Boundaries

Even though I had already expected this, Joey had been very understanding for my busy schedule and my need to make new friends which made me feel even worse. When I met Lena in class on Thursday I decided that I should ask her what to do, since she had been in a long distance relationship for quite a while and she probably knew how difficult it could be. We endured class and went to get coffee before the next one. „You and Hendrick have been going on for quite a while haven’t you?“ „Yeah 3 years almost, why?“ „Well have you always had a long distance relationship?“ „No actually, only for the past 6 months or something. Why do you ask?“ „Well I don’t know, it just seems so hard with me being here and him being so far away.“ „Are you thinking of ending things?“ „Oh my god, no, not at all.“ I didn’t want her to think that this was what my question was about. „I am just wondering how you handled it. You know him going away, meeting new people and stuff like that.“ „Honestly, that has probably been the easiest part. The most important thing is honesty, you know. Like, he tells me everything that he does, I got to meet most of his new friends and if not he does his best to describe them to me and talk about them and stuff like that so that I feel like I am part of his life.“ That clearly wasn’t what I was hoping for. „Uhm and you never get bored by this, or jealous?“ „Why would I? He knows what he is doing and also I really feel like he wants me to be a part of his life. I know all of his co-workers and friends by name and know what they are doing, it’s almost as if they are my friends. And I mean it’s the same for him with my friends here, he knows all of them. I mean if I was living there I’d probably get to hang out with them anyways so it does make a lot of sense. You just have to find a way of including your boyfriend in your life here. Just like you did with us when we skyped with him.“ „I mean, I get that your situation is a little different with the time difference and all, but basically it’s all the same. It doesn’t work if you can’t or won’t trust each other.“ „I guess you are right.“ I knew she was, which made my stomach twist with guilt.
 
***

When I woke up on Friday morning my head felt like it was about to explode. The throbbing got worse when I moved in any way so I decided it would be best to stay at home and skip the first class until I was feeling better. By midday my throat had started to hurt as well and I thought that I had a fever so I called Lena telling her I wasn’t going to make it in today. „Poor baby, do you need anything?“ „A new head would be nice, but other than that, i am fine, thanks.“ I tried to joke. „I will just get some sleep and if it isn’t any better by tomorrow I might take you up on that offer again.“ „Alright sweetie, feel better soon.“ I managed to fall asleep again despite my wildly throbbing head and when I woke up again it was beginning to get dark outside. I had to call Megan or Ms Schwartz and tell them I wasn’t going to make it in today but I couldn’t reach neither of them so I just left a message with the school’s receptionist. Class wasn’t until 8 on Friday’s so I would probably be able to speak to Megan beforehand anyways.

Around 8. 30 pm, I had settled on my couch with loads of tea and the good American „knock-me-out-instantly“ medicine that I had brought from home, when the sound of the door bell made me jump to my feet. I immediately paid for my impulsive jump by dizziness and a fierce pounding but now that I was up I might as well get the door. „It’s probably Megan“ I thought, opened the door to my apartment and crawled back under the covers that I had dragged to my couch. I heard someone come in the door and close it behind them. „Megan, thanks for stopping by, but I am fine, really.“ „I was so worried about you, how are you?“ It wasn’t Megan, instead I was staring into Sasha’s piercing eyes. „Uhm Sasha, what are you doing here?“ my head was spinning like crazy when I sat up. „I was worried. I had to come see you. What’s wrong with you?“ „Nothing, I am just a little sick. It’s probably best if you just go home now so I don’t get you sick as well.“ „No I’ll stay and take care of you, yes?“ „No Sasha, really.“ He had to leave now. Joey was going to call soon and how was I going to explain this Russian weirdo to him that was nursing me back to health. I had to get up and let him know he wasn’t welcome in my home. I stumbled across the apartment towards the door, where he still stood helplessly with both arms at his side. My legs were shaky and I had to hold on to my furniture but I made it there. „Sasha, please, you have to leave. I want to be alone now. It was very sweet of you to stop by, but I am fine, really.“ I started pushing him towards the door hoping he would finally get the hint. „But let me make you some soup first, please. As a friend?“ „I don’t want soup, all I want is to get back to bed and sleep. Please, I am serious.“ „Ok.“ He said reluctantly. „I’ll help you get to bed and then I leave.“ „No, thanks.“ I opened the door for him and he looked deep into my eyes. „Why are you so afraid of me?“ He looked genuinely upset as he left my apartment. I didn’t even answer. I just closed the door and sank to the floor, my skin covered in goosebumps.

The next morning I was already feeling a lot better, but because I still wasn’t over the hill yet I decided it would be best to spend the day in bed as well. By 12 Megan, Anna and Lena had called and they all said they were going to stop by and even my aunt and uncle asked if they could help in any way. I felt like a baby that couldn’t take care of herself so I told them all I was fine and wanted to be by myself. Apparently that hadn’t registered with them because by 5 in the afternoon they were all there, with movies, soup and tea and gossip from the night before. Megan was the first to arrive and tell me all about Sasha’s weird behavior. „When I told him you were sick and I was going to stop by later, he basically ran out of the school and told me there was no need because he was going to take care of you. I didn’t know you guys were so close?“ she asked. „We are not. He’s really annoying actually, but I think he means well.“ She laughed. „Yeah maybe. I am not sure about him though. He seems very impulsive and rude sometimes.“ „Tell me about it.“ „But he is charming, I have to give him that. And he seems to really care about you.“ „I know that too“ I mumbled, the door bell coming to my rescue. It was Anna with some medicine and food from her parents. Apparently they had told my parents as well so after everyone was gone they called me sounding worried. „Are you ok sweetie?“ „Mom, I have a fever and a headache. I am ok. Don’t worry.“ „Joey told us you had so much on your plate right now and that you were sleeping a lot, are you sure you are ok?“ Why was Joey talking to my parents about me?
"Everything is good, don't worry, ok?" "Ok, I mean Anna told us, that you were going out a lot and met some nice girls so that's really great. We just wanted to make sure you were doing well over there." "Yeah mom, I am." "Great, well your dad wants to talk to you as well, so I'll go get him. We are really proud of you sweetie. Let us know how you feel tomorrow" "Thanks mom, and I will" After I hung up Vicky called as well and by the time I saw Joey's name appear on my screen I was sick and tired to telling people that I was fine. "Hi." I said curtly. "Hi baby, how are you? Are you feeling any better?" "Why don't you ask my parent's? Since you are so close to them nowadays?" I couldn't help it, I didn't even want to sound so pissed. "Look baby, I am sorry, but you just didn't seem like yourself lately. Forgetting stuff, sleeping so much and going out all the time. I was just worried, that's all." "Well don't be." "Babe, please." "Listen Joey, I am tired. I have been explaining myself all day and I just want to sleep. And that doesn't mean I am weird or different it just means I have a cold and I am done being babied for today." He looked miserable but I didn't care. "Bye, I'll talk to you tomorrow. "Ok bye, I love you." I just hung up. I knew they all meant well but I just couldn't stand them anymore.

I almost felt like myself again on Monday morning, but because I still looked a little pale I took extra care when doing my hair and make up in the morning and dressing for the day. At least that is what I told myself. When I walked to my class in the afternoon I started looking around for Sasha's car in front of school. I couldn't see it. I wanted to tell him that I didn't mean to kick him out like that on Friday and that it was actually really nice of him to stop by to take care of me. Before I saw him I could already feel his presence behind me. "Hey pretty lady, feeling better?" He looked great, like he had been sleeping a lot and partying less and the usual Aura of Vodka wasn't there. He came up to me to give me a quick kiss on the cheek. "Yes, I am better, thank you. And thank you for stopping by on Friday by the way, that was really sweet of you." "Of course Emma. I will always be there for you when you need me." "Yes, thanks again. So how are you doing? You look great." I bit my lip. Shit, I didn't mean to say that. His eyes widened in surprise and he smiled. "Thank you Emma, I am doing good. Especially now that I see you." "look I want to make up for being such a bitch on Friday, do you want to get some dinner tonight?" I heard the words escape my lips before I could even think about them. "I would love that Emma." What had I done?

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