Friday 23rd January 2009by Tina
I’m not affected, I’m not affected. I don’t care.
This was Carla’s mantra after that last conversation with Tom. She struggled to control her thoughts and won on the first day, but after the first unguarded thought the morning after, she lost the battle. She ranted like mad to Julie, who listened with a sympathetic ear, but turned and smiled at Tom whenever he’d ask her about something or talk to her or even tell her about his dates.
Why should she care anyway? Why does it matter so much? It’s not that she was her boyfriend, or he’s dating her. And even if he was dating her, it’s not like she has any right to be annoyed at that since they were not exclusively dating anyway.
So was he dating her? During those times when they would go out and talk and do other things together, were those dates? Or were those just…well, friendly things?
But what about the flower?
What about that “romantic moment”?
And why did he ask her that favor and won’t tell her why if she wasn’t involved in it somehow? Did he date Anna and Chesca before and then things got bad so he couldn’t talk to them? Was she a part of the conflict? Why would he ask her to do that and not tell her why if she’s not involved somehow?
So was Tom a user? Was he just using her?
All these thoughts ran through Carla’s head. She kept a wary eye on Tom’s name on the messenger, which always shows up in her list at exactly nine-thirty in the morning. She forced herself not to be the first to message him, but of course that did not stop Tom. He still buzzed her every now and then, and Carla, playing the role of a friend, would talk to him and eventually ask him about how he is and would end up talking about his dates and his philosophies about it.
“I know this seems so masochistic…but I like listening to him about it,” Carla told Julie one day. She made a face at Carla when she heard it.
“Why? Carls, that’s really such a martyr thing to do.”
“No, I’m not being a martyr,” Carla said. She paused and thought a little, then she added, “Okay, so maybe a little. But it’s like this. I like him…and I know I’m not one of his dates, but he’s still my friend.”
“That sounds martyr-ish to me.”
Carla stopped and tried to organize her thoughts. “It’s like this. It’s like…I don’t want to stop talking to him because there really is no reason not to. He didn’t do anything to me; he did not even know what I was feeling. So if there’s anyone at fault, it’s me.”
Julie rolled her eyes. “Oh Carls, he’s really just not good for you. Just quit it.”
“I can’t,” Carla insisted, her voice tightening. “I’m not hoping to have a chance with him anymore, but I won’t quit on this friendship.”
So was it really friendship she was just looking for?
One day a few weeks later, Carla was at work, she clicked on her messenger list out of habit and was surprised to see that Tom was not online. She looked at the clock and saw it was already almost eleven. Strange.
She figured Tom could just be on leave that day, so she let it be. However, the next few days, she didn’t see Tom online or around the office either. It wasn’t until she got a message from a common friend who was looking for him that she decided to call him.
There was no answer in his landline or his mobile.
Now Carla was worried. Where is Tom?
The next day it was still the same.
On the third day of his non-answering, Carla finally gave in and sent a text message:
Hey Tom! Where are you? And why aren’t you answering our messages? Hope you’re okay, I’m getting worried about you.
She sent the message and prayed hard that she’d hear from him soon.