Tasmin is sad

Shaleeza climbed the creaky old stairs at the rear of the house, to the second floor. There was a bathroom at the top of the stairs, with three bedrooms running the length of the hall. Mr and Mrs Beretan's room was at the end of the hall, Arianna's room was the one closest to the stairs.

Which left the middle room to Tasmin, Shaleeza knew. She had been in that room countless times. She usually burst right through the door without knocking and gave her best friend a hug upon entering, but depression is a powerful thing, even if it's only temporary, so she decided to approach Tasmin with a rare touch of subtlety, so she paused outside the door long enough to tap gently on the painted wood and call out softly, “Tas? It's Shaleeza, baby. I'm coming in.”

The door creaked a little, and revealed a dark, cave-like enclosure beyond. “Wow,” Shaleeza commented, “are you a bat? I gotta use SONAR to find you? Where are you?”

She found Tasmin's bed and figured Tasmin could be found somewhere beneath the mountain of sheets and blankets atop the little Double sized mattress. She climbed aboard and crawled to the head of the bed, where she found a few tufts of Tasmin's honey curls peeking out from under a flowery comforter.  "Hey,” shaleeza said, and sat next to the tufts. After a moment, it was obvious that no response was forthcoming, so she picked up the edge of the comforter and called to the empty, dark space underneath, as if calling to someone lost in a deep well or cave, “Hellllllloooooo?”

Go away, Leez.”

Do you feel bad?”

Go away.”

Do you want to talk?”

Do I look like I want to talk?”

I dunno. I can't see you.”

There was a moment of silence, then, “Go away.”

Shaleeza jumped from the messy mattress and paced the room, swinging her arms appreciatively, “I love what you've done with the place, luv, really I do. Goth is so in right now, innit? The only thing you're missing is Nine Inch Nails or that scary Techno crap you like that nobody can dance to.”

The pile of blankets spoke again, “I'll be okay. Just leave me be for a few days.”

Shaleeza nodded vigorously, even though Tasmin couldn't see her, “Yeah you will, but until then you will spend your days wallowing in self pity and inner loathing. It's not a healthy way to go, as far as I'm concerned. And I won't let you sink so low.” She made her way to the window and snapped the curtains open smartly. The gloom of the world beyond the glass could have been the Sahara, for all the darkness in that bedroom it dispelled.

Shaleeza raised her arms to the ceiling triumphantly, “The darkness has been vanquished! The power of Christ compels you!”

Tasmin groaned beneath the blankets and barked, “Are you kidding me?”

Shaleeza crossed the room in four long strides and plopped herself down at the corner, where she assumed Tasmin's head might be, “Lookit, your mum and dad are up already, your sister has left for school, and I am running late for work. Now, the sooner you peel yourself from those sheets (and probably burn them) and get yourself into the shower, then better off we'll all be – well, mostly you, but you get my drift, yeah?”

Tasmin finally emerged from her comforter cocoon in a manic display of rage, flinging blankets to the floor and spitting while she screamed, “He lied to me, Shaleeza! Excuse me if that makes me feel bad!”

A man lied to you for sex? That's unheard of! Put that in the Daily Mirror at once!”

But not to meeeeee. I feel so used, so dirty.”

Of course you do, it's only natural. But he's the dirty one, the filthy liar. Now, we'll discuss this later over a pint of ice cream, but right now I've got to get my ass to work before they fire me.”

You work for your aunt, Shaleeza.”

Right. And she'll sack me for sure, just cuz it's Tuesday.”

Shaleeza headed for the door and said, “Stay strong, Tas. We'll talk later,” and swung the door shut behind her. Tasmin was just contemplating pulling the covers back over her head and returning to her little dark world of misery when Shaleeza popped her head back in and said, “Shower. Really. Please. For the love of God, woman.”

The End

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