“You knew I was going to say something to you, right?”

“W-What?” Alex shuffled nervously,

“Alex. You’ve been ghosting and avoiding us for a week now. We deserve an explanation.”

Alex gulped. Before her was Phoenix one of her best friends, now leading such a stressful interrogation. Truth is, Alex was avoiding them because she was afraid. She was afraid to face the truth and she was afraid to let what she felt to be her darkest secret come between her and the two whom she’s come to care for so dearly.

She tried to ignore her question. She looked around. The wall of the building was behind her, there were some decorative rocks on the ground around the pathways, she saw some of the cars in the parking lot. Plenty of them were familiar in the sense of always being there, but nor familiar in the sense of being identifiable. Alex looked up at the clouds, watching as the ever so slowly moved across the sky. She avoided eye contact at all costs. It wasn’t a conscious decision, her body was on autopilot and it was attempting to steer away from her anxiety as much as possible.

Phoenix sighed. “Talk to me. Please. Abby is hurt and so am I. We’ve gotten so close to you and now you’re shutting us out, this isn’t fair!”

Alex could not physically respond, she tried to make eye contact with Phoenix but even that was too hard. In her mind she really just wanted to disappear, erase herself, or erase her actions, or erase anything. just clear away anything adding to her grief. Alex wasn’t much of a talker anyways, she had to warm up to Phoenix and Abby tremendously to be able to comfortable speak to them. Her current state really was backwards.

“Text me,” Phoenix pushed, “If you’re not going to speak just send me a text, send Abby a text too, we-” Then Phoenix paused to collect herself again. She pulled out her own phone to write the following for Alex to read as Alex fought to pull herself in.

“We miss you and we’re worried. I know something is wrong. Whatever it is, let us help you through it. You don’t have to be alone anymore. We’re your friends.”

Alex was reading this and as comforting as it was, it only pushed her anxiety even further in the sense that despite the unmerited support and care she was receiving from these people, she so rudely shut them out of her life. The entirety of her surroundings were suddenly unaccessible, her brain had no room to process them. She was entirely stuck in her phone. These were her best and only friends and they deserved better, and so she typed out her reply.

“am i still allowed to the party? once we’re together i’ll tell you everything”

She sighed heavily at the terrifying idea of what she was promising, she looked up and only saw Phoenix look up and nod. She spoke to Alex in verbal words. Despite the lack of focus, the main point was, ‘We’d love to have you.’ Sometime after, Phoenix’s ride arrived and she left. Alex’s mind was busy. She sat against that brick wall shaking, trying to process and figure out how to handle everything going on as well as everything to come. She opened the gallery on her phone and looked again at her favorite photo. It was her selfie with Abby and Phoenix after winning a basketball game. She tried to keep emotions back as her mind was going too fast for her to handle. Soon enough, it stopped at a sure conclusion.

It’s time to tell them the truth.