Ren was the typical girl every man wanted, and every girl envied but she had a certain charisma and aura that made it almost impossible for anyone to hate her. I never had anything against her, and I don’t think she had anything against me either, but I felt like whenever she was nice to me, she did it out of pity. Not that there was any reason for her to pity me, but I guess my lonely and reserved persona caused her to misinterpret the situation. She was the first person I met after I had to move suddenly and start a new school during high school. She was friendly to the point it came out as an obligation to her.
The first time she approached me she sat backwards in the seat in front of me and gave me a warm smile. It was the first time someone smiled at me like that, it was sincere, yet hypocritical. Everyone expected her to be little miss nice girl, so her actions seemed rather forced. Sure, go and talk to the miserable new girl, make her feel at place and befriend her; this is what her smile seemed to project. Nevertheless, I was lonely, and I wanted someone to hang out with, I had nothing to lose, so I accepted her friendship.
She later on introduced Mara to me, “I like you, let’s be best friends” is what Mara said the first time we met. I was afraid that I had made the wrong decisions and that I would regret ever accepting them, but the truth is, they were always really nice to me, and Mara has become a dear friend of mine that would always be there for me no matter what, however I couldn’t trust her with any secrets, because I knew her too well. Ren on the other hand, was always a bit hard to read, it was as if she only opened up half of her heart to us. She reminded me of myself, so for some reason I didn’t like to be around her so much, it only reminded me of the things I wished to forget.
After we graduated, I maintained contact with Mara, but Ren and I grew apart naturally, which is why I was surprised when I heard she invited me to her wedding. Strange enough, I guess I wasn’t forgotten. Ever since I can remember I’ve evaded crowded places, I don’t know why, but it just makes me feel uneasy, if it wasn’t for Mara’s insistence, I definitely wouldn’t have gone to that wedding. Not only was I uncomfortable facing the crowds, but I felt awkward meeting Ren again after almost ten years.
It was her wedding day and she looked gorgeous in her stunning white statement sleeved bridal gown, that must’ve cost her a fortune. It’s no secret I was jealous, she was about to marry the perfect man, he had the looks, the status and they looked madly in love. His name was Tiago he was the heir of one of the most important and large banking companies in Brazil. She seemed to be living the perfect life, a life any woman would desire. Great! I’m barely standing with how little I make in my job and this whole scenario is crushing all the little confidence I had left, if any. I really was happy for her, but it felt like she was boasting everything she had, she wanted everyone to know that she had everything we were probably never going to have.
The wedding reception had the most extravagant decorations I had ever seen. It was as if Rio de Janeiro had been personified, arrived at the place and then threw up a carnival inside the venue. There were samba dancers, bright and colorful ornaments, masks and everything you can get to see in a carnival. It was a high-spirited environment, lively and happy. I was enjoying it at first, but as people started drinking, the louder it got, and my head began to throb. Not to mention I felt out of place since no one mentioned it was going to be this colorful.
“Lai” I heard a voice coming from behind me, as I turn around, I noticed Ren standing behind me in a bright orange samba dress covered in rhinestones.
“Oh, hi, um… congratulations, you look amazing” I said
“Talk for yourself, you’ve gotten so pretty…I mean not that you were not pretty before…but wow you’re a babe in that dress”
Lies, I was wearing a plane black cocktail dress, nothing out of the ordinary and I looked exactly the same as I did back in High School, nothing really changed much. I smiled and shook it off while taking a sip of my Caipirinha.
“Anyway” she continued, “thanks for coming, it really means a lot to me”
Before I could answer Mara came from behind with a plate of food and her mouth full, “no pfrolem, wat ar freds fo (no problem, what are friends for)”
“Geez Mara that’s gross, don’t talk with your mouth full, and get away from me your spiting food all over me” I yapped
“Giz MARA das grosssss… lighten up girly, we’re here to have fun… and who knows you might finally get on board the D train, I mean look at that sexy peace of ‘gostoso’ that has his eyes on you” she mocked
“Ugh, stop that, what is wrong with you?!”
Ren gave out a chuckle and with a taunting grin she said “that ‘sexy piece of gostoso’ over there is actually my husband’s little brother, Lucas, and you should totally go for it he’s single”
“Ooooh your husband. How does it feel to call him that?” Mara laughed with Ren and then back at me “but really girly, you can’t be alone forever why don’t you just go and talk to him?”
“Just leave me alone, sorry Ren it was nice seeing you again, but I’m really tired, I’m going home” I said with an annoyed gesture.
“It’s ok, don’t worry about it we’re just teasing. Hope you had fun”
I proceed to walk out, when I hear Ren call my name. I stopped and turned around. Ren came up to me and said, “Hey this is a secret, but my mother-in-law gave this to me, she told me that I should give it to my child when I have one so he can always be protected. To be honest, my husband was married before, this belonged to his first wife before she died. His mother wanted me to keep it, but it just doesn’t feel right, and I don’t want to throw it away either. Besides we don’t really want any children.” She grabbed my hand and gave me a scapular with the image of a guardian angel.
“Ok…but why are you giving it to me?”
“Because I know about your hardships. Lai, I may not look it, but I really care about you, and it worries me that you’re always alone. Keep it, I don’t believe much in this stuff but, who knows maybe it will help you”
I got mad at her words, what was she implying? what did she know about me? Is this how she felt towards me all along? Am I nothing but a pitiful soul to her? I yanked my hand from hers and walked away with a noticeable frown on my face.
“Wait, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to offed you, I was just trying to be nice”
“I don’t need you to be nice, I just need you to be honest with me for once, did I ever asked you to be my friend? Did I ask for your pity? No, I’ve been fine for all these years I don’t need your stupid empathy!
“I’m sorry you think I felt that way towards you, but I was always honest with you, I felt a connection with you since the first day, we were so similar, yet so different. I wanted to get close to you and see if we could open up to each other, but I guess we both failed at that and ended up becoming strangers. Just take it please!” I saw her pleading eyes as if she regretted not being there for me when I needed someone.
It’s like she somehow knew about my burdens but kept quiet and lamented doing so. I guess this was a way to make amends for what she believed she couldn’t do for me. She had always been weird, and she would do the most futile things, I have no idea what she was thinking. Did she really think that that piece of metal would help me in some way?
I sighed and took the scapular, “Alright, I’ll take it, but I have no idea, why you think this would help”. I stuffed it in my purse and left the venue.
As I left, I saw Tiago’s brother by the door. That freaking stalker had been following me all night.
“What’s your problem?” I asked him
“I don’t have one, what’s yours?” he answered
“Whatever, I’m leaving”
“What did she give you?”
“That’s none of your business, move”
“Just be careful with that, you wouldn’t want it to fall into the wrong hands”
After saying that he went back to the venue and I headed to the car. What a damned night, I should’ve just stayed home.
To be continued
Author’s Note: I’m not Brazilian, I’m sorry if some facts are wrong, this is a piece of fiction, I have no intention in offending anyone. Any advice and correction is welcome.