Kendra walked through the door just as Annah spoke and she saw him and her. Will and Maxy. How did they sneak in without her noticing? And why on earth did her mother invite Will and Maxy to Fred’s birthday party? What was she thinking?
Maxy, dressed in a long shapeless black dress that Kendra was surprised didn’t hide her bump which looked decidedly bigger than two months old, stood next to Fred. Kendra was confused by so many things. What was Maxy doing next to Fred? And why did she look so pregnant? She looked quite pregnant, like maybe six months pregnant. Which meant the thing between Will and her had been going on much longer than he had made out, it must have started before she and Will broke up. That meant Will had been cheating on her! Could that be? Could Will the Wanker have been cheating on her?
Kendra stopped at the door and glared at the both of them. She didn’t want to be troubled by them but she was. She didn’t want them here. She didn’t want to think about all of this, not now. Not with Asra here and everything being so wonderful.
Her mother noticed her surprise and snuck up next to her and whispered so that she could only hear, “I’m sorry. Fred invited Will; he didn’t think it would matter since you were bringing Asra. I told him afterwards that it mattered, but it was too late. We couldn’t uninvite him. You know how much Will cares for Fred. Sorry.” She rubbed Kendra’s arm and then rushed to the table to stick the fat 55 candle into the cake and lit it.
“What’s wrong?” Asra asked.
Kendra said, “It’s Will and his girlfriend.”
“Where?” Asra asked.
“Over there by Fred.” Asra looked at them for a few moments, Kendra watched him. He didn’t seem affected in the least.
“Don’t worry. Everything is fine. You’re here with me. What does it matter? You’ve moved on.” Asra could see she wasn’t listening she was looking at Will and Maxy standing by Fred near his non-dairy, no flour birthday cake. Asra took Kendra’s face and turned her to look at him. “We’re together now, forget about him. He shouldn’t matter. All that should matter is us.”
Kendra gave him a weak smile. “Yes, of course. Yes, you’re right.”
She held his hand tighter and marched up to the table. “Will, Maxy, I’m so pleased you could make it. This is my friend Asra.”
Will smiled and shook Asra’s hand. Maxy just nodded with an enigmatic Mona Lisa type smile, rubbing her belly like it might give her luck.
“You’re just in time,” Fred said, “Maxy’s about to give me a birthday poem before I blow my candles out.”
“Great… that’s just… great,” Kendra forced out. A birthday bloody poem! Kendra was sure steam was coming out her ears she was so angry. The audacity of this woman! Obviously slept with Will when he was still with Kendra then pitches here with a poem for Fred. “So let’s hear it. I can’t wait!”
Maxy closed her eyes. She took two deep breaths then opened her eyes glaring at Fred. Fred stepped back, slightly startled by Maxy’s intensity. Kendra nearly laughed at how ridiculous she looked. Maxy began.
Life force, birthing
The mortality of the years
Rolling to the inevitable
The death rattle
There was silence for a few minutes. No one was sure if it was over. Being that it was a birthday party, with the crux on party, most hoped for some sort of uplifting ending but it was not to be. Maxy’s poem was indeed over. Fred stood with his arms at his sides and Kendra feared he might cry. She rubbed a comforting hand on his back. Even Will looked uncomfortable which was saying something since he was Maxy’s biggest fan.
Hy stepped forward. “Well… wasn’t that…um… interesting dear. How about we sing now?”
As the 55 candle on the cake burned, everyone sang a muted Happy Birthday, people’s spirits sufficiently dampened by thoughts of their own mortality thanks to Maxy. Fred blew the candle out with little joy.
Despite knowing Asra was wonderful and she shouldn’t give a hoot about Will and his cheating, she did, and as soon as they’d eaten birthday cake, Kendra told Fred she had a headache and she and Asra left.
In the car, Kendra started in again about Will. She was fuming and couldn’t keep her feelings inside. “She’s obviously very pregnant, which means he was cheating when we were together- with her! I can’t believe it! It means his whole long speech about how I was the problem was just a cover, the break-up had nothing to do with me, it was all about her! He is such a jerk, such a huge fat jerk. I can’t believe I spent so much bloody time with him!”
Kendra went on and on until they were at her flat. Asra stopped the car in front of her building, but left the engine running. He’d been very quiet throughout the drive.
Kendra looked at him. “What? So are you coming up?”
“No,” Asra said.
“You want to go for dinner somewhere, a drink maybe?”
“What’s wrong?” She could see something was. They were meant to spend the rest of the weekend together before he left.
“You know what, Kendra, I really like you but I don’t think you’re ready for this. You’re not over Will. I guess I knew that all along but I tried to ignore it because I was so attracted to you, because things were going so well. It’s pretty difficult to continue ignoring it after today.”
Kendra could see he was sad and she felt terrible. She really liked Asra, she’d thought she even loved him and the last thing she wanted to do was hurt him. She felt bad but he was right, Will was still in her head. She couldn’t get past that he had cheated on her, that he was having a baby with someone else not her. Will had hurt her and that hurt still wasn’t healed. What she realised today had torn the scab off and she was bleeding all over again. She was starting to wonder if she’d ever be healed.
“Asra, I’m sorry. I don’t know what to say…I really like you.”
Asra smiled sadly. “I think our timing is wrong. You need to be alone for awhile; you need to get your head sorted about Will. I don’t want to be the second man in your life, I want to be the only man. Once you can say you are over Will, then you give me a call, until then I think I’d like to call it quits.”
He leaned over and kissed her on the cheek. She got out of the car, trying her best not to cry, and watched him drive away. She was sure she just lost the best man who had ever come her way and it was completely her fault.