It had been months since I last saw her. She had lounged on my bed, naked and her hair fanned around my pillow. She laughed and grimaced simultaneously as I teased her mercilessly with kisses.
Now I watched her enter under the doorway, illuminated by the golden glow of fairy lights. There were copious amounts of tiny electronic lights everywhere; the golden bulbs filled empty fishbowl jars, framed the edges of fridges and lined pin boards. This dimmed setting already looked like a clichéd filter. It was already so Instagram-worthy.
She smiled and beamed with open arms at old mutual friends – one whom she had purposely lost touch with. I will admit that their distancing was partly due to my actions, but at the time she did not seem strung up at all. She didn’t even cry like I had expected her too.
On that day, my phone had buzzed under the pillow. We were in a post-sex doze. I turned so I could throw the phone away, but suddenly she snatched with the speed of a chameleon’s tongue, giggling because she thought she was so funny and so cheeky. I loomed over her, panicking. But at the sight of her sobering face, I realised that it was never just a game.
The night was still young and the party continued. I had unfortunately ended up on the sofa, small talking with a bespectacled, drunk hipster. To my chagrin there was no one else to talk to, so I humoured him. All the while I listened and watched attentively for the moment when she would fail at ignoring me. She would glance at me, and then with a furrowed brow she would whisper to a friend and leave the party.
The hipster was sick- not on me thankfully. The hostess marched over and told me to clean up after my friend. My protests fell on deaf ears as the mop was forced into my hand and a bucket placed at my feet. The humiliation was unfair and bitter as people mocked and laughed. Underpinning all of this shame was her stare that burned my back. I felt the condescending, pitying and triumphant nature of her gaze. With an overwhelming sense of pride, I turned to confront her. However, I was cut short. My breath was stuck in my throat like a plughole. She wasn’t even looking. A guy had walked up to her and leaned down to kiss her. The kiss was over in an instant, nothing too daring yet she flushed with embarrassment when he had pulled away. She caressed his cheek gently like she had caressed mine.
I hated how much she smiled that night, but I realised that when that ugly, fat grin of hers turned to me, I loathed it so much that I kind of loved it.