Kate sat at the edge of the front-most pew in an empty church. The same church that her best friend, Jemma, would say her vows later on that day. It was a chilly morning, and the church’s hollowness made it even chillier inside. She clutched on to her jacket and zipped it up to her chin. Jesus hang on the cross in front of her, with nothing but a small cloth tied around his waist and a thorny crown– He was unaffected by the chilliness.
Kate had come to talk to Jesus. Her soul was heavy-laden with guilt and her mind was torn from the difficult choice she had to make. She sat there, staring at Jesus and whispering prayers, a tear rolling down her cheeks in between her whispers.
Two months ago, Kate had invited her closest friends, Jemma and her boyfriend, Will, over for dinner. It’s been long since we hang out, she had said on their group chat, Dinner at my place, Friday 9pm.
Kate’s cooking had always been A1. Friday was no exception.
Will had arrived first. He smelled amazing. As usual. And he had a new haircut. He had joked that that was the new haircut he’d rock as a married man. They both laughed.
After pleasantries, they both received a text from Jemma, that she’d be late and that they should start without her because she didn’t know how late she’d be. And so they did.
Elated chitchat filled the room. That and Will’s new musk. The smell of a suave man who has shit together, Kate had thought.
They ate and drunk and moments later, they were drunk as a fish. They had already called Jemma twice and asked her to hurry. Jemma was still in the office.
What’s that new cologne you’re using? Kate asked in a slur.
212 VIP. Jemma bought it for me. It’s nice, sindio? He asked.
It is. Y’all are a cute couple. My favorite couple, actually.
Haha. Don’t make me blush. Whatever happened with that guy you were dating, the one with the blue Impreza? Will asked.
We broke up like a week ago.
Oh, too bad. I kinda liked him.
Yeah. I’m now 30 and single and my best friends are getting married at 28. I think I’ll die alone. Kate said in a sad, about-to-burst-into-tears, voice.
Don’t say that… You know, there’s someone at work I can set you up with. Will offered after a brief awkward silence
Is that what my life will be, setup after setup with no lasting relationship? She asked before breaking into tears.
Will moved forward, to comfort her, to tell her everything would be fine. He held her in her arms, her head on his warm beating heart, as she sobbed bitterly. He knew there was nothing he could say that would stop her tears. So he just held her silently, staring at the muted TV illuminating their faces.
And then the sobbing stopped, and she sat up, still in his arms. They looked at each other, their faces getting closer and closer to each other. His new amazing smell firing up her loins, and drunken horniness firing up his. They were so close now they could smell the wine off each other’s breaths. They knew what they were about to do was wrong. But they couldn’t stop themselves. They closed their eyes as their faces kept advancing, attracting each other like magnets. Their lips brushed and they both pulled back, reluctant to participate in this grand act of betrayal to Jemma. But that didn’t prevent the inevitable from happening.
When they opened their eyes, they were both naked and heaving in bed. Kate’s alarm clock read 12.19am. She faced the other side and cried again. She’d betrayed her best friend in the worst way a friend could.
She had asked God for forgiveness so many times before today. She had asked Him to take her back to that night so she could undo what she did. She had cried on so many nights after that as she prayed. But nothing could undo sleeping with her best friend’s fiancée.
Will had been so composed through the days leading up to this day. He had called up Kate for lunch so she could convince her not to tell Jemma. He’d put up a compelling argument, that there was no point in telling Jemma because it meant nothing to both of them. That it was a mistake. A blunder. A slip of the tongue, if you will. He’d said that it didn’t make him love Jemma any less. He had said it changed nothing. Kate had agreed, but it didn’t take away the guilt she felt. It actually became worse as time went by. It was at her worst when Jemma asked her to be her maid of honor.
Now, she sits at the pew talking to the crucifix, wondering how she’d tell Jemma her sin. How she would sever the only close relationship she’d had.
After an hour, she left the church having made a decision. She sat in her car and began texting.
Hi Jemma. I know I’m terribly late for the face make-up session but I have to tell you something. Remember that Saturday night I invited you and Will over for dinner at my house? That night you were tied up at the office and eventually cancelled?… Will and I slept together that night. I am really really sorry. Please forgive me. She typed as tears fell on her screen.
There’s nothing I can do that can change what I did to you. The guilt is too much to bear, that’s why I broke down when you asked me to be your maid of honor. I’m sorry, Jemma. I’m begging you to forgive me. I’m sorry to tell you this on what is supposed to be the happiest day of your life. She paused to cry some more.
I’m sorry I’ve ruined the happiest day of your life.
She sent it and sped off, overwhelmed with guilt, fear, and sadness. She kept glancing at her phone to see if Jemma would call. Part of her wanted her to Jemma to call because that would mean there was some prospect of reconciliation. The other part was absolutely terrified to speak to Jemma because she was afraid to face her.
When Jemma failed to call (or text) back, her deepest fear started to creep up from the gutters of her wretched heart. The fear of being alone. The fear of losing her best friend forever. She burst out crying and cried until there were no tears left to cry. She hit rock bottom.
She made a sudden U-turn, seemingly having made up her mind.
As she approached an enormous bridge, she held her foot down on the gas pedal, let go of the wheel and unlocked her seatbelt.
She heard a lot in these last moments. The purr of her powerfully accelerating engine. Honking from irate drivers. Horrified screams from pedestrians. The loud scraping sound of metals as she rammed into the rails of the bridge… And buzzing from her phone. She caught a quick glance at it. It was Jemma.
She tried to pick it but it fell from her grasp as she free fell into the vast ocean. SPLASH!
She hit rock bottom.