It was a brand you day. New year. New start. Everything. Or was it?
Eric wasn't so sure. He hadn't heard anything from Syd except one little thank you call, as if it was some sort of protocol she'd been taught by her mother at a young age to do, and it was making him quite miserable thinking he might never hear from her, again. As it was he'd spent New Years at the home. They'd drank sparking grape juice to ring in the new year and rocked in with what every was on TV to help ring in the new year. It was lame, yet, not. He felt right in with most of them. Even though Toby who was probably 26, went on and on how he was getting married this year. Eric listened as if he'd believe him just this one time. Come tomorrow, he knew it was just a lie, like so many lies that Toby made up about his so-called life. He was a dishwasher at Denny's.
And now that the party was over, he was in his cold apartment with a cat that would not go away. It felt as if it were over with Syd. Maybe it had never really started.
He was so sad. He did everything he could to stop feeling sorry for himself. He had to stop this shit. He had to be a grownup. He did. He wanted to be.
"Oh, hey," he found himself calling Ellie out of the blue since it seemed his Dad had things to do with his Mom as of late as his Dad's visit had lingered. Wasn't like he was going to ask Ellie over. "How was your New Year's eve?"
"OK," she said. "Are you all right? You sound-"
"I'm fine." He cleared his throat. "Just great. Can't I wish you a happy new year or something?"
"Yeah, sure, I'm glad you called."
"Good, really, you are?" He winced. Thinking, she must either feel sorry for him, or she really did want to hear from him.
"What's wrong?" She wanted to know.
"Nothing. I don't. I really don't-" He sighed and he choked on tears. "Why? Can you tell me why I'm like this? Ellie? I know I shouldn't ask. I just want to - I gotta fix this Ellie, and I don't know how!" The words finally poured out of him like a poison of some kind.
"What happened?" She asked.
"Oh, same old shit." He winced. "Sorry, didn't mean-"
"Its OK, what happened?" Ellie asked again.
"Uh, well, you know, I haven't really been happy since, you know, Olivia, and I fucked up that royally, you know, I should have fucked her when I had a chance, but you know, it would have just ended sooner instead of later." He was honest.
"This isn't about Olivia." Ellie told him.
"I know. You know, that Liz girl?"
"Uh, well, um, well, that's just what it was with her. Fucking." He bit his bottom lip, wondering if he were saying the word too much, but he just couldn't stop saying the word. "And I hated it, I did. I swore, never, ever let that happen again. I was even thinking I might should think about being a priest, after that."
Ellie laughed as if she didn't believe him. It was a soft laugh, not a ridicule laugh. He found himself smiling.
"OK, you know that would have never happened. And then, Syd. Ellie, I want what you have, you know, except with Syd. It was so...." He sighed heavily then as he found himself pacing. "Should I shut up now? I'm sorry I called. I'm sorry."
"Eric, what happened?"
"Well, I love her. I know I do. I just want us to be OK. We shouldn't have had sex. We shouldn't have. I know that." He told her.
"OK, but if you love her, you'll find a way to let her know what she means to you," Ellie said.
"I don't know what to do." He sniffed tears.
"You'll find a way. You will."
He listened to her words, but nothing came to him. Nothing.