I had to make an exception. I hadn’t left my house other than work for almost 5 months. Dani, Mindy, Sharon, and Quin have texted me almost every day, and talked to me at work asking me to hang out. I made excuses every time. I wasn’t interested in spending time with them. My self esteem deteriorates every time I speak to one of them. Constant back handed compliments or just plain insults. The sad part is they didn’t even get the slightest hint that I was bothered by it, but I had to make an exception. IKEA was having a big sale, I was offered a walking group and payment for my meal, so I grabbed my savings jar, shoved it in my wallet and started heading down the stairway. They met me at the bottom with big smiles. I gained optimism, maybe everything would be okay now.
“Chambly, I feel like we haven’t seen you in forever!” Quin squeaked. It had been forever, the day we went ice skating was one of the last times we had ever hung out. That was almost a year ago.
“Ya, I’ve just been studying for my online master’s degree, I feel like I have no life anymore!” I had made up the master's degree months ago as an excuse for my nights alone.
“Oh ya, when are you supposed to actually get that so you can hang out again!?” Sharon asked.
“Ummm, I am not sure, I’ll ask my online teacher how close I am, but after that I might go for a doctorate,” I don’t even think someone can get a doctorate in math.
“Ughh, we want you back!” Dani complained. I knew they didn’t mean it.
We made it to IKEA after a short walk, made a game plan, and came up with a place to meet. Finally we separated. I was on a mission. I wanted a more comfortable couch and mattress, a mini fridge and lots more blankets. I looked around, moving faster than I had in a long time, determined. I found the mattress section pretty quickly, and laid on every single one before deciding on a memory foam one. I asked a frazzled employee if it could have it delivered, and he reluctantly wrote my name on a long list labeled Deliveries. I continued on with my journey, and it concluded with serious side eye from the lady ringing up my twenty blankets. I met the girls in the food court, and they confirmed the promise of a free meal.
“Thanks guys!” For the first time in a long time I was having fun when I left the house.
That’s when the power went out.
A voice came over the intercom.
“Hello, people in IKEA, you are no longer allowed to leave, you are being held hostage.”
A series of screams and cries were shared by the crowd.
“I freaking knew this would happen!” Mindy screamed.
“How could you possibly know this would happen?” Sharon sighed.
“Every time Chambly goes with us anywhere, SOMETHING happens that ruins everything, I mean clearly this is a bit of an extreme, but she is just so dull! She either bores us to death or makes a horrible joke or gets offended by something and doesn’t talk the whole rest of the time, YOU NAME IT, the list goes on! I just can’t deal with her anymore!” Mindy screamed. I would feel all of my organs drop. They knew. They knew how badly they hurt me, they knew they were being mean but they really didn’t care. I had melted. A part of me wanted to believe that they actually cared about me. My four best friends in the world, everyone who cared about me really didn’t. My eyes felt glassy. I could see their mouths moving, but I couldn’t hear anything anymore. I sat there. They left me alone. I no longer cared what the outcome of the night would be. I could feel everyone rushing in panic around me. One woman tried to grab my arm.“Hide!” She told me, “He said he was coming for us!” I didn’t move. I let the night drift by. I realized for the first time in my life that my life had no value.