Mariah and Jonathan sat in their quaint little apartment each cradling their wine glasses as the television hummed about the impending storm bearing down on the East Coast. They were the fortunate ones that worked from home and wouldn’t have to attempt to brave this storm as it blew through. The silence was unbearable and Mariah knew something was wrong.
They had been the best of friends for as long as Mariah could remember. They grew up together in Philadelphia, gone off to school in NYC with each other, and when she landed her dream job in Washington D.C. Jonathan quickly followed suit with a position of his own and ended up being her roommate. They shared everything with each other, but tonight something was hanging above Jonathan’s head as he quickly drowned the entire glass of red wine in his hands. She knew everything about his life, but tonight she felt like she was staring at a stranger. As he went to pour himself another glass, Mariah finally snapped, “Jonathan, what the hell is wrong with you?!?”
Mid pour, he looked over his shoulder from their bar cart with his mouth wide open. In the last 17 years of knowing Mariah, at 28 years of age – this was the first time he had ever heard her yell or say anything remotely near a swear word. She was his confidant, best friend, and soulmate. At 14 years old, she was the first person that he told that he was gay. She didn’t judge or cast him aside like his friends and very own family; Mariah embraced and loved him even more for it. Not only had she embraced him, but her entire family raised him like one of their own during the toughest times. They partly were the reason why he was estranged from his own family, until today.
“Jonathan, the wine is spilling,” Mariah whispered as she took the bottle out of his shaking hands. He blankly stared at her and couldn’t handle it anymore. Jonathan looked at Mariah and started sobbing uncontrollably, “She’s dead. My mother is dead.” Mariah stared at Jonathan and for the first time in her life, she couldn’t find the words to console him.
Jonathan shook as he stammered, “My dad called and told me earlier today, that she had been sick with lung cancer for months.” Mariah could feel the rage filling up inside of her as Jonathan continued to share that his mother’s diagnosis was grim and nobody thought to share with him. What made it even worse was that his father had already held the funeral without Jonathan having a chance to say goodbye.
She gently guided her best friend to their couch and sat down next to him. Cupping his face in her hands, she looked at Jonathan’s hazel eyes with the love and admiration she’s had for him since they met in 6th grade. Jonathan instantly felt his body relax and he melted into his Mariah’s warm embrace, thankful for the sister he got to choose in life when nobody else wanted him.