I’m sitting against the wall with my knees pulled to my chest, my face buried, rocking back and forth. I keep hearing the doctor’s words run through my mind. “I’m sorry; there was nothing I could do. They’re gone. Your parents didn’t survive. I’m so sorry. Is there anyone we can call?” My parents, they’re gone. The accident that came across the airways earlier today, that was them. The thought never crossed my mind when I heard about the accident. They were not supposed to be there. They were supposed to be in Kentucky for a few more days, settling Nana’s estate. Why were they there on that road at that exact time? Why them? Pain slices through me. Hot tears roll down my cheeks, causing my eyes to burn. I struggle to pull air into my lungs. Feeling a faint touch on my arm, my head jerks up to find the doctor who just sent my entire world spinning out of control. I know he’s talking, but my ears are ringing. His voice and his previous words are on constant replay.
Panic is starting to set in and I need to get away. Josh…I need Josh. Just the thought of him wrapping me in his arms has me springing into action. I jump to my feet and run. I hear the doctor yell my name. I don’t care. I have to get to Josh.
I need him.
I bust through the emergency room’s doors and I’m assaulted by bright sunlight. It’s a clear, beautiful sunny day, even though there’s a dark cloud hanging over me. A cloud of death. My parents, they’re gone. I run straight to the parking lot without even looking; the honking of horns just causes me to run faster. I spot my Ford Fusion, finally on my way to Josh. I fumble with the keys, my hands shaking. I manage to get the door unlocked and climb behind the wheel. Gripping the wheel tight, I rest my forehead against it, closing my eyes trying to gain control of my tears. Taking a deep breath, I start the car and slowly pull out of the lot. I point my car in the direction of the only person who can soothe me, Josh.
Josh and I have been dating for the last year. We met the summer before our senior year at Ohio State University. Josh is an architecture major while mine is marketing and public relations. We both graduate next month. I place my hand to my chest to dull the ache. My parents won’t be there to see me graduate.
Somehow, I’m able to make it to his condo. I don’t remember the drive. Pulling into the lot, my foggy brain suddenly remembers that he is in class for at least another two hours. I contemplate calling him, but decide that I’ll just use the key that he gave me a few weeks ago, when he begged me to move in. Being surrounded by his things will help until I can be with him. He’s all I have now.
Decision made, I make my way into the building and hit the button for the elevator. Once inside, I release the breath I was holding as more tears flood my cheeks. My heart is pounding as I struggle to pull breath into my lungs. His apartment is on the third floor. Almost there. I slouch against the wall and pray that I can make it there without any stops. I’m not exactly up for chitchat. I just need Josh. I need for him to wrap his arms around me and make the pain go away. The elevator dings and the doors slide open. I turn right and make it to Josh’s door. I reach for the handle and turn, not thinking that I need my keys and, well in this case, I didn’t. The door is unlocked. Through the tears and heartache that has taken over me the last few hours, I don’t think anything of it. That is until I look up and see Josh, my boyfriend, with some blonde chick slouched over the arm of the couch. He has a tight grip on her hair as he plunges himself inside of her, over and over again. I stand there frozen, shock preventing me from moving. I hear what I can only describe as a strangling noise, and Josh whips his head toward me. Shit, apparently that noise is me. Josh pulls himself from the blonde.
“Tatum, what are you doing here?” he asks me. He reaches for his pants and hastily throws them on. He pulls a throw off the back of the couch and tosses it over the blonde. The same throw that he and I have snuggled under, made love on.
I don’t answer; I can’t. I can’t pull my eyes from the train wreck in front of me. I want to scream. I want to tell him what a piece of shit he is. I want him to know he let me down, but I can’t speak. My words are stuck. Just two short hours ago, I was notified that I lost both of my parents in a fatal car crash, and the one person who I needed, the one person who I thought could bring me comfort, was just buried five inches, sad but true, into some blonde bimbo. What do you say to that?
“Tatum, are you okay? What happened?” he asks, like he’s concerned. Blondie is just standing there with her lady bits on display looking confused.
Really? “Are you fucking kidding me? Am I all right? You just had your dick in her.” I wave in the direction of the bimbo who is currently holding the throw around her naked body. “What part of this is okay?” I yell.
He moves toward me. “Honey, it’s not what it looks like.”
For every step he takes, I retreat the same. “Stop!” I scream at him. He stops. “How could you? How long, Josh? How long have you been screwing around on me?”
He reaches for me. I smack his hand away.
“You know what? Fuck it! We are through. I don’t care if this was the first time or the tenth; I’m done.” I back up further until I can feel that I’m standing in the doorway. “I needed you.” I say as tears run unchecked down my face. His betrayal slicing me to my core. I am broken, broken and alone.
“Tatum…” Josh says as he follows me to the hallway, reaching for me.
“Don’t touch me! You lost the right to touch me!” I scream.
Josh raises his hands in the air, but he doesn’t back up. His eyes are boring into mine. His are dark and angry. “Tatum, just stop and listen to me!” he yells.
His neighbor, whose name I can’t remember, steps out of his apartment. “Is everything all right here?”
“Mind your own damn business.” Josh growls in reply.
“No, it’s not all right. I’m trying to leave and he won’t let me.”
The neighbor, who has a good two inches and at least thirty pounds on Josh, steps out into the hall and in front of me. “Leave, he won’t follow you.” He tells me. His eyes never leaving Josh.
“T—thank you.” I manage to croak out as I turn and flee from the building. I take the stairs, not willing to wait on the elevator. I stumble a few times through my tears, eventually making it back to my car. I start the engine and pull out of the lot, heading toward home. My parents’ home, where I continued to live all through college. We live right outside of the city limits and my commute to school every day is only thirty minutes. My parents and I were always close, and living at home saves us both money. I’m an only child and they have always treated me as an adult.