Nervously I said my name, "I'm Maureen...I don't have...I just need to talk. I'm with them." I nodded my head over to Mimi, Roger, and Collins. My hands were wrapped firmly around the seat of my chair. For some people, holding hands helped. Not me. I kept my head down. It was almost impossible to look at the people in the seats surrounding me. This was my second life support meeting. The first one I attended was right after Angel's death, two years ago. In those two years, the faces of the people in this circle had changed so much. I must've completely zoned out because, without any warning I felt someone touching me, lightly shaking. My ears suddenly began to work again just as I heard Mimi whispering.
"Mo...Mo! He asked what's wrong..." Worry had filled her large brown eyes. It was so hard to look at her. She was decaying before my eyes. There were somedays I just didn't want to wake up. I didn't want to spend another moment with her, or Collins, or Roger. I knew that each moment added up to more pain in the end. That pain was the hardest to deal with. I couldn't confide in any of them. That would be so selfish. Compared to them, my pain and distress was nothing. Nor could I come here. These people deserved more then that. I probably shouldn't even come at all. With a sigh, I tore myself away from my thoughts and back to the reason I'd come.
"My...My girlfriend Joanne broke up with me..." I could feel Mimi stroking my shoulder, I shrugged away from her and she stopped. Out of all the people in this room, the thought of Mimi, Collins, and Roger hearing what I had to say was the hardest to deal with.
My eyes were still glued to the ground when I heard a man say "I'm sorry to hear that." He was trying to sound caring, but I could tell he was a little envious. That was such a small problem compared to his. As guilt filled the emptiness I felt, I made a decision I never expected to make. I decided to tell the truth. The whole truth. To all of these people.
"...She broke up with me because..." this part hadn't even been heard by my friends "...she found something...a pregnancy test in the garbage." I could feel my throat swelling with tears. If only it would swell entirely closed. That would be such a relief. The room got very silent. I knew all of them were trying to figure it out. The ones who didn't know me or Joanne were probably trying to think back to make sure I'd really said girlfriend.
No one had any commentary this time. Sighing deeply, I continued. "I...uh...I did say girlfriend...You're not mistaken." Another deep breath. Act, just act. I told myself. You act for a living. You can do this. It's easy. There were so many more people at your last performance. It didn't work. This was my story. Not a script. This was my life. That realization only made me feel worse. "...I didn't cheat on her." The first tear of the day rolled down my cheek. I quickly wiped it away, but it still left a moist trail on my skin. "She thinks I did...That's why she....I'd never cheat on her. I never have...I'm an ass sometimes...but I've never..." The words weren't coming right. That was another reminder that this was real life. No script. Since my words were failing me, I decided to start fresh. "I can't blame her...for thinking that. I always acted like...Like I wanted someone else...I never meant to hurt her....I just...I needed her to come back to me. I needed to know she wanted me... I never was going to actually cheat on her...." Mimi was loosely stroking my fingers. I could only guess that she was trying to make me let go of the chair. Her touch was only hurting me more. Only reminding me that people were here. People were looking at me confess my pain and weaknesses. I moved my chair away. Probably no more then an inch.
"I'm sorry, I know this is very hard for you" began the man, who's name I believe is Gordon "but I'm not really following. If you didn't cheat on your girlfriend, then why was there a pregnancy test in the garbage?"
The full extent of my tears poured down my cheeks. For exactly nine days those tears had been locked away. Nine horrible days, away from Joanne. Nine horrible days, knowing I broke her heart. "I was raped." I could barely understand my own words. My chair slid across the floor till it was next to Mimi's. I could hear her bracelets graze the chair as she pulled her arms up through the space between the two chairs. Not long after that, I felt her arms around me. She pulled me into her and wouldn't let go. I didn't fight. "She doesn't know." I choked out. "She doesn't know." I repeated. Every eye in the room was focussed directly on me. I could feel it.
"I'm very sorry to hear that." Gordon said politely. I was almost surprised to hear traces of genuine caring in his weak voice. "Does anyone have any words of support or advice?" He asked. No one spoke. I couldn't blame them.
"I think we should go now. Okay, Chica?" She whispered in my ear. I cringed when she called me 'Chica'. Angel used to call me that same name. I didn't respond, but I felt myself rising up into the air. Against my cheek, I felt warm, soft leather. Roger's jacket. I forced myself to keep my eyes away from him and everyone else. I refused to see the pity I knew they all felt for me. He turned to face everyone else, and avoiding their glances got to hard. Closing my eyes, I tried to pretend I was somewhere else.
"I'm sorry, Gordon. We'll see you next week." I heard Collins say. "Bye everyone." A dreary chorus of byes followed.
"Bye. Good luck everyone." Mimi said next.
Roger didn't speak, but I could feel his body move slightly. He probably just nodded or something.
Once Roger started to walk, I tried to force myself to think of anything aside from what had just happened. It was impossible. I couldn't believe I'd opened up in front of so many people. The thought made me sick to my stomach. I tried not to concentrate on that. The walk back to the loft seemed to go very quick. I was glad. I heard the large door slide open. Then I heard Mark stumbling over.
"Oh my god...What happened?" He asked. I could tell by his tone he assumed I was sick or hurt.
"I'll explain it later." Roger answered solemly. I was thankful. Hearing his explanation would be like watching a slow motion replay of today's painful events. I felt myslef being lowered. And then, I felt soft fabric and a blanket covering me. Three sets of footsteps thudded out of the room. I heard the bedroom door shut and the footsteps end.
Slowly, I opened my eyes. Crap. I'd forgotten Mimi was still here. I looked around to figure out where they'd put me. I was laying on the couch, and now Mimi was sitting besides me. "Hey, Honey." She said softly. My first thought was 'Honeybear'. All of my thoughts went straight back to Joanne.
"I'm so stupid." I grumbled before closing my eyes again.
"You are no stupid. You're very strong. Not many people could handle half of what you've been through recently." I didn't know whether that was true or not. She seemed to believe it, but I wasn't convinced I did. "...I'm sorry, Mo...I'm only asking this cus I...I just need to know...The test... was it positive?"
"No." I answered flatly. Relief washed over Mimi's face. I was almost shocked she cared that much.
"Good. I'm glad." Mimi smiled sadly, running her fingers through my hair. I tried to pull away, but she didn't stop this time. "Joanne loves you." The words stung. "I'm sure if you just explained this to her, things would be fine again."
I wasn't in the mood for this conversation. "No. Things will never be fine again. I will never be fine again. And I don't know if Joanne will want to deal with that."
"I'm sure she wouldn't care. Why do you think she would?" Mimi asked, a mixture of curiosity and hurt in her eyes.
"I don't know if I can ever be myself again. I don't even know if I could face her again." Before she found the test, we'd fought a lot. Joanne kept getting mad that I wouldn't kiss her, or cuddle her, or anything. I couldn't help but wonder if maybe she wouldn't care. I wanted to believe that. I wanted to believe a lot of things. But I couldn't.