It's hard to believe it's only been a week since Enid appeared at your door.
In some ways, it's like it always was. You've seen her every day since. You imagine you'll see her every day for a long time to come. Does she tell you what happened to her while she was gone? No. But you wouldn't expect that. It's not like you guys ever had big, confessional, heart-to-heart type of crap conversation, anyway. It's always been kind of like this. Just being together. Just sitting side by side.
She's staying at her dad's. You were relieved when she didn't ask to stay with you. Well, relieved and hurt, more like. In some ways you don't even want her out of your sight. You want to shake her, almost, and make her promise she's not going to do it again, that she's not going to run away, but you don't do that. Enid would hate it. She'd say "God, Becky, get the fuck off me!" But maybe that would be better than this, this kind of weird whatever this is, so weird. Because you never ever felt uncomfortable with her before. Not like this. The silences are really there. Before it was just, you know, two people who didn't have anything to say. But now, now it's like there's a whole speech she wants to make, but she just won't. And it makes you want to shake her again, just fucking go at her, tear her up and get at it, make her give it up, whatever it is that makes her seem so broken down. Shit, you still remember, remember exactly how it felt when she told you she despised herself. You remember the passion in her voice and you thought to yourself 'shit, to feel like that, that much, even, even if it's hate, it's still so much, it's something'. She never seemed tired, like this. Worn down, you never would have, you would have said it would have been you. Of course, you. How can it be her? Shouldn't it be you? What was it she said once? That she felt like she always had to tell you what to do? Yeah, it was kind of like that, back then. She was the one who decided what you would do, how the hours were going to go. She even had Josh first.
Josh. Does it all come back to Josh?
You told her earlier today that you couldn't stay any longer at the Diner. You had to go to the salon, you were going to get a manicure and a pedicure and it was almost like back then when she said "Oh, fuck that, Becky. I can do your fucking nails. Don't waste the money." Because Enid would never say "Don't go, Becky. I feel low, Becky, I feel lonely. Don't go." But you think maybe that's what she meant.
So now, you're here, sitting on the edge of your bed, your feet dangling down into her lap, and she's painting your toenails pink. "You're such a girl," she said, when you handed her the polish. "Bubble gum pink, kiss my ass."
"I like it," you said.
"You're an idiot," she said.
The quiet's not so bad when there's something like this to keep you busy, preoccupied, you can pretend it's not a big bad silence, it's just like this. Just like this and actually it gives you a good excuse to look at her, because you can't help looking at her, because she looks different. She looks younger, actually. She stopped dyeing her hair and it's light brown and a little wavy and long. So long that it falls past her shoulders and she doesn't wear make up anymore, so when you look at her, you find yourself staring at the freckles on her cheeks. She is pretty. It seems like you didn't appreciate that before. You always knew you were pretty, you always thought you were prettier and that seemed important, to be prettier. But now how you look, well, just right now, now when you look at her all that matters is that she is pretty. You don't care how you look. And you don't think about how you feel, because when you look at her, she looks unhappy and what fills your attention is wanting to know why she's not happy and if maybe you might be able to make it better, somehow. Shit. You're reading too much into it. She's fine. She'd laugh at you if she knew you were worried about her. She'd be like, "Oh my god, Becky. You are so retarded and melodramatic." Except, maybe she wouldn't. Because you're not eighteen anymore. You're not kids anymore. So, you just say it. It's not like she hasn't called you an idiot a million times before. "You ok?" you say.
She's on your right pinkie toe, and she finishes it, and that's the last toe, and she caps up the bottle and goes to put it on your dresser and you just watch her. She comes and sits beside you again and doesn't say anything, just looks at her hands. Even her glasses are different. Plain wire frames. No more groovy cat eyes.
You don't think she's going to respond, and you start feeling awkward, and mad, and that's when she turns to you. "Did you miss me, Becky?"
"Oh my god," you say. You're shocked that she could even wonder. "Yeah. Enid, you're my best friend. I thought about you almost every day."
She looks relieved. "I'm sorry about Oomie."
Oomie was your Grandmother. She died a year ago. The three of you spent hours over the years, sitting together on the couch and watching TV, just passing the time. "Yeah. It was hard. But Josh really helped." You don't know if it's ok to mention him. You don't know, but how can you not mention him? You're both sitting on his bed. Your bed. The bed you share with him.
"It's so weird," she says, and she sounds angry again. "It's so weird to be back here."
"Why'd you come back then?" You don't exactly want to sound so mean, but what the hell, anyway. Fuck her. She's the one who ran away, so why come back if she's just going to hate it same as she did when she left?
"I don't know," she says. "Maybe I shouldn't have. I didn't know you and Josh would still be together."
"Oh, so this is about Josh? You want him back or something? Get over it, Enid. You had your chance."
"No," she says, loudly, pushing up off the bed and glaring at you. "God, don't you understand anything, Becky? I just, I thought maybe it could go back to how it was, just you and me." She stands and takes a few steps toward the door, like she's ready to run away from you again, and you could hate her, except that you can't because she turns back around to face you and just stares.
You understand, now, maybe. Maybe, because of the way she's looking at you, you understand that she's as single-minded about you as you always were about her. Maybe she needs to be with you just as much as you always needed to be with her. You stand, too, and walk over right in front of her and for a moment you don't know if you're going to slap her or kiss her, but you don't get the chance to decide, because she does it first, leans in and grabs you and forces her mouth against yours and for just a moment, your lips part and her lips part and it's a real kiss, warm and wet and not the first time either. You've kissed before this, but she always acted like it was just a joke when you were done, like it was nothing real. So when she slowly pulls her lips away and lowers her eyelids, you know it's never going to be anything other than this. Enid not taking it serious, not taking you serious, and eventually, Enid running away. Four years, you think to yourself, four fucking years of not even knowing where she was. And all she has to say to you now is "Sorry." Her voice is just a whisper. "I better go."
She calls you over and over the next day, but you check the caller ID and you never answer. That weekend, you and Josh drive out to the beach. You sit on your blanket, watching the waves, and before you go swimming you pick every last bit of bubblegum pink polish off your toes.