"I overheard that Nathan guy talking about you earlier," Aaron says nonchalantly, sometime after lights out. Instead of hugging me to stop my late night crying, he talks to me until I'm asleep now. Apparently he's not a fan of hugging, he just did it because it was better than listening to me being a little cry baby all night.
"He said he wanted to be able to talk to you without you losing your rag at him. Maybe you should try hearing the guy out for once. Might keep you out of solitary too."
"He's a cunt - he doesn't deserve not being beat up."
"Hey, I know he didn't stop you from taking any drugs, but seriously, the guy's only human. He was probably too high himself to have known any better. Just fucking chill for once, man. You've been nothing but a ball of rage since you got here, pretty much." I stay silent, not really knowing what to say to him after that. What would Nathan even have to say to me aside from the weak apology he tried to get out before I got myself a week in solitary?
"I heard you wanted to talk," I sit down opposite Nathan in the canteen, ignoring the tray of slop in front of me. Don't get me wrong - just the thought of him is enough to have me seething, but I figured if I tried this whole talking thing with him in the canteen when more guards are hanging around than usual, I might be able to restrain myself long enough to hear him out.
"I-I..." he stutters, looking at me, a mix of surprise and fear in his eyes and all over his face. "Yeah," he looks down at his food.
"Well spit it out then," I mutter, prodding the grey goo around with my fork.
"I wanted to apologise, but it's pretty clear that's not what you wanna hear," he sighs, glancing at me, "but honestly, I just want us to be friends again. I know we weren't really friends for very long... it would mean a lot to me, though, if we could be friends again." I sit in silence, thinking about it as I try to eat what the state seems to think is food. His gaze drops to the table and he has the air of total rejection. I keep up my silence, still thinking. Mostly, I'm thinking about what Aaron said last night. He's right, I guess - Nathan's only human, and it wasn't just him that fucked up, it was me. I s'pose I was just glad to have someone to take it out on for once.
I make my decision, but still stay quiet. Eventually, Nathan gives up and starts to stand.
"Sit down," I tell him. He does so, his eyes still pointing down. "I'm sorry I made your time in this unit a living hell," I sigh. I hate apologising sometimes. "I was just lashing out, and I shouldn't have." It's my turn to look down this time, as he lifts his head.
"It's okay. I probably would've done the same."
"I doubt it; you're not a total asshole," I smile a little and he lets out a sort of nervous chuckle.
"You're not either, man, like you said, you were just lashing out. Most people would if they were just getting their life back on track and have it all fucked up by being put in prison for a few years." We both smile a little more, and I can already feel the anger that's been my existence for the last couple months slowly fading.