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For the hell-scape that was high school, Araura had remained convinced that something was wrong with her. She had watched the around her fall into loving, committed relationships with each other and concluded that she was either just unlikable, or far too consumed with her studies to be bothered. She decided that she would be ok with it, for the sake of her friends happiness concluding that high school wouldn’t last, that the people around her would move on as she would. She kept reminding herself that the only thing she had in common with even her closest friends was that they shared a school, some classes and maybe some interests. That she along with her cohort would move on, grow up and get their own lives.
She kept one friend from high school, she couldn’t remember how they met and as far as she was concerned, they had always known each other. This person had continually shown Araura that she was worth trusting, absolutely. She respected her and loved her. Their relationship was as close to romantic as you can get between two women without actually following through. It occupied that weird no-mans-land between the two social worlds. They had built each other up, picked each other up, pushed each other to improve and become better versions of themselves. They could go for weeks and months without saying a word to each other and then when they did catch up for a coffee or dinner, nothing would’ve changed. Araura valued this relationship as the closest she had and would ever have with anyone ever. She had grown more and more attracted to Delia over the years in not just a physical way, but emotionally also. But now it was far too late for either of them to do anything about their feelings for each other without hurting others they both cared about.
She had watched Delia find Jack at university and had watched their relationship develop into a romance that according to social convention should have pushed she and Araura apart. But to Araura’s delight, Delia appeared unprepared to let this happen. At times Araura felt like something of a third wheel, when Jack, with whom she too had developed something of a friendship, tagged along to dinner, or the museum or even a film.
Araura oscillated between being utterly happy for her best friend, and feeling that all too familiar melancholy vague sense that something had to be wrong with her. An intense and aching loneliness for which the only antidote was the company of the closest friend she had ever had. An unshakeable and irrational kind of nihilism surrounded her thoughts about her own singularity as well as Delias marriage and held them there in her mind as two sides of the same retched coin.
She’d watched and shared in their joy as they developed a close romance and had even offered encouragement as Jack confided in her his intentions to propose to her. It was the night of the fire that destroyed her flat and they held a bedside vigil as Delia lay burned and unconscious. Araura had asked him to hold off until Delia was full recovered, unable to shake the irrational belief that he only wanted to because he’d almost lost her. Then he showed her the ring, but agreed, citing she had a good point.
She had been there as Delia had phoned her in utter hysterics some weeks after the fact, having agreed to marry him. She had wished them all the best, and assured her that it was his idea, that she had only encouraged it because she wanted them both to be happy. Delia and Araura had gone out to dinner, latter that week and the ring which Araura had already seen as Jack had shown her, was admired. It had the same understated quiet integral beauty as Delia herself, a rose gold band into which was embedded a single diamond. On Delias finger, it shone but didn’t upstage her.
Araura felt that hot, bubbly ambiguous kind of ache as she watched Delia gaze at the ring, misty eyed. As Delia and and Jack had grown closer, Araura had reigned herself to silence in the interest of her best friends happiness. She was deeply conflicted, the price of ignoring her feelings for her for so long in the curtain knowledge that they were unrequited. Making them known she was sure would destroy two important relationshps. A life without Delia was unimaginable. She knew she was supposed to just be happy to see her best friend get married to a man she loves. But she found this happiness tainted with a kind of ambiguous sadness that refused to be categorised. She fought hard near constantly not to let her face or eyes betray this.
She had been there, through the wedding planning, had been consulted on a variety of points, from seating arrangements to cakes to most importantly, the dresses. Delia had asked her to be her chief brides maid and Araura had agreed without question. The upshot of this, was that she was consulted on the bridesmaid outfit. Araura had tentatively proposed that since shed be the only one of the bridal party, that she might look better in a suit since she looked rubbish in gown after gown. Delia had only agreed when she saw Araura don the suit. A sleek elegant three-piece which suited her androgynous frame to a tee. Mat black with a silken white collar and complete with a lilac digitalis flower sticking out of the lapel. Delia looked her over as she stood in the store wearing this ensemble in awestruck delight. Her hands clasped together in front of her nose and grinning mouth. Araura had never cared much for how she looked, but remembered that it was nice to have others appreciate her unique style let alone let her embrace it for her best friends wedding party.
On the day before the wedding, Araura lay in bed, staring at her suit, hanging from the hook on her wardrobe door and tried very hard not to dwell on tomorrows service or the job she had as bridesmaid. She was it seemed, caught in the purgatory of those hybrid emotions that she just couldn’t diagnose. Half of her was dreading watching the only person she had ever fallen for, marry someone else, the rest of her was hatting herself for that half, while she yearned to just be happy with them, like any decent friend would. The reality filled her with a sick self loathing as she lay awake, the three piece suit staring at her from her closet door as if to mock her.
She fought against her mind for sleep, standing in the path of her train or thought at every turn like an impregnable wall.
Surly blocking the trains path was exhausting enough to lull her to sleep. She thought to herself bitterly.
It was, and she was asleep with surprising speed.
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