95: “You’re emotionally challenged”

Sybil thought things had been going really well with Wes, but she apparently had been mistaken. They’d hit something of a snag. Normally, Sybil’s relationships disintegrated when the other person began to feel that she was not paying them enough attention, which was very often true. This time, however, things began to take a turn for the worse when Wes started feeling like Sybil wasn’t paying as much attention to him as she was to other people, specifically Chris. Very, very specifically Chris. Wes talked to her about it for a full forty minutes one night. He kept asking how long they’d been friends and whether or not they’d ever been more than friends. He was particularly intrigued by the fact that Chris often slept at her apartment to avoid the sound of his downstairs neighbour teaching herself to play the guitar. Sybil very carefully didn’t tell him about the few weeks after her old apartment had flooded in which she’d spent her nights sleeping in Chris’ bed with him. That didn’t make her feel especially great, but she could tell that it would definitely make Wes feel worse.

“I don’t even know what to say to him,” Sybil said to Suze after Wes had gone home. Sybil had burst into Suze’s bedroom and hurled herself dramatically along the end of the bed. Suze had barely even looked over at her from her laptop, but she had deigned to take off her headphones so Sybil was able to share all of her problems.

“Yeah, he asked me about it a while ago,” Suze admitted, picking at her duvet cover. “I wasn’t sure if I should mention it.”

“I just don’t know what he wants me to say,” Sybil said, still lying at Suze’s feet.

“That you love him more than Chris,” Suze shrugged as though it was obvious.

“I’m not sure I do love him, though,” Sybil replied. “Would I be sad if he died? Sure. But, you know, I’d also probably be at least a little sad if Tom the weepy folk singer died and I’m not especially close to him. So it’s just hard to say, you know?”

Suze raised an eyebrow at her.

“You’re emotionally challenged,” she told Sybil, who nodded in agreement.

“Yes,” she said. “Yes, very much so.”

A couple days later, Sybil and Chris finished Tom the weepy folk singer’s second album. They had one final session, this time with their boss Angry Ron as well, and the four of them listened to the finished product one last time before it would be released into the world for the public to cry along with. Tom loved it, which was just as well because Sybil had heard the song “Here Comes the Harpoon Again” more than enough for one lifetime. She’d had a nightmare about vengeful whales a couple nights in a row quite recently.

“I will not miss this,” Chris admitted as he and Sybil were packing up to the leave the studio. Tom had gone already, telling Angry Ron all about his celebration plans. They mostly seemed to revolve around taking a bath and being alone. Sybil assumed solitude was a fine enough celebration for some. She probably would’ve consumed an outrageous amount of champagne, but it was really just one of the many, many things that separated her and Weepy Tom.

“Yes, now we can focus on Five Party’s latest pop album,” Sybil agreed as they began to leave together. “Just months of being stood up by pretentious boy band members with dumb tattoos and model girlfriends.”

“The high life,” Chris nodded.

“Definitely,” Sybil agreed.

She and Chris went out for dinner to celebrate. They each had an obscene number of tacos. Chris loved tacos. Chris loved tacos more than Chris loved almost anything. Sybil had a really nice time. Even though they had produced what was likely the most depressing album of all time, she still felt a sense of accomplishment. Tom was a fairly well-known Canadian artist. He was at least much better known than the jazz harpist whose album she and Chris had worked on before. And now they were working on Five Party’s album and, though it would likely be very difficult, what with the genre of music and the people involved, they were certainly well-known. Sybil felt she was really getting somewhere and she was quietly pleased about the whole thing.

And then she returned to her apartment to find Wes waiting for her inside. He was on the couch with Suze, watching Degrassi, but he looked very tense. Sybil could tell even from the doorway. As soon as she walked over to the couch, Suze bolted, fleeing for her room, which wasn’t exactly a promising sign.

“What’s up?” Sybil asked, sitting down next to him. He sighed deeply.

“I think we should break up,” he answered. It was incredibly blunt and it took her off-guard. She couldn’t think of a single thing to say. He didn’t speak for a long time either, likely waiting for her to respond. But Sybil didn’t really feel like she needed to respond. For one thing, she didn’t especially feel like talking him out of breaking up with her. If he wanted to break up, they should just break up. She wasn’t about to beg. Sybil was nothing if not incredibly proud. She didn’t really need him, but she did need her self-worth. That was far more important to her than most things.

“Okay,” she finally replied when it became painfully obvious that he wasn’t going to continue unless she said something.

“Okay?” He repeated, frowning at her.

“Yeah, man, if that’s what you think,” she shrugged.

“Jesus Christ,” he muttered under his breath. “Is that what you want, dude?”

He was mocking her, which didn’t sit very well with her. She didn’t know why he was bothering to ask what she wanted considering he had already as good as dumped her. So she shrugged instead of answering. They sat together in silence for a while longer until he eventually sighed and stood up.

“Alright, well, whatever,” he said before leaving the apartment, leaving her sitting all alone on the couch her father had bought to make her love him more.

Sybil told her friends what had happened two days later after the jazzercise class Priscilla led in the basement of Jacklyn’s building. Suze hadn’t asked her about it in the time that had passed since Wes left, even though she clearly knew what had happened. Maybe she could sense that Sybil really didn’t want to talk about it. She very rarely wanted to talk about anything and this was no exception. This was something she very much didn’t want to talk about, in fact.

“Wes broke up with me,” Sybil announced matter-of-factly. Her friends stared back at her for a moment, clearly stunned.

“What happened?” Priscilla asked, breaking the silence. Sybil shrugged.

“I don’t know,” she answered almost truthfully. “He said he thought we should break up and that’s pretty much it.”

Her explanation was met with yet more silence.

“You shouldn’t give up so easy,” Bernie told her after a while. She was clearly aiming for some sort of positivity, but it sounded rather flat in Sybil’s ears.

“Give up?” She scoffed. “Give up what? He broke up with me. I’m not going to force him to date me.”

“I think she just meant that maybe he wanted you to fight for him a little bit,” Jemima offered, clearing her throat.

“Well then he should’ve chosen his words more carefully,” Sybil retorted. This was also met with silence.

“Okay, well if you’re alright…,” Priscilla trailed off.

“Yeah, I’m fine,” Sybil replied without hesitation. No one looked like they really believed her. Sybil wasn’t sure she believed herself either.

She told Chris the following day. They had gone for dinner together after another mostly failed meeting with Five Party. Once again, only Conor and Harry had showed up. Chris had taken Sybil to his new favourite taco place. At this rate, Sybil was going to gain twenty-five pounds from eating an increased volume of tacos alone.

“Wes and I broke up,” Sybil informed Chris calmly once their food had arrived.

“Kanye Wes?” Chris asked, looking up at her from his fish taco.

“Yeah, Kanye Wes,” Sybil nodded. Chris observed her for a minute.

“Sorry to hear that,” he offered eventually. Sybil shrugged. She felt like she was developing a shrugging habit. She’d never shrugged so much in her life until that week.

“It’s okay,” she said, feeling like it might actually be true now.

“Okay then,” Chris said, returning his attention to his tacos. “I mean, he was mostly alright, but he straight-up cheats at Scrabble.”

Sybil laughed.

“Yeah, he does,” she agreed.

“Unacceptable,” Chris said and she laughed again.

“Totally.”

“Despicable. Abhorrant. Appalling.”

“Are you just thinking up good Scrabble words now?” She checked.

“A little bit, yeah,” Chris admitted and Sybil laughed for a third time, sharp and bright. “Repugnant. Egregious.”

“Abominable,” Sybil chimed in. Chris pointed his taco at her.

“Abominable,” he nodded.

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