We could abandon it
Fri Aug 24, 2018 09:28

It felt as though the two of them were incapable of speaking to each other without arguing. Even when they had been friends, they had argued substantially more often than Claudia would consider normal, or even healthy for a close friendship. Usually Claudia wasn’t opposed to a challenging debate, but it always felt so personal when she engaged in discussion with Marley: one or both of them inevitably became upset. Claudia gently swiped her finger underneath each eye and across her cheeks to remove the traces of tears, disappointed in herself for continuing to be ruled by her emotions. She had, however, succinctly explained her own opinions regarding the reasons the two girls were no longer friends, and she awaited the hurtful retort she assumed would be immediately forthcoming.

Claudia was not the least prepared for Marley to apologize. No conditions, no fake ‘I’m sorry you feel that way’, no hint that this was still all her fault. Just an apology. Claudia thought she would have felt more satisfied to have received such a direct acknowledgment that she wasn’t entirely to blame for their fall out, and there was a part of her that was grateful to have received it, but she could also recognize that there was no single offender here: they both carried blame. They possibly could have worked out their differences, but both of them were too proud, too stubborn, too damned emotional to have rational conversations when their opinions differed.

It was acceptable - perhaps even optimum - that Marley’s apology had stunned Claudia into silence, as it allowed the Lyra to have her turn in expressing all she wanted to say. Claudia believed her: she believed that Marley didn’t mean to insult her. In some ways that was worse, because she hurt Claudia’s feelings so carelessly, but the blonde knew that Marley had rarely been intentionally mean to her. She also believed that Marley didn’t remember exactly the conversation they’d had about Teal, because Claudia couldn’t recall it exactly herself, either. She began to doubt her own recollection; had she said something about marriage in relation to Teal after all? It didn’t seem likely, but she had been upset, so perhaps she had made some ambiguous comment that Marley had - as she was wont to do - misinterpreted and applied to herself and Teal? Claudia didn’t know, but it was becoming increasingly apparent that referencing whatever had made them fall out in the first place was unreliable.

It was Marley’s turn to be upset again, and she said - not accusatory, but explaining her perspective; Claudia understood the difference - it felt as though Claudia didn’t listen to her. Claudia felt the same way about Marley. She felt they would be discussing something very serious, or important, or relevant, and Marley would just keep forcing her own opinions on Claudia without taking a turn to listen to another point of view. Perhaps it was possible that they were both guilty of the same infraction. “I guess it really just means I suck at this and I’m an awful friend. I’m sorry,” Marley finished, before turning to scrub away her own tears.

Claudia felt hot, and sick, and a headache was brewing near her temples. She had ceased weeping, but her eyes were still moist. Marley wasn’t necessarily an awful friend - there were lots of things she had been really good at, like giggling at silly things that were only funny to the two of them because of something someone had said once forever ago, and being genuinely excited about even insignificant events in Claudia’s life, and introducing Claudia to ideas and concepts she had never before entertained, and sharing her music, and forgiving her when Claudia hadn’t told her about seeing Connor when she knew Marley liked him. It seemed like a lifetime ago - but Claudia was suffering from hurt too raw to outright deny her self accusation. Instead, she offered, “I’m sorry, too.”

Then a thunderous sound of an obnoxiously and unnecessarily loud motorbike engine roared overhead, causing Claudia to jump and reflexively place her hands over her ears to muffle the noise. “I guess we have to move to the next cubicle?” Marley said tearfully, confirming Claudia’s suspicions that they were out of time without having made any progress on the tent. The conversation was harder to judge: they had taken one metaphorical step forwards, perhaps a couple of steps backwards, and then one tentative step forwards again to be precisely where they had begun, but more upset about it now. “And, can we start over?”

Claudia nodded. She collected their robes and silently passed Marley’s over to her. Wordlessly she exited the cubicle and pointedly avoided looking at the Professor as she collected her wand, only to deposit it almost immediately as the next cubicle along required her to surrender it again. This time there was a bicycle with a burst tire, and a table of tools, which was as irrelevant to Claudia as the tent had been. She had no intention of riding a bicycle, and even if she ever did, she could fix a burst tire with a quick reparo. Any object that couldn’t be fixed with a simple charm, Claudia could afford to replace. This class was pointless, and it would presumably have no bearing on her class grades, and so the fifth year did not care at all about failing. Besides, the far more trying problem here was the girl in the cubicle with her. Claudia almost wished they could go right back to the start again, that she could re-introduce herself, and they could begin over afresh, but she knew that was impossible. However she was now sure that going over their old argument again was similarly fruitless. They needed to try something different if they wanted to be friends.

That in itself was a possible point of contention: did they even want to be friends again? They had both expressed that they had missed each other, but if every time they conversed they ended up arguing, perhaps they ought to settle for distant neutrality, instead? They could progress from negativity to indifference, perhaps manage to work together in class without being emotionally compromised, without needing to reinstate any further commitment to each other. Claudia looked at Marley. She did miss all those things about their friendship. It wasn’t as though she needed Marley like she had before, because she had other friends now, but none of them offered a comparable dynamic.

“I miss talking to you,” Claudia said quietly, once she could stand the silence no longer. “Not the arguing,” she quickly clarified. “I want… I wanted to tell you when Caleb asked me to Pearl Street, and I told him no, but now I wish I’d said yes. I wanted to tell you that I stayed with Connor this summer, in England, and I think I really like him. I think he really likes me, too. And I wanted to tell you that this past year has been absolutely horrific, and I really did want to talk to you but … but I didn’t think you liked me anymore.” There it was: the truth potentially responsible for keeping them apart. Claudia did not believe that Marley liked her anymore. She knew she had committed some acts that to an outsider must seem fairly reprehensible, especially considering the weight added to her perceived wrong-doings by the severity of the punishments inflicted upon her, and Marley had written (in a letter that Claudia still possessed, so she could check its accuracy, unlike their spoken conversations) that she was uncomfortable with things Claudia had done. It had not seemed an especially productive use of her time to attempt reconciliation with someone who might rebuff her efforts; the letters they exchanged last term were evidence to support this theory.

  • And keeps dragging on - Marley, Thu Aug 23 20:39
    It’d probably be super presumptive to say that she had been expecting a “you’re welcome” or even a “thanks for noticing”, because Claudia had never been the type of person to acknowledge the more... more
    • We could abandon it - Claudia, Fri Aug 24 09:28
      • I'm not good at giving up - Marley, Mon Sep 3 22:53
        Ears still ringing (or maybe scratching was a better way to describe it) from the sandpapery alarm, she accepted her robes back from Claudia, noticing as she did so that her hand was shaking a bit.... more
        • Then I have a new challenge for you - Claudia, Thu Sep 6 15:49
          Marley was measurably more enthusiastic about this next task than Claudia. The paler girl stood towards a back corner of the cubicle, out of the way of its practical assignment, and wordlessly... more
          • If at first you don't succeed... - Marley, Tue Sep 11 21:54
            Quickly recovering from the surprise of Claudia requesting to help with the tire repair, Marley bobbed her head, long-ish curls bouncing along with her. “Oh my gosh, yeah, of course.” Laying the... more
            • Give up and go home? - Claudia, Wed Sep 12 15:48
              Manual labor was not something to which Claudia was accustomed. Potions and Magizoobotany had both required her to engage in some unpleasant physical tasks on occasion, but Claudia had not continued... more
              • Yup, that's how the saying goes - Marley, Fri Sep 14 23:52
                There was a moment where she felt a little guilty for her hesitation in admitting she hadn’t forgiven Claudia for her actions against Holland. Well, specifically, not guilty in the fact itself,... more
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