"I was your only friend. You got one friend."

Gone Away

We were never meant to be this damn broken
Words were never meant to be this half-spoken

[…]
And all we see has gone away

(Gone Away, Lucy Schwartz)

Harvard University, Mark's room

"Hey, Mark" said Eduardo with his usual smile upon his face, entering his friend's room. His friend, who was obviously at the computer.

"You know Ali, right?" he asked perkily, not expecting an answer from Mark anyway. In fact, the guy didn't show any willingness to speak, so he continued: "The girl that I'm currently dating…? Ring a bell?"

That wasn't his usual smile, though. Mark didn't see it anyways, because he kept staring at the computer. He just mumbled "Mh, no".

Eduardo rolled his eyes. "Alison, Mark" he said at the end, wearily.

"Oh, yeah. Mh" he answered, obviously still distracted by his screen, that was probably more important than the entire world, or anything that could be said.

"Well, she is…" started Eduardo, throwing himself on the bed in a dreamy way "She is… she…"

"… is a girl?" tried Mark pouring out sarcasm.

Eduardo however kept on staring at his back for a moment, not at all amused.

"Thanks, thank you very much for the support" he said ironically.

Finally, Mark turned towards him and looked at him for the first time since he got in: "Come on, Wardo. I have some things to do, that's all".

"Yeah" snorted the other "I can see that. Goodnight" he said at last, getting up fast and going out of the door, slamming it.

Mark kept sitting at his desk, shaking his head while starting again to type on the keyboard.

Harvard University, Eduardo's room

"No, Edd".

"You know that I have to go".

Alison glanced at him for a moment, unsure. Then, with a steady tone, she answered with a sincerity that she didn't expect either: "No, I don't really know".

"Mark said that " started Eduardo, but that time she hadn't the intention of hearing Eduardo blabbing about Mark once again.

"I don't care what Mark says. I care about what you say… and Mark doesn't, instead".

She saw him swallowing with effort and then looking at her, imploring: "Don't make everything harder than it is… please…"

Alison thought that it would have been impossible to not be moved by that look and she limited herself to lower her head, nodding ruefully: "And you think it's easy for me to always have to share you with him?"

"No, I don't… But I have to go, even for myself. And for Facebook".

"Of course" replied Alison, not at all convinced.

"I'll be back soon, Ali, I promise you" he said to her, getting closer to touch her cheek gently with his fingers.

It was a gesture he had repeated lots of times; yet Alison asked herself if he would always maintained that sort of adorable insecurity and nervousness that made his hands shake every time he touched her.

"Mh" she mumbled. Eduardo moved closer and held her tight, putting his lips on her forehead. After a little while, he quietly took his suitcase from the floor and he was about to go out the door, turning to stare at her for the last time.

"You know Wardo is a silly nickname, right?" she said in a childish voice "It's like you are his Teddy Bear".

Eduardo laughed warmly, although that laugh already smelled of melancholy. He took her hand and touched it lightly with his lips; then, after another glance full of meaning, he disappeared in the hallway.

Palo Alto, California

"I'm afraid if you don't come out here you're going to get left behind…"

"There's a reason why I didn't want to come out here, Mark".

In California, Eduardo didn't feel at ease at all: he had been there fifteen minutes top, his shirt was already sticky on his skin and he was already really pissed off. But that was Mark's fault, not California's.

"Yeah, I know, investors…" answered Mark, hasty "However, here…"

"Yeah, you don't get it", jumped in Eduardo, shaking his head "There's another reason".

Yeah, Mark hadn't really understood anything.

"I know, but I" he started again, determined.

"If you only listened to me…!" blurted out Eduardo almost screaming "If you really listened to what I have to say for once, instead of ignoring me…!"

Mark was struck by that reaction and his mouth wouldn't close for a while; then, he said calmly: "I… I'm listening".

"I'm out" answered Eduardo raising his hands in surrender.

"Out… of what?" asked Mark nervously.

"Of Facebook, Mark. I don't want to have anything to do with it anymore" asserted the guy determined.

"But, Wardo, your money…"

Mark realized almost immediately that wasn't the right topic to make him change his mind, so he found himself just mumbling: "The equation on the window… You can't…"

"Of course I can" answered the other curtly.

"Wardo, I don't… You don't underst…"

"There's nothing to understand".

Eduardo smiled at him in a strange way, almost relieved and sincerely amused: "I don't want to be your Teddy Bear anymore".

That said, he left, without even turning around to see Mark dazed expression.

?

"Facebook reached millions of people. It's assessed that Mark Zuckerberg already earned billions of dollars with his invention. His ex-partner and co-founder Eduardo Saverin will probably be kicking himself for not hav…"

"Turn this off!"

"No, wait! I just wanted to hear what you should be kicking yourself for…!"

Alison tried to hide the remote under the sheets, to prevent Eduardo from changing the channel on the tv, but he just said "Bad move!" and started touching blindly under the covers, tickling her. Only when, after a while, they both stopped laughing, the tv was turned off and that guy wasn't talking anymore, Alison said quietly, biting her lip until she made it bleed: "Edd… are you kicking yourself…?

She looked at him asquint, afraid of his possible answer and he seemed to think for a minute. Then, he leaned on his elbow and moved aside a lock of her hair, with the hand lightly shaking:

"Not at all, my love".

In that exact moment, a phone rung. Eduardo leaned over, took his cellphone from the drawer with a sigh and looked at the display.

"It's Mark" he said dully.

"Pick up" said Alison with a weird and amused smile, while she wrapped herself with the sheets and got out of bed, bound towards the kitchen "He's always your best friend, even though I always keep thinking he is just an asshole Teddy-Bears-lover".

Eduardo couldn't help smiling amused while he answered the phone: "Hello?"

"Wardo?" asked Mark on the other end. Then he continued enthusiastic, without waiting for an answer "I thought about something that will get them crazy! Just imagine: what is that one thing that people want to…"

And while Mark went on with his soliloquy, talking in his usual weird way, Eduardo made himself comfortable and smiled happily.

He really was happy: in fact, he was thinking about what he had lost and what, instead, he had kept.

Winding Circles take me back to
The place I knew when I was with you