks and how they wish they were dead. . .and you, you actually went down that road.”
Kyle was still looking at the wall, his face in profile, as though he couldn’t trust himself to look at her. Laina was afraid to look too much at him in case his eyes met hers, so she looked down at the floor, listening.
“I mean, what if it happens again? What if you decide that life is too hard and you decide to quit? Do you have any comprehension how much you hurt us, all of us?”
Laina couldn’t speak, but stared at the carpet mutely.
“And your poor parents, what a death they died that night. They never deserved that.”
She could feel the swelling of tears in her eyes. They were going to break soon. She put her glass down with shaking hands and shook her head.
“I just,” he paused, “I just can’t go through that again. I can’t care about you and be close to you.”
Her blood went cold even as hot tears trailed down her face, her eyes stayed fixed on the floor. The tears were tickling her upper lip but she didn’t want to touch her face. Any movement and she might lose control completely. And if she tried to speak, she knew her voice would betray her. This couldn’t be happening.
He went silent and she could feel the dripping on her chin. She got up suddenly, heading for the tissue box, but didn’t make it before a huge sob escaped. She stayed standing over the counter, hunched over the tissues, her back to him.
“Laina, I’m sorry,” Kyle said getting up.
“Please don’t,” she said, her voice a weird caricature. “So, we can’t be friends?”
Kyle sighed. “I’m not saying that. I’m just saying. . .I need some space. Some distance.”
Her throat tightened. She felt like she was going to throw up. Her insides were breaking up and heaving.
“Can you leave?” she asked in a low voice.
Kyle stood still for minute. “Laina. . . “
That was it. She walked to the bedroom, her head spinning. She closed the door and held her breath. She could no longer hold back her crying but at least she could contain the screaming inside her, if only he would leave quickly. She listened through the door.
She could hear him putting on his shoes. Faster, she willed him.
He was putting on his coat. Please.
He was checking his pockets for his keys. For the love of god!
Finally, she heard the door open and close. She waited another minute to make sure he wouldn’t hear her. And then it all poured out of her, her anguish and disbelief. It was true, it had always been true. She was unloveable and too weird to even have friends. She was worthless and stupid and ugly. How could she think she could ever deserve friends? Everyone should hate her, hate her as much as herself. She had trusted him, trusted him to not abandon her, but she was too weak and messed up. Nobody could love who she really was. She should just die already.