The start of September 2025
The next morning, I feel awful. And I look awful too, my eyes look like I have been doing drugs non-stop for the last 3 years. I have bags under my eyes from the lack of sleep and my lips are cracked from dehydration. My heart aches in a way I haven’t felt since I came to London. I sigh and decide to take a shower, maybe I can wash away his memory. I fail, of course I do, but I do feel a bit better. I put on more make-up than usual to cover the bags. The purple line I put under my eyes makes the green in my eyes pop and I feel a bit better. I may not feel too good, but I sure as hell will look good today. I take a leftover scone from a couple of days ago and put it in the oven. I make sure Prince feels loved and has enough food and fresh water to get through the day. “Thanks, Princey, I don’t know what I would do without you.” I pick him up and give him a kiss on his nose. I put him on the ground and take my scone out of the oven. I put some raspberry jam on it, take my bag and walk out of the door. When I get on the underground, I take my phone and check my messages. I’ve got 15 in total. Three from Rose, four from James, two from my mum and six from Emma. I text Rose and James:
Laure: I’m on my way and I will explain everything when I get there.
I text my mum:
Laure: I’m okay. Don’t worry about me.
Then, I start reading Emma’s messages:
Emma: Laure, your mum just called me and explained everything. Call me?
Laure, do not think about him for a second okay? He’s not worth it! He’s not worth your tears! You’re finally doing great.
Laure, I’m serious. I don’t get why he’s doing this to you.
Laure, please. Answer my calls!
Okay, I get it. You don’t want to talk. Could you just text me to let me know you’re still alive?
Laure? Rose tells me you’re late. I’m officially worried now. If you do not call me within fifteen minutes, I will tell her to go check on you.
The last one was sent ten minutes ago. I decide to call her. “Laure! Thank God! Do you know how worried we are?” She yells through the phone. I know she sounds mad, but most of all she sounds relieved. “I’m sorry, Em. I’m on my way to work. I’m fine.” “No, you’re not. Your voice is still hoarse from crying. Don’t lie to me young lady.” “Yes, I cried a lot last night. I can’t face him Em. Not after what happened the last time. Seeing him will not be good for me.” “I know hun, do you want me to hunt him down and tell him he has to leave you alone?” I smile. “Em, no. His parents are friends of mine. It was inevitable that I would see him again. It’s a miracle I got to avoid him for so long.” “What you call a miracle, you left Belgium as soon as you could to avoid him! And when you’re home you only leave it to see your grandparents, me or some other friends and you pick places you know the chance of seeing him there is slim!” “I do not! Besides, he’s not the reason I left for London. It was a big plus that I would not see him if I’d live in London. But the job offer just came at a right time. And look where it took me, Em.” I smile, London had always been my dream, that it came at a time where I needed to leave Belgium as soon as possible was an amazing coincidence. “You don’t get it Laure! He treated you like shit and the minute you saw a way out you packed your stuff and left!” she starts yelling again. “He didn’t just treat me like shit Em! He took everything from me. He took my dignity and my trust in men. He took away my safe place!” I have to stop myself from yelling since I’m still in public. Also I start crying. “Em, I love you, but you have absolutely no idea how I felt and still feel. I have to go now. Bye.” I know I sound harsh, but screaming at me will not help me. I need to get to my safe place, my kitchen. I wipe away my tears and get on with it.
It’s a little past 9 when I walk into the bakery. When Rose and James notice me they drop what they’re doing and run to me. They hug me so tight I can hardly breath but I let them. “Laure, my God we were so worried! Are you okay?” Rose asks while taking my face in her hands. I try to smile but I fail. “First, let me breath.” They let me go, and I answer her. “I’m not, but I will be. Mum told me Jace is coming by to visit next month.” The noise coming out of their mouths is one of disgust. Of course they know about him, not as detailed as Emma or my mum do, but they know enough. Emma told Rose when I was drunk and ready to call him. Thank the Gods Rose did not let me and ordered me to call Emma instead. I had been to drunk to really talk to her so Emma explained who he was on the phone. James knows because he wanted a reason why I didn’t trust him. He knows Jace screwed me up, and that I don’t trust men. “And is there a reason he’s coming? Or is it just because you’re doing good and he needs to screw that up too?” “I don’t know why he’s coming. All I know is that he’s coming next month and he wants to see the bakery. I assume she’s coming too, but I’m not sure about it.” I let out a sigh and flee into my safe place. “Can we all just get back to work? I need some distraction and talking about him is no good. He’ll come, and there’s nothing I can do about it.” I start working, Rose and James just look at each other and go back to the front. I hear them whispering to each other in between customers but I don’t pay attention to it.
The day goes by, too quickly. Both James and Rose have left already and I’m left on my own. I put the music on so loud I can’t think and start baking. When I’m done I’m famished, so I close up as quick as I can and go home. When I get home I decide to text everyone again.
Laure: I’m home. I’m not okay, but I will be. Love you xLaure
Thank the Gods I still have that left over pizza from yesterday. This time, I eat all of it.
The next days I spent in silence. I only talk when I really have to and at work I spend more time in the kitchen than I ever did before. I made up some more recipes, a raspberry-brownie, a berry-scone. I even made a healthy breakfast cupcake with oaths and banana, topped with seeds. Emma and I talked about it and made up. I know she told Rose to keep an eye on me, she’ll never admit it but I know her better than that. They all are worried. And I love them for it, but I need to process this.
Ik ben momenteel op het verjaardagsfeestje van mijn neefje! Ik heb de afgelopen dagen ver vooruit kunnen schrijven. Dus ik kan tijdens mijn examens gewoon door activeren! Hebben jullie examens?
Geniet van jullie weekend!