It’s hard living with your best friend. I know this sounds so cliché but it’s even harder when you are living with your best friend and in love with your best friend. That’s the problem Tasha had. It was a big problem. Her and Jay had grown up together since she was about 5 and he was 10. So that’s a long time considering she’s now 19 and he’s 24. They moved in together about a year ago and at first Tasha was so excited. She thought it would be a brilliant chance to tell Jay how she really felt because they’d be together all the time. She didn’t consider how he was in a band so he would be out on tour or abroad all the time. She was mainly alone in the flat which wasn’t what she wanted. She turned to drink. Jay had been in the house a total of 5 nights out of a month and she just hated it. But Tasha had another best friend in life; her grandad. He was always there for her when she needed someone to cry with or laugh with or just for some plain advice. Unfortunately he died 3 months after her and Jay moved in together so it was a hard time for her. As you’d imagine, he was never there to comfort her. Even if they were an up and coming band he still couldn’t get any time off ‘work’ to see her or anyone else. Apparently promotion was a very big thing for a new band.
There was one night that stuck in Tasha’s mind more than anything. It was a one off weekend that Jay had off, she was happy. She had sort of got over Jay, liking him and that. There was still a bit in her heart burning for him though. It was saturday night and Jay had gone out with the rest of the boys in the band but she didn’t mind because she knew he would be coming home to the flat afterwards. It was getting late, around 2am and she decided to wait up for him. The clock was ticking and she fell asleep on the sofa. The sound of giggles woke her up. She ran into her room cause she knew they were not giggles of a man. Especially not Jay.
Jay and this random girl stumbled into the flat, very drunk and reaking of alcohol. Tasha just managed to shut her door in time for them walking… stumbling past her bedroom into Jays which was next door. About an hour past before the banging started. Why it took so long, god knows. But it was loud, and increasingly fast. Tasha put a pillow over her ears as Jay didn’t care for Tasha being in the flat that moment. All he cared for was that girl, and Tasha knew that. Tasha cried herself to sleep that night as all those feeling suddenly came rushing back. It was almost like she could feel them entering her body again.
Jay dragged himself out of bed at 12:30pm the next day. Tasha was sat watching Jeremy Kyle, thanking god she didn’t have a life like anyone on the show, although she didn’t like hers much at the moment. ‘Hey…’ Jay groaned, sitting down on the sofa and lying on Tasha’s lap seeking comfort. Tasha moved away and his head hit the sofa. Not saying anything she got up and walked to the kitchen, pouring what must have been her 3rd glass of wine that morning. ‘Tasha? What’s that?’ She was stood over the kitchen counter so Jay couldn’t see. Quickly she downed the glass and refilled it with water. ‘Water?’ A fake smile plastered over her face as she turned around with the glass of water. ‘I know you had a glass of wine in that. I saw you pour the bottle about 5 seconds ago.’ Tasha sighed. He had found her out again. The time he found out she had been drinking in the mornings flooded back into her mind. ‘J-Jay, please don’t be mad.. I just, need it, okay?’ They spoke for a while and Tasha made some excuse up about how she missed her Grandad. She wasn’t gonna tell him the real reason. Not right now.
Finally Jay stopped bugging Tasha and let her free. ‘Alright, but if you are drinking wine, you know people will be mad with you-’ ‘Yes, alright Jay. You’re never here anyway so what does that matter?! And when you are, you’re fucking some random girl!!’ Jay stood there shocked. He didn’t say anything. Tasha felt regret in her body. ‘J-jay.. i’m sorry..’ Tasha started to well up. She didn’t know if it was the drink or anger that made her snap, probably a bit of both. Jay quietly walked off to his room and stayed there for a while. He came out an hour later, 2 suitcases and a bag on his back. Tasha was asleep on the sofa, empty bottle of wine on the floor and an empty glass on the table. He put his suitcases down and wrote a quick note out to her for when she woke up. A tear filled Jay walked out of the flat, for the last time.
Tasha didn’t wake up until the next day, when the flat had a serious emptiness too it. The note was sat waiting for her next to the empty glass. She slowly picked it up.
”Tasha, i’m not sure how to say this.. but, here goes. Things aren’t working out are they? We never see each other and well, I can see you have turned to drink again. I’m not saying i’m never gonna see you again but I can’t be around you when you’re drunk all day. I’m sorry. Your best friend forever, Jay x”
Nathan comforted her with an arm over her shoulder as she lay, sobbing. “Have you and Jay fallen out?” Nathan asked, worried but maybe hopeful. He had liked Tasha since they first got introduced at a band party when Tasha was 17. Nathan never really made a move because he could see how Tasha felt about Jay and that intimidated him. She didn’t know this though so last night was just a bonus in his eyes.
“Y-yeah.. He left yesterday because apparently he can’t be around me anymore.” She sniffed, looking up from her pillow into Nathan’s eyes, searching for comfort.“Who wouldn’t want to be around you!?” Nathan tried his hardest to win her over with his kind words. They spoke for a while, Tasha telling him all about her‘drink problem’ and the reasons Jay left the flat. “There’s nothing wrong with a drink now and again. Drinking’s fun. It makes the problems go away and make everything seem better.” Nathan smirked cheekily. Tasha looked away and smiled to herself, thinking about how maybe Nathan was right. So many people were trying to change Tasha’s mind. It wasn’t healthy.
The next day, Tasha was alone in the flat. It was 2pm and already a bottle of vodka was gone. It was like she was immune to the stuff because she didn’t feel drunk in the slightest. It went down like water.
Her phone buzzed. It was her daily text from Jay. She sighed as she began to read.
‘Do something good with your day Tasha. I heard all about what happened with Nathan cause he’s just been round for a coffee. Please don’t spend the day drinking, moping about in the flat alone.’
What was she meant to do that was productive? She threw her phone on the coffee table and lay down on the sofa, holding her head.
She thought about what she could do to make Jay happy by being productive. She didn’t know why he even cared. ‘If he cared, he would have stuck around. Where was he even living anyway? Probably with that blonde bimbo he brought round to the flat that night.’ Her thoughts were overwhelming her and she started to tear up again. These were the times when she would get the bus and go and visit her granddad for a hug and some kind advice but she couldn’t anymore.She stared for a while at a bouquet of flowers on the coffee table that were about to go brown and crumble away. She thought about how they could go to better use and her thoughts lead her to visiting her granddad’s grave. Without a second thought she got up off the sofa and changed into a day dress and her converse. She grabbed her denim jacket, a bag and carefully took the flowers out of the water.
PART 9It took Tasha a while before she could kneel down in front of her granddad’s gravestone. She sat opposite it on a bench, clutching the flowers, staring. ‘In loving memory of Alec Jones. Husband, son, father, granddad. Missed by all who knew and loved him. 1942 – 2011.’ She cried again, slowly walking towards him. He was still there in her eyes, still there to hold her and love her and talk to her. She couldn’t face that he was gone.
‘H-hi pops. I miss you…’ she whispered as she placed the flowers just in front of the stone. ‘Why did you have to leave me? I need you more than ever right now…’ she sobbed, imagining her past shared with him. ‘I’ll come visit whenever I can. I’ll come and talk to you. I promise. I love you forever, best friend.’ Her own words choked her and she stood up, grabbed her bag and ran.
When she reached her empty flat it was hard for her to admit to herself that this is where she was in life. No family, no friends. She was alone and that was her worst fear. She pushed people away involuntarily. Grabbing a bottle of wine from her bag, freshly purchased from her run home, she thought about how her granddad would be so disappointed with her turning out like this. She didn’t care. She downed the bottle in one then threw it at a wall so it smashed. Mascara ran down her face and onto her neck. She needed someone to care for her, and fast.
A knock came from the door, disturbing Tasha from her slumber on the sofa. She wiped her eyes and went to answer. “Hey!” Nathan was stood there. Slightly disappointed; she ushered him in. A girl followed. Medium length wavy brown hair, wearing a black lace vest top and American flag shorts.“Tasha, this is Ashleigh. Ash, this is Tasha.” Nathan beamed, almost proudly.“Hi…” Tasha waved sarcastically. “So, are you two friends or?…”
“Well, we’re actually dating.” Ashleigh giggled as she wrapped her arm around Nathan’s. “Yeah, we’ve been together for a couple of months now.” Nathan’s words seemed quite stern and harsh towards Tasha and his eyes were staring directly into hers as if to telepathically tell her something. “Alright, jheez…calm down Nathan. What are you doing here anyway?” Tasha went and sat back down on the sofa. Ashleigh and Nathan followed into the flat and closed the door behind. “Well, I thought it was time you two met. Seen as me and Ash are getting quite serious now, I wanted her to meet all my friends.”
“Yeah, we’ve just been to see Jay. He told us everything” Ashleigh pulled her bottom lip out to Tasha in a patronising way, not meaning to be. “Did he now?” Tasha sat on the edge of the sofa. “So you have a little gossip circle going on about me now do you?” Tasha started to get angry with all three of them for talking about her behind her back. “What? No…he was just worried about you and wanted someone to talk to so Nathan offered Jay his ears for a while.” Ashleigh was too sweet for Tasha’s liking. She was too girly and innocent. “Nathan already knows everything about me anyway.”Tasha stood up, getting more and more angry by the minute. “Tasha…” Nathan looked even sterner than before. “Don’t,” he continued, knowing what she was about to say.
“He went round to Jay’s house and told him everything about us two sleeping together the other night!” Tasha blurted out, shouting slightly.
““W-what?!” Ashleigh’s innocent voice got a pitch higher as she squealed, started to cry and ran out. Nathan looked behind at Tasha. “You bitch. Why would you do that?! This isn’t over!” He ran after Ashleigh, shouting ahead for her to stop, and saying how he was drunk and it didn’t mean anything.
Hours past after the incident and Tasha was falling asleep on the sofa with another repeat of f.r.i.e.n.d.s on the TV. She couldn’t stop thinking about how Nathan said ‘this isn’t over.’ What was he about to do? He couldn’t touch her. He wasn’t like that. He was so comforting that morning in bed. She drifted off at about 3am, not waking up until dinner time the next day. She smelt food coming from other flats and threw up in the front room. She hadn’t eaten for 4 days. Nothing at all and frankly, the thought of food was making her feel like shit.
She reached over to her phone to read her message from Jay.
‘I’m living at Toms for the moment. Well, we’re not busy with the band and stuff. If you wanna see me, I doubt you do to be honest, then yeah… that’s where I am.’
Fuck that’ she thought. He moved so clearly he doesn’t wanna see her. She received another text. It was from her old friend from college. ‘Hey, there’s a college reunion at the city hall next Friday at 3pm –12am. Hope you can make it. Open bar. See you there! X x x’ She sighed. She had a thought about whether to go or not. She did need to get out more and socialise. But then it hit her. Jay went to that college too. He’s bound to be there, to brag about him being in a band and everything. This was her chance to dress up perfectly and make him realise that she was better now. She was a new person.