I have great pleasure in presenting to you an original, never before seen story, by David Rae.
It is a sequel to my story, ‘Topper’s Shop’.
When Sarah got back to the flat, her roommate opened the door.
“You’re back,” she said.
“Yes,” said Sarah.
“So did you get things fixed?”
Sarah thought for a moment; what things. She couldn’t remember them now.
“I suppose,” she said.
“Good,” said Rachel, and put a cup of tea down in front of Sarah.
“Thanks,” said Sarah.
“Earl Gray,” said Rachel, as if somehow that was important. “Do you want a digestive?”
“Yes please,” said Sarah. And Rachel handed her a plate with two biscuits.
“Is Mike coming round?” asked Rachel.
“Who? Oh, Mike, No, I don’t think so.”
“Don’t you want to talk about it?”
Talk about what, thought Sarah. There was really nothing to say. She put her cup down and looked at Rachel. Why was she so eager to talk about things? Talking never did any good. She and Mike had talked and talked and talked. It had been no good. What good was it? Mike told her all about how he felt, all about how he didn’t love her any more, all about how he’d found someone else. Someone better he had said. Someone who didn’t cry all the time, someone who wasn’t sad all the time. Now she wasn’t sad either.
Words are no use, thought Sarah. All they did was hurt people. Mike had promised to try again, but it had been no good, it had only been words. Sarah had known that. Every word he said just made it worse.
“I think,” said Sarah, “That it is all over.”
“Oh honey,” said Rachel, “that’s so sad.”
Again Sarah shrugged. Was it sad? It seemed as if it didn’t matter. Mike had moved on. And now so had she.
“Could I get a copy of your notes from today’s lecture?” asked Sarah.
“Of course,” said Rachel. She got up and rummaged through her rucksack.
“I’ll never get Sociology,” said Sarah.
“Don’t be silly,” said Rachel, “You got a B+ on your last paper.”
“I guess,” said Sarah.
“We’re going out to Casey’s tonight. Want to come?”
“No thanks,” said Sarah, “I think I need an early night.”
“Of course,” said Rachel, “want me to stay in? I think we have fish fingers in the fridge I could make for you.”
“No you go,” said Sarah. “I’ll be fine.”
“Just need some time to yourself?” asked Rachel. “To think about things. I understand.”
Did she want time to herself, wondered Sarah. She knew she didn’t want to think about things. What was there to think about?
“Are you sure,” said Rachel as she put her coat on. “You know where we are, if you change your mind.”
“Yes,” said Sarah.
“And you’ve got my number on your phone too.”
“I do,” said Sarah.
For some reason, Sarah felt desperate for Rachel to leave. She could feel something rising up inside her. Keep calm, she told herself and took another sip of tea.
Rachel hadn’t been gone long before Mike phoned.
“What do you want, Mike,” said Sarah when she picked up.
“Don’t be like that,” said Mike. “I’m just checking you’re ok.”
Why? wondered Sarah. What would he do if she wasn’t? All he wanted was to make himself feel better. She felt the words coming up in her throat, all of the anger and hurt and then, just as quickly it was gone again. What did it matter?
“Thanks,” she said. And then an awkward silence settled.
“So it’s done then,” said Mike finally.
“Yes, it’s done,” and then more silence.
“Okay,” said Mike, “well, I guess I’ll see you?”
Would she? Sarah didn’t think she would see Mike. He didn’t go to any of her classes and to be honest she didn’t want to see him anyway. But it all sounded so final. So complete.
“Yes, see you around,” said Sarah. Although she felt there should be more words, she could not think of anything else to say.
“I’m sorry,” said Mike.
“Yes, me too,” said Sarah. And then she wondered what Mike was sorry about, what she was sorry about. Things happen and then they’re over. There was no point going over things. She wanted him to hang up and leave her alone.
“Goodbye,” she said.
“Yes, goodbye,” said Mike and then the call ended. For a moment, just for a moment, Sarah wondered if things could have been different, and then she realised she didn’t care. Mike could do what he liked, and so would she. Right now she wanted just to sit and be alone.
Sarah slunk off to her room and lay on the bed. She stared up at the ceiling. Everything was fine. On the bedside table was a doll. Where had that come from? she thought.
She got up and walked over to the doll. When Sarah picked it up, it seemed to fit perfectly into her arms. She held it to her and sniffed. A scent of vanilla and talcum powder. Suddenly she felt empty, as if there were a hole inside her. For a moment there seemed to be two Sarahs standing in the same place.
“I don’t want to,” said Sarah. “I want to stay the same forever. I’m not old enough.”
She put the doll back on the bedside table, and picked up her phone.
“Hi Rachel are you still at Casey’s?” From the background noise of laugher and music, Sarah could tell that she was. “I’ll be there in half an hour. Give me time to change and call a taxi.”
Sarah hung up and rushed to shower. Whatever she had paid Topper, she thought, it was definitely worth it.
For another story that has Topper’s Shop, but not Sarah, read Forget About Me.