It took a lot, but I managed to get my money back from Graham. Granted he jumped me later on that night and stole some of it back but he didn’t take much. He left me enough to consider rehab a little more seriously, anyway. I tried calling Damien every day since he left. I know I sound clingy but I needed him. Shame I realised it too late, huh?
It was a few days later when, for some unknown miracle, Damien decided to answer his phone just before it went to voicemail.
“Hey” I said quietly, earning myself a ‘hey’ in response. “How’re things?”
"How're you doing?"
"Okay, I guess"
"How about you?"
"Doesn't really matter"
"It does to me"
"'Kay, well I drove til I ran out of gas, and I've been sat in my car getting high on the edge of a freeway in the middle of nowhere. It wouldn't look like it to anyone else, but I'm alright"
I didn’t say anything so he carried on.
"Just a bit hungry. Didn't think to pack anything to eat"
I let out a tiny chuckle, just enjoying hearing his voice again.
"I'm sorry I vanished on you, by the way. I just needed some time to myself"
"If it's any consolation, I didn't say goodbye to Phil either. I punched him a few times, but he didn't get a goodbye"
Damien was silent then. I didn’t really know what to say but I could tell Damien would just stay silent til I spoke.
"Any idea when you're coming back?"
"When I somehow find the money for gas. And maybe once I'm done having my time alone”
"This isn't really your fault. I guess I'm just not strong enough to put up with all the shit we seem to go through" he said with a weak half-laugh.
"It's okay, gorgeous"
"Have you um... have you give up your job yet?"
"Have you really?" he asked quietly.
"I swear on my life"
He didn’t say anything and I almost thought he’d hung up on me.
"I miss you"
"I miss you too"
"I love you" I love you so much.
"Yeah... I love you too"
"You don't mean that" I said kind of quietly, hoping he wouldn’t hear.
"Why do you never believe me when I say I love you?"
"It felt like you didn't mean it that time"
"I did. If we're gonna keep having to fight it out whether you believe me or not, I might as well just not come back. At least sat on the side of a freeway no one cares about whether I mean what I say"
"But I need you"
"Why would you need someone like me?"
"Because you mean everything to me"
"I don't understand how" he said quietly.
"Damien, you're the reason I get out of bed in the morning. You're the reason I haven't killed myself yet. You're the reason I'm trying so hard to get off the drugs. I don't know what I'd do without you"
"Would you come find me if I told you I have no idea where I am or how far I drove before I ran out of gas?"
"If you wanted me to..."
He was quiet for a while. "Yeah, I do"
"No idea how, though" I said with this weak, kind of hopeless laugh.
"I don't know either" his laugh echoed my own. "Sorry"
"Are there any towns nearby or anything?"
"I went through one a few miles back"
"Could you walk back? Or hitchhike?"
He chuckled. "Walk a few miles in this state? I've not eaten or drunk anything since before I left. If I can even make it a few metres I'd be lucky"
I was quiet, trying to work out how to find him.
"I'll try and hitchhike, but I doubt anyone will pick me up"
"Can you at least remember what it was called?"
"I dunno. Something like Riverview or something"
"'Kay, I'll try and find it on a map or something"
"I love you, Damien"
"I love you too"
I felt a huge smile start to spread across my face. "I'll be there as soon as I can"
I heard him hum and hung up, setting out to find the nearest town that sounded anything remotely similar to Riverview. I guess I probably should’ve told him Mom found out about everything and was paying for me to go to a psychiatric institute, huh?