“This is not working out. I'm sorry.” The message from Kate flashes across your screen. You feel your heart drop and your stomach feels like it is about to expel the breakfast you remembered to eat this morning.
“What do you mean?” You reply, hands shaking.
“It's over. I can't do this anymore.” You stare at your phone for a long time. Suddenly, the screen fades and it starts to vibrate. Kate's face replaces the message. She is calling you. You jump, knocking your phone out of your hand. It falls face down on the floor by your feet. You just stare at it, not knowing what to do. Someone, probably Kate, calls you five times. You don't answer any of them. You feel like you are in a daze. You pick up your phone, put it on vibrate, and shove it into your pocket. It continues to buzz. You walk into the bedroom and grab your favorite backpack off the closet door. You put your blanket, a jacket, a couple outfits, and a picture of you and Kate in it. You grab your wallet and a couple bottles of water, also shoving them into the bag. You walk to the front door of the apartment and put on your shoes. With a sigh, you open the front door and leave. For the last time, you walk down the hallway and into the elevator. You pause, taking in the interior of the elevator, before pressing the button that will take you to the ground floor. The doors slowly begin to close, suddenly, an older woman places her hand between the doors, causing them to open. Mrs. Owen, the woman who lives down the hall from you, steps into the elevator. She smiles at you and notices your backpack.
“Are you running away from home, Gertrude?” She says with a smile. For some reason, she always called you by her sisters name. You never bothered to correct her. The elevator descends to the ground floor.
“No, ma'am. Kate broke up with me.” You say softly.
“Kate? Kate who?” She asks, wrinkling her nose at the unfamiliar name.
“I thought she was married to that Nino gentleman.”
“No, ma'am, Nino is her pet cat.” You reply.
“A cat? I thought the cat was named Leslie as often as I hear the name yelled.”
“Leslie is one of our friends. She works with Kate.”
“Who is Kate?”
“Kathryn.” You reply. The elevator comes to a stop and the doors open. “I have to get going, Mrs. Owen. It was nice seeing you again.” You say as you step off the elevator.
“You too, Gertrude. Will you be home for supper?” She calls to you.
“No ma'am, I won't. I don't think I'll ever be back.” You say, forcing back tears.
“Don't run away too far, Gertrude, Kathryn and her husband, Nino, will be worried sick.” She smiles sweetly.
“Yes ma'am.” You say before walking off. The lobby is quiet as usual. You push open the glass door and walk into the bright sunlight. Your phone vibrates in your pocket. You look to see just how many calls you've gotten today. You sigh when you see that Leslie and Kate have been taking turns trying to call and message you. Other cast members from SNL have even sent you texts. Kate had given you their numbers and yours to them, in case of an emergency. You don't open any of the messages or answer any of the calls. You shove your phone back in your pocket and begin walking on the busy sidewalk. You hate the hustle and bustle of New York, but you have to get away before Kate sees you. Tears fall down your face as people bump into you and continue on their way. You continue to walk in a straight line for who knows how long. You don't bother to look at the time on your phone. You pause when you see the sign for the park Leslie had once told you about. It is nearly five miles from your apartment. You stand in front of the sign, noticing the aching in your legs and just how tired you are. You walk into the park and sit on a nearby bench, allowing yourself to zone out and shut down.
“What the fuck is wrong with you, bitch?” A loud voice to your left causes you to jump. You realize you are crying and the sun has gone down. You look around for the source of the voice, but find no one. You rub your tired and sore eyes. A lone lamp illuminates a small circle around you. “Bitch, I know you can hear me.” The voice says again, but from the right of you. You register it this time, you know who it is.
“L-Leslie?” You whisper into the darkness.
“You're so fucking stupid. Come on.” She growls, this time from behind you. You slowly stand up, trying to figure out where she is. As your legs stretch, your left calf decides to cramp, causing you to quickly fall to the ground as the pain shoots through your leg. “Only you are stupid enough to walk this far and not stretch or anything.” Leslie grumbles. You stiffen as you feel someone pick you up. “You need to relax or it'll hurt worse.” You can't relax, you're tired and stressed and numb and drained and scared and sad. Leslie carries you to her car and places you in the front seat. She walks to the other side of the car and gets in.
“Are we going to your place?” You ask quietly.
“No.” She says.
“Where are we going?”
“I'm taking you home.” She begins to drive.
“What home?” You sigh defeatedly.
“Where you live with Kate and Nino.”
“But she broke up with me.” You whisper. “She hates me. Not that I blame her. I hate me, too.” Leslie is quiet. “I'm a horrible person, I'm not romantic, I'm by no means pretty or cute, I shut down easily, I get overwhelmed, I'm not fit for society. Leslie, I can't remember to eat half the time let alone be a good girlfriend. I was dating the Kate McKinnon, the most beautiful girl on the planet and I blew it by being stupid.” Leslie is quiet. You don't say anything else.
“You're a dumbass.”
“You're a dumbass. You're selfish, you don't think, you're impulsive, you forget about other people, you don't understand that you affect everyone around you.” Leslie says sternly.
“I know.” You sigh.
“She didn't break up with you.” Leslie says. She hits a button by the steering wheel and the lights in the car turn on. She gestures to the back of the car. You turn around in your seat and see Kate passed out in the back. Her phone is still in her hand, it's open to your contact information. Her makeup has run down her face. Her eyes look like they've been rubbed raw and her hair is all over the place. She looks defeated and broken, you've never seen her so broken before.
“I don't understand, Leslie.” You whisper, guilt consuming the pain. Your calf is still throbbing, but you ignore it.
“She fired Jack, the guy who is supposed to do her accounting.”
“Jack.” You repeat slowly, trying to remember the familiar name.
“Kate wasn't too upset when she realized she sent the message to you on accident until you went fucking MIA.” You look at Kate's sleeping face. “She called you as soon as she realized it but when you didn't answer, she started to panic. She called and called, she had me call and call, she had some of the others call and call. We took turns calling and messaging. Kate and I even left work early to check on you. Kate became distraught when you weren't at the apartment and then some old lady told her you ran away and she became inconsolable. We searched a two mile radius for you on foot and found nothing. We drove around in my car for a good two hours before she fell asleep from exhaustion. I decided to look here as a last resort and found you on a fucking bench.” You face foreword and are silent as Leslie drives you and Kate home. She pulls onto the curb in front of your apartment. As she does so, Kate wakes up.
“What if she never comes home, Les? What if we never find her?” Kate asks groggily, tears reforming in her puffy blue eyes. Her words hurt you, and they should. You didn't think things through or wait for an explanation.
“I tend to turn up in odd places.” You force a slight smile to her as you turn to face her. Her eyes light up and a smile forms on her face. She covers her mouth with her hands in shock.
“You're here! Oh my god, where have you been? Are you alright? Why did you go? What the fuck is wrong is wrong with you? Why does Mrs. Owen call you Gertrude? Why the fuck did you leave? I hate you so much right now but I'm too in love with you to care!” Kate rambles. She flings herself at you and wraps her arms around your neck, burying her face in your shoulder.
“I'm sorry.” You mumble as you wrap your arms tightly around her. You caused so much trouble today, more trouble than you're worth.
“Lets get you two inside.” Leslie interrupts as she gets out of the car. Kate does the same. You carefully get out of the car, trying to ignore the pain in your calf when you move it or apply pressure. The three of you walk to the front door.
“Why are you limping?” Kate asks.
“Dumbass here walked five miles to a park without stretching. Her leg cramped up, she'll be fine in a day or so.”
“Good.” Kate says. You can't read the emotion behind her response. The three of you walk to the elevator and the door of your apartment in silence.
“I'll see you tomorrow, baby.” Leslie says to Kate. “I'll see you at your funeral.” She says to you with a smile before walking off.
“Get inside.” Kate growls at you. You obey. You limp into the apartment and set your backpack by the door. You sit on the couch, not looking at Kate. She stand in front of you. “Do you have any idea how worried I was? I left work early to make sure you were alright! You are so immature to think that I'd break up with you like that! What is wrong with you?” She yells, letting everything out. She continues to yell until the neighbors above you stomp on the floor. She sighs. “Get ready for bed. You're sleeping on that couch because I don't have a doghouse for you.” You limp into the bedroom and put on an old shirt and shorts. You grab the pillow from your bed and walk into the living room, Kate has disappeared into the kitchen. You lie down on the couch and close your eyes. About one hundred and ten pounds of woman landing on you knock the breath out of you and startles you.
“K-Kate…” You wheeze.
“I'm sorry.” You cough, getting your breath back. “I'm sorry I'm such an idiot and I don't think and I don't plan and I don't ask questions. I'm sorry I didn't answer the calls of texts and I'm sorry I caused so much trouble and ran off.” You say quickly. She looks at you and smiles softly.
“I know. But you're still sleeping on the couch.”
“Why are you on me?”
“I didn't say you'd be sleeping on it alone.”