I was resting comfortably on a couch set right in front of a big-screen television screen in the living room of my new house. It wasn’t so much new anymore, but what was new was that I had finally recognized this place as my own. Whatever program was playing didn’t capture my interest, so I found that my eyes kept opening and closing repeatedly.

 By this time the moon had emerged as the sun took its daily bow. The darkness began to consume the sky as the remaining light cast wonderful shades of red and yellow onto the clouds. The moon itself was perfectly visible tonight, hanging in the sky like it was a theater spotlight. I couldn’t remember witnessing such a beautiful sunset just on my lonesome.

 It had been a week since the miniature vacation down to the beach in a non-expensive yet luxurious two-story log cabin. The idea had been mine, and the location was discovered by me too, but as usual Daniel had the big brains behind the decision. Of course, to say it was a good vacation wouldn’t be necessary since it was brilliant before it started.

 We did as much as we could. Swimming was a given activity, and there were other things we undertook such as forcing me to sing, cooking… etcetera. The last day at the location was designated as a couples-only day. Since I knew that going swimming would be such an obvious choice, I thought outside of the box and took Claudia with me abroad. We ended up eating out and watching an animated film that turned out to be pretty fun.

 When we came home, that’s when the drama started. The two of us were situated on the couch in the main room, my arm around hers and her head on my shoulder. We felt like sitting in silence for a while, relaxing, knowing that we both loved each other so much. Occasionally we would speak, and sometimes we would kiss, but other than that the house was quiet.

 The back door was opened viciously and in came Daniel, face burning red with an expression plagued with anger. When Sarina came in after him looking defeated, I put two and two together and concluded that another episode was on our hands. I could have been enraged easily by how he just went off and lost it once again. However, he was still my friend, the best one I have. Taking the high road, I nodded, smiled, then turned to face Claudia.

 “It’s okay. I’ll go talk to him” I said calmly. I stood up and walked over to where Daniel’s room was. I looked behind me and saw that Sarina was still troubled. “Why don’t you come with me?” I asked her, gesturing for her to follow. 

So I entered the room and played things as mild-mannered as I could, then I left the rest for Sarina and Daniel to sort out the dispute themselves. Claudia was waiting for my return, so we both sat down again and I gave her the best explanation I could.

 “You know how he is” I began, nodding as I spoke. “There comes a moment… every once in a while… Daniel forgets that he’s a smart and kind person and snaps. Sometimes these snaps… don’t end very well. That’s all that happened today” I finished. I looked over at her, meeting her eyes. “But it’s okay. They’ll both get over it”.

 She didn’t seem convinced, and I didn’t blame her. “Lionel… the last time he snapped… he attacked a girl. She wasn’t nice, granted, but still. Why does he always do this?” She looked over in the direction of his room. Neither of us could hear any sort of conversation.

Though I was up to defending Daniel, her question left me at a loss for words. Exactly why did he suddenly become so emotional in an instant? It couldn’t have just been the heat-of-the-moment because a lot of the times he had plenty of time to think things through.

My quietness told Claudia the answer I couldn’t bring myself to say: “I just don’t know”. A nod from her let me know she understood. I put my arm back around her and we both go back into our comfortable situation before the tragedy had swept in.

 It seemed like it had been half an hour before the two emerged again. They had been in the room for so long without conversation that it was easy to figure that the apology didn’t involve much speaking. They were both holding hands and looked pretty content with each other’s company. When my eyes met Daniel, him simply smiled, assuring me everything was okay. At least they were…

 The car ride back wasn’t nearly as rumbustious and exciting as the last one when we were en route to a weekend that promised a good time. A sour mood had swept over us despite how Sarina and Daniel had expressed regret to each other. Claudia and I in particular were almost in a cold silence, disgusted by his behavior.

 After a long time, I pulled up in front of Daniel’s house. “Thanks for everything” he told me as he exited the vehicle. Sarina followed him out as well. “This whole thing was your idea after all”.

I was reluctant to speak with him. “Yeah, I suppose so. Let’s not forget how you helped” I added.

 He grinned. “I’ll be sure to see you guys off at the plane” he finished, walking into his house with Sarina, waving us goodbye. As soon as I saw him head inside, I parked in front of our house and the two of us entered it.

 After a little ‘good-night’ to each other, Claudia and I went our separate bedrooms and tried to go to sleep. That was a lot on or minds now, and a lot of troubles that were brewing. I hoped that dating Sarina would be able to control Daniel’s temper, but it seems as though no matter what he just couldn’t keep himself calm.

 Every time some sort of problem was on my mind, I tended to have a grotesque dream that tried to display the future to me. As I laid my head back on my pillow, I feared such an event would quickly appear in my subconscious. I sighed, then braced myself for whatever horrors would surely follow.

 Before I could, my phone, which as on a bedside table next to me, vibrated. Wondering who in the world would be texting me now, I inspected it and saw that it was Sarina. Curious, I opened the message she sent me.

 “Is that what you had meant by Daniel could lose it?”

 Oh dear. Now even Sarina was worried. A shot a message back, saying “Yeah, he can be that way sometimes”. I hoped that the conversation would have ended right then and there, but Sarina soon sent a reply.

 “It’s scary how mad he can get”.

 That was the tipping point. I turned my phone off, placed it back on the table, and closed my eyes, a rage threatening to come over me.

 The darkness that came upon closing my eyes went away and was soon replaced by a vision. There was only one vision that day. I was in what seemed to be Daniel’s house, in his room. Daniel himself was standing in front of me, his face red, obviously angry. There was a huge mess in his room, and for some reason the dream led me to believe that he had caused this in his rage.

 Suddenly, the dream cut off, and I was wide awake. Was that all that I had to see for tonight? I closed my eyes once more, and once again I saw Daniel, but this time in my house. The process kept repeating; Daniel in some scene looking incredibly angry, and I was simply observing him with an annoyance.

 It was then, after all of those reruns, that my message became clear to me. Time and time again Daniel tore things apart when in just one second, one moment, he loses his cool. This destructive behavior had now harmed all three of us… physically and mentally, and always emotionally.

No matter what happened between us that showed that we were friends, there was always a fracture that separated us. That attitude of his just had to be amended; Claudia and I had been through enough of this before to tell that now it was enough. It was one thing to snap at me, but another to snap at your own girlfriend, especially since the last time he did that he was left alone and forgotten for quite some time.

“Is that how we should have left it?” I thought. Leeman’s return had forced us all into a rocky relationship so we could cooperate and send the man out the door again. If we hadn’t united, we wouldn’t have pulled that off. Yet, if we stayed apart, there’d be no more issues, no more emotional breakdowns, etcetera.

 I resolved to speak with my wingman tomorrow to get some things straight. Between the event and Sarina’s reaction, I knew something must be done. The next day flew by so quickly that before I knew it, the afternoon had arrived. After changing into some day clothes, I headed over to Daniel’s house. I rang the doorbell and awaited an answer. Surprisingly, Daniel’s mom wasn’t at the door, and instead Daniel himself.

 “Hey!” he greeted me, holding out his hand for our secret handshake. When I didn’t move to mimic him, he instantly knew that something was up.

 I entered without him vocally saying I could. His eyes followed me with every step I took, obviously confused why I was in an angry demeanor. After swallowing a few times and taking a breath, I turned to face him, my eyes locking onto him.

 “I really just want to know the answer to an important question. Questions, actually” I began, holding my ground. “For starters, I want to know what had really happened with you and Sarina back at the vacation house”.

“Lionel, there’s-“

 I cut him off. “I’m not approaching you as an enemy, but as your friend” I responded sincerely. Now I want to know what made you lose it again. I just want to know”.

 He was starting to get annoyed. “I told you what happened already. She pretended to drown, and then she pulled me under. Sorry if I snapped, but I thought that I was going to die right then and there! I know I overreacted, but in a way I was justified. Can we just move on now?”

 “She’s your girlfriend. You need to be more calm around her” I replied calmly, not wanting to bring up any examples. “I won’t say you were right or wrong, but the reaction was uncalled for”.

 “Okay, Lionel, I get it. It was another case of me losing my cool. But it’s all fine now!”

 “I’m sorry Daniel, but it really isn’t fine” I said simply, forced to tell him the truth. “Sarina texted me last night. You really did scare her with how you just-“

“Did what?” he shouted, beginning to repeat another episode. I briefly wondered if his mom was around to hear all of this. Her car wasn’t in the driveway. “Did I lose it? Did I just go flying off the rails again? People can’t be perfect, and people like you should know that!”

 “What’s… that supposed to mean?” I asked him, starting to get irritated.

 “Oh, what’s that supposed to mean?” he spat sarcastically. “Let’s not forget who the Loner is in this room, huh? Let’s not forget how time and time again you, not me, ruined everything! Not only that, but you pinned the blame on me! How is anything my fault!?”

 I nodded, trying to act calm. “I think if you listen to yourself every once in a while, you’ll realize it is your fault. Now I came here just to get some things straight. You girlfriend was frightened by you, and I’m just trying to help. If you want to deny me, then I guess things are going back to the way they were five months ago”.

 He started shaking his head, starting to look back and see he had just lost it once again. “Lionel, wait, I didn’t mean-“

 “It’s always you didn’t mean to. That’s always the excuse. But then you go and lose it again over and over again. Maybe I’ll see you later, but right now I don’t want to speak with you. Goodbye, Daniel” I said, slamming the door on my way out.

 The fracture was there, all right. It was a wide crack that had been created and was ever expanding. We were separated by this large dividing line; a dividing line by our own design.

 It is now a week after the vacation. I was lying down on the couch, and nothing more was on my mind. I left for the Virgin Islands with my love soon, and I could hardly wait. I knew that when we boarded the plane, I’d look behind me and I wouldn’t see Daniel.

The End

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