A short story written by Julie Johnson based on the March #WordPrompt #Bridge by WordPress.com.
Noelle Sampson’s tears were staying in place but threatening to fall again. She and her boyfriend of almost-but-not-quite 1 year:7 months:12 days broke up 2 months:8 days:20 hours:27 minutes ago. The way she tells it, he did the breaking. Noelle’s bestie wondered, cautiously, on the inside, while the women played a round of checkers in Noelle’s family room.
“Bridge,” Timmie said abruptly, minutes away from winning her fourth game in a row. “What you need is a B.R.I.D.G.E.”
“That makes no sense.” Noelle sighed, her disappointment – in both the game and her friend’s suggestion – heavy and lingering.
“No, no, no. It’s one of those words when each letter is the start of another word. Beautifying,” Timmie began, stressing the first syllable of each word, “rejection inadvertently develops gratituuuuude, eeeeeee, I can’t remember, but … .”
“Which is a sure sign you’re making it up, Timmie.”
“… BUT,” continued Noelle’s bestie, “I read about it in Psychology Roundabout. You need a bridge to connect you to the being healed. You two were together for almost two years. You saw him as a potential forever mate. You need something to get you moving to the over there.”
Noelle looked to the invisible, undetermined there Timmie was trying hard to see herself but pointing at with emphatic finger motions, nonetheless.
“B.R.I.D.G.E. is brilliant, see?” Timmie moved her sitting closer to Noelle’s. “You spend time in the hard of the breakup. That would be the incline of a bridge. You eventually come to the point where you can shake if off, TS-style. Finally, you move to the process of focusing on the good until you are into your new normal.”
It was a lie. Out from Timmie’s mouth flowed word after word of lies. Untruths. Misinformation. Manipulation. And every last syllable was ingested by her very best friend for life. She had not read such nonsense in Psychology Roundabout or anywhere else for that matter. She needed to buy herself time. Noelle was moving super fast, head-on into a worse breakup, and she hadn’t the faintest idea to even look for signs of trouble or to consider time spent with Timmie was coming to a hard stop.
“Beautifying rejection? No, thank you,” Noelle moved her final piece into harm’s way, sealing her fifth defeat checkers today.
“B.R.I.D.G.E. We’re doing it. Tomorrow morning. 7 a.m.” Timmie was bound and determined. “Nothing is open at 7 a.m., except grocery stores. Better make it 10. It will be a good challenge for us both. I’ll pick you up at 9:30.” Timmie was up and gone before Noelle could mutter additional resistance.
Timmie, back in her own apartment, flipped on the light, sat her purse by the door and imagined being swallowed by boxes. She had only begun sorting and separating yesterday, but she was already overwhelmed by the thought of it all. She tried visualizing a life with no need for a vacuum or a bed, a life empty of dish soap and new socks. Will the inability to have access to a full tube of lip balm or pretty perfume or privacy do her in? She remembered college studies and how she relinquished watching “Alias” for homework and how the decision still gets her worked up. Then there was Noelle.
Less than five minutes away, Noelle was brushing her teeth, preparing for bed. As the toothpaste foamed in her mouth, she considered Timmie’s spiel and wondered if B.R.I.D.G.E. could be a real treatment. The time it was taking to overcome the breakup even took Noelle by surprise. She had talked about ending it a few months into the relationship, but neither party budged. Before she knew it, us became familiar, expected, unnoticed. Spend time in the hard of the breakup? Noelle wondered how Timmie would explain what the previous two months and some days and a few hours consisted of. If this isn’t the hard of the breakup, what measuring tool would Psychology Roundabout use? Noelle spit the foam from her mouth and quickly gargled a handful of water before picking up her phone to dial Sam. Not quite as quickly, she remembered the habit was done. No more calling Sam. No more hearing about his self-centered clients or how he was almost too busy to eat lunch or why his mom really was wrong about not agreeing to host the neighborhood Thanksgiving bash, ever.