How are you feeling today?
I’m prioritizing self-care and self-compassion (again) today. I NEED it!
One of the things that always makes me feel grounded and connected is sharing my work with you. I never fail to smile when pressing that publish button!
I think Lea might be in need of some self-compassion and care too. 😉
I hope you enjoy today’s excerpt.
Lea did not want to move to Florida. Ever since she had told Emily that they could, a heavy weight had settled on her chest. She didn’t want Emily to know that, of course. She had hidden it well so far.
But now that she was alone for a few minutes, it was much harder to manage the panic creeping up on her. Lea was sitting on a bench by a small lake, waiting for Emily to return from the bathroom.
The afternoon sun hung low in the sky, making it hard to look at the horizon. She could faintly make out the hustle and bustle of the park nearby. Lea squinted at the shimmering water.
“I need to do this for Emily,” she thought. That sentence had become a bit of a mantra in the last few hours. Whenever she found herself on the verge of a meltdown, Lea would remind herself of that excited sparkle in Emily’s eyes.
Lea sighed. There was no way she would ruin this opportunity for Emily. The job at Full Circle Games sounded amazing. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! Emily would be able to use her talents and expertise for a good cause.
Lea already had a job she loved and she could work from anywhere. So how could she refuse Emily this chance? She knew that Emily technically hadn’t even asked her to. She had been the one who had insisted they could move.
Part of her regretted that now. She should at least have thought this through first. But she had seen the disappointment in Emily’s eyes when she had told Lea that the job wouldn’t work out.
Lea just couldn’t stand it. Not after seeing Emily struggle for so long. Plus, Lea had been the one to drag Emily over here. *She* had convinced Emily to meet with Jahani. This was, in part, her own doing.
“I guess I can fly out to see my family every few weeks,” Lea thought, picking up a twig from the ground. She rolled it between her fingers while staring at the water. A pair of ducks swam by.
“But what about Claire?” Her best friend would *not* be pleased. And that was probably a massive understatement. They had been living near each other for so many years now. They were used to dropping by each other’s homes.
Although Lea had to admit to herself that things had already changed. Ever since Emily started staying over at Lea’s more often, Claire had stayed away. Lea usually went to see her at her place now.
Even if they didn’t move to Florida, Lea would have to tell Claire that she and Emily would officially move in together. She didn’t anticipate that going well either. That’s why she hadn’t told her best friend about it yet.
“Why do I always have to choose between the love of my life and my best friend?” Lea thought, feeling increasingly upset. She had felt trapped between Emily and Claire for a while now.
She knew that this too was her own fault in part. She should have made it very clear to Claire that her behavior toward Emily was not okay from the start. But Lea had felt that Claire just needed time to adjust to a new reality.
After a few months, Lea had had to admit to herself there was more to it than that. Claire just wasn’t willing to share Lea’s attention. This was rather shocking to Lea because Claire had never acted this way before.
On the contrary, there had been times when Claire had been the one to drop off the radar without warning. When she had a new lover, some guy she was head-over-heels with, Chaire had the tendency to disappear for weeks on end.
That had been frustrating and hurtful. That’s why Lea had always sworn she wouldn’t do the same. And she really hadn’t. But it seemed Claire wouldn’t be content unless things were exactly as they had been before Lea met Emily.
Well, that wasn’t going to happen. Lea wanted to build a life with Emily. She couldn’t do that if she had to drop everything every time Claire wanted to meet up. If only she dared tell Claire that.
“It’s not fair,” Lea whispered to herself. She snapped the twig in two. It made a surprisingly loud sound and she looked down at her hand, startled. Half of the twig had fallen onto the ground.
She picked it up and inspected its sharp edges. She knew the twig wasn’t alive, but she still felt like she had hurt it somehow. She frowned. What was going on with her? Why was she sitting here, alone, feeling sorry for herself?
Looking back up, Lea saw that the ducks had gotten much closer. Their beady little eyes were focused on her. She smiled back at them, a little embarrassed.
“What do you think?” Lea asked the ducks, squinting at them. One of them quacked back and she giggled.
“Right?” she told them. “I did get myself into a mess.”
The duck tilted its head.
“I need to stop lying to myself and everyone else,” Lea mumbled, feeling lighter immediately. She nodded slowly.
“I will tell Claire about moving in with Emily today,” she told the ducks. “And I’ll tell her about Florida too,” she added.
The brief relief she had felt immediately disappeared. “Because I can’t backtrack on that,” she sighed.
“Backtrack on what?” Emily asked, startling Lea.