Jacklyn and Amare had been dating for about three weeks and Jacklyn was beginning to suspect that she had made a terrible mistake in getting back together with him. She wasn’t sure they had very much in common. He was very nice to look at, but difficult to talk to. Unfortunately, at this point, she had already broken up with him once and it seemed cruel to do it again. It also didn’t help that she hadn’t technically broken up with him the first time. She would definitely have to break up with him in explicit words the second time, though. She couldn’t ghost him again. Not only did she think that would make her a terrible person, but it would just be too much.
She turned to Sybil for help. She figured she would have the best insight since she had many commitment issues of her own. Jacklyn’s other friends were all too normal. Melly would for sure never understand. She probably already thought it was weird that Jacklyn wasn’t married with kids of her own. But Sybil struggled with long-term relationships. She would understand Jacklyn’s troubles.
She didn’t understand.
“I’m not sure I really want to date Amare anymore,” Jacklyn confessed to Sybil, who was already a little bit thrown because Jacklyn had turned up at her home unannounced.
“That surprises me not at all,” Sybil replied bluntly.
“I can’t break up with him again though,” Jacklyn moped.
“Technically this would be the first time,” Sybil pointed out.
“Gord will be so pissed,” Jacklyn continued, slumping down in her seat on Sybil’s magnificently comfortable couch.
“I’m sure Amare won’t be terribly pleased either,” Sybil pointed out.
“Maybe I can get him to break up with me,” Jacklyn said positively, feeling she may have struck on something good.
“What, like a teen comedy trope?” Sybil returned, frowning. “No, you cannot make him break up with you. If he wanted to dump you, he would’ve done it already.”
“Well why does he want to be with me so badly anyway?” Jacklyn whined, slumping back into Sybil’s couch cushions. She knew she was being ridiculous, but she really didn’t want to face the possibility of having to dump him for a second time. Considering that the only option that left her with was to marry him and spend the remainder of their lives together in misery, she wasn’t feeling particularly optimistic.
“I suspect he has very poor judgement,” was Sybil’s rather blunt answer. “For one thing, two of his best friends are Gord and Gavin. Gord is a completely ridiculous human being, outdone only by Gavin. Also, Amare got back together with you even after you ghosted him and then dated Joey. I don’t think there are very many people who would do that. Then again, I didn’t think there were very many people who would willingly date Joey, and yet I know two.”
Jacklyn looked up at Sybil in surprise.
“Two?” She repeated. She felt a pang of jealously strike her heart. She really needed to get that under control. Maybe she should start journaling or something. Maybe an outlet for all of her feelings would be a good thing. Jemima had tried meditation. She hadn’t had very many positive things to say about it, but maybe she just hadn’t been doing it right.
“Yeah,” Sybil replied, looking at Jacklyn like she was nuts, which very well may have been the case. “You and Priscilla.”
“Priscilla dated Joey?!” Jacklyn demanded, wondering why she’d never heard about this before. Then she tried to piece together a timeline. Had they dated before or after Joey and Jacklyn had dated? What about Oscar? When had they broken up? How long had they been together? Did Joey like Priscilla better than he liked Jacklyn? Why did Jacklyn care so much about this?
“I mean, one time,” Sybil clarified, still giving Jacklyn an odd look. “And then she learned he was a drug dealer.”
“Huh,” Jacklyn replied, still feeling rather unsettled. There were so many other questions she wanted to ask, but, not wanting to alarm Sybil too much, kept them to herself.
Melly came over to Jacklyn’s apartment three days later. She wanted help writing addresses on her baby shower invitations. Jacklyn wanted to ask if it was really normal for her to be having a baby shower for her second child, but she refrained even though she’d had a hand cramp for about thirty minutes. She got the impression that Melly had only come to visit because she was upset about David. Apparently, as Melly had already told Jacklyn numerous times, he was trying to recapture his youth. What Melly didn’t say, but what Jacklyn managed to piece together herself, was that Melly was afraid for what this meant for the future of their relationship. And so Jacklyn was making a concerted effort to be kind, even though she wanted to snap at Melly for criticizing her handwriting countless times.
About an hour into addressing, Jacklyn and Melly decided they wanted some frozen yogurt. The nearest place was four blocks away, which wasn’t a great distance, but Melly was quite pregnant and didn’t feel like walking. Jacklyn went across the hall to ask Gord if she could borrow his car. His answer was very, very firm.
“I’m only going to go four blocks,” Jacklyn tried again.
“No,” he repeated flatly.
“Please? My friend is pregnant and we just want some frozen yogurt,” she said. She was being quite nice. In fact, she was being nicer than she ever had been in the entirety of their relationship with one another. She didn’t think it was an unreasonable request.
“No,” Gord said.
“I’m a very safe driver,” Jacklyn offered. Gord narrowed his eyes at her.
“No,” he said, drawing the word out. And then he walked away, leaving her standing at his open apartment door. She peered inside, watching him walk into what was presumably his bedroom, and shut the door.
“He doesn’t let people drive his car,” Gavin told her from the living room couch. Prior to that exact moment, Jacklyn hadn’t been aware that he was there, despite the fact that he was wearing an orange Hawaiian shirt, so she jumped about a foot in the air.
“Why not?” She asked when she’d managed to regain control over her breathing.
“It used to belong to his dad,” Gavin answered.
“So?” Jacklyn prompted, frowning. “I mean, that explains why it’s, like, a thousand years old, but not why he’s being such a jackass about it.”
“Gord doesn’t like anybody using his dad’s things,” Gavin explained. “That’s why all of his clothes are from the 70s and 80s. His mom wanted to donate them, but Gord didn’t want anybody else wearing his dad’s clothes.”
“What happened to his dad?” Jacklyn asked, feeling like that maybe should’ve been one of her first questions at the onset of the conversation.
“He got hit by a drunk driver while he was walking home after a night shift at work,” Gavin answered. For one illuminating moment, Jacklyn understood Gord a whole lot better. She also felt terrible.
“Oh,” she said because she didn’t know what else to say. She was still standing at the open door like an idiot when Gord reemerged from his bedroom. He had changed into a different band shirt, tucked into his jeans. He walked toward Jacklyn, grabbing his keys off the hook by the door.
“Alright, let’s go,” he said to her.
“What?” She asked, completely thrown. She was still processing what she’d learned about his father. He looked at her like she was stupid.
“You want frozen yogurt,” he told her.
“Yeah,” she nodded.
“So let’s go,” Gord said slowly, nodding toward the hallway behind her. She allowed herself to be ushered out into the hallway. He shut the door behind them and then looked at her for a long time.
“What?” She asked again. He gave her another funny look.
“Aren’t you going to get your friend?” He replied. Jacklyn remembered that she’d left Melly alone in her apartment. She raced inside her own apartment, gathered a confused Melly and her purse, and then rejoined Gord into the hallway. He led them down to the parking garage underneath their building to his burgundy Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme.
“Who is this person?” Melly hissed to Jacklyn as they followed him over to his car. “Is he going to murder us?”
“This is my neighbour Gord,” Jacklyn answered, speaking louder so that Gord could hear them as well. “He’s taking us to fro-yo.”
“Oh,” Melly replied brightly. “Well that’s awfully nice of him.”
She smiled at Gord and climbed into the backseat. It was very nice of him. Jacklyn couldn’t figure out his angle. He merely smiled at her over the top of his car before he slid into the driver seat. Jacklyn climbed into the passenger seat and he pulled out of the parking garage. They listened to a brief snippet of The Pointer Sisters before they arrived at the frozen yogurt place. Gord came inside with them. Melly made him try five different flavours before he helped her decide on two. Then he sat with them at a small circular table and ate his own cup of frozen yogurt before he drove them back to the building. He left them then, retreating to his own apartment with a wave over his shoulder.
“He’s super nice,” Melly told Jacklyn once they were situated back in Jacklyn’s living room, addressing more baby shower invitations.
“Yeah,” Jacklyn agreed, mostly because she couldn’t think of anything else to say. It had been nice of him to take them. And she hadn’t hated being in his presence as much as she’d thought she would. It was possible they were becoming begrudging friends. It made her feel even worse about wanting to break up with his friend. Again.