Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.
I bounced my leg in the cab ride over the bridge, looking out to the dark water. I had my phone in my hand, hoping my screen will light up with Jamie’s name. Every now and then, I would try to ring him again, hoping he’ll answer and tell me he’s at home. Nothing. I leaned my head back in the seat, closed my eyes and finally let the tears fall down on my face. I hate that I wasn’t closer when I got his call. I hate that I didn’t pick up sooner. He called for help. God knows why he needs help, but I’m scared to find out what the actual fuck happened.
Please Jamie, please be okay.
The traffic was heavy and I was growing impatient. 106th street, 105th street. I couldn’t stand sitting in this car anymore now that I was back in the city. I don’t even remember hopping out of the car, I just did, and started running down the blocks. People turned their heads when I would run by, I mean I can only assume why were but I can’t clearly say; I don’t remember seeing anything in front of me while I ran. By the time I got to 96th street, I hopped on the nearest train to head downtown.
I feel absolutely dreadful knowing that something happened to Jamie. What the fuck am I suppose to do if it’s worse than expected? He doesn’t know how to navigate the streets of the city; for fuck’s sake, he’s only been here for 2 and a half months. What the fuck was I thinking to let him go about his day without checking in on him? Ask him if he’s doing okay? Tell him that I hope he was having a good day at work.
I don’t remember when it was finally my stop, but I raced out of the train station and into the streets of Manhattan. I just have to make it home, he’s probably home; his phone died but he’s home and charging it but he’s home and everything is going to be completely fine.
I opened the door of my apartment building and headed straight to the elevator. I pressed the button what felt like 100 times until it finally reached the lobby. Once it got to my floor, I power-walked passed a family heading the elevator as I went in the direction of my apartment. Pulled my keys out of my bag and put them into the door and turned, I opened the door slowly.
I wish I came home to him. I wish I saw him sitting on the sofa reading a book or working on a case file as he looked up and smiled in my direction, like he has for the last couple of months. I wish I was able to hug him, feel him in my arms, smell his cotton-scent cologne and felt his lips kiss the top of my head.
I didn’t get any of that that day.
“Jamie?” I called out to the apartment. Nothing seemed like it was moved or touched since this morning. I walked to all the rooms in the apartment; he wasn’t anywhere in there. I began to panic, where the fuck would he be? I waited for what possibly felt like hours for him to hopefully come back home. He never did.
I don’t remember when or how I got there, but I began to bang on Ari’s front door of her apartment. Quickly after, she opened it; she looked extremely confused.
“Grace?” Ari answered. I felt the knot forming in my throat; I wanted to cry. I wanted to know where Jamie was. I wanted to hold him, kiss him, let him know that I…
Ari must’ve known how panicked I was, because she instantly looked at me with worry written across her face. She immediately looked into her apartment and gestured me to come in. I walked straight into the apartment.
“Are you alright?” The sound of Ari’s voice brought me back to reality, and I quickly turned around, taking in a deep breath. I needed to gather my thoughts.
“Have you heard from Jamie?” I asked. Ari looked confused.
“No? I last spoke to him at the job, but that’s it.” Ari recalled. I began to hyperventilate. I feel my chest closing in, I couldn’t breathe, and Ari immediately knew something was not right.
“Grace,” Ari started. “What happened?”
I couldn’t hold it in anymore. The words came out faster than I can regulate them.
“It’s Jamie, he’s–” I literally couldn’t get the words out.
“Grace, breathe.” I mimicked Ari’s deep breath technique to calm down. When I was able to get my breathing in control, I continued the thought I was having.
“Jamie called me. I couldn’t hear much, but he wasn’t okay. He said he needed help and I couldn’t get to him on time because I was out of the city visiting Max’s family and now I can’t get a hold of him and I don’t know where he is!” I gasped for air trying to get the story out.
“Is he back at your apartment?” Ari asked.
“I checked. Nothing. I just–” I took a deep breath and felt the tears forming in my eyes. “What if something happened to him, Ari? What if he got himself in some deep shit and now nowhere knows where he is? He’s my fucking responsibility and God Forbid if he’s hurt someone in the city, what am I going to tell his family if something horrible happened?!”
“Grace,” Ari calmly said. “Jamie is a grown ass man. He’s able to take care of himself.”
“He’s only been here for 2 and a half months! He doesn’t know just how fucked up being in the city can be, especially for someone that doesn’t know anything about the city in general! It’s my fault if anything bad happened to him, It’s my fault that I didn’t let him know the bad parts of the city or that there’s just certain things that he can’t do! What the fuck if he’s dead, Ari?” I pleaded.
“Stop it.” Ari sternly said. She was annoyed not at the situation, but the fact that I kept blaming Jamie’s disappearance on myself. “You can’t hold his hand throughout his time here. He chose to come live here. Anything he does doesn’t fall on you.”
I wanted to believe her. I wanted to believe that Jamie is okay and anything that he does is on him, not on me. But I can’t help but still put that blame on myself. He came back here for me. He came back to the states because he wanted to see me again and I can’t help but feel like whatever is happening to him is my responsibility. Fuck Jamie, where are you?
I immediately start crying out of desperation. “Ari… please…” I pleaded. I don’t remember the last time I heaved when I cried. I felt like my heart was breaking. I felt absolutely helpless. I felt like I was incapable of doing anything right. I felt like no matter what, the people closest to me always end up getting hurt. I was scared for Jamie. All I wanted was to see Jamie and hold him and fall asleep next to him.
For fuck’s sake, I love him.
The next thing I knew, Ari was holding me in her arms, trying to calm me down. She was rubbing small circles on my back as I cried in her lap I felt like I couldn’t stop. Eventually I did, because I don’t rmember when I finally passed out on Ari’s couch. She shook me awake, trying to get my attention.
“Grace, bb?” Ari gently said. I looked up at her with groggy eyes. “Do you want to see if he made it home?” I sat up slowly and nodded my head. She grabbed my hand to help me up. I gathered my stuff and waked out of the apartment with Ari and her boyfriend, Dean.
We got back to my apartment building in about 15 minutes. Dean pulled up in front of the building, and Ari got out of the car with me before I headed inside. She called out for me as I was about to open the front door of the building.
“Grace,” Ari called me. I turned around as she walked up to me. She didn’t say anything at first; it was like she was trying to gather her words as efficiently as possible. That’s how Ari was; she was a tough bitch and she gave out some of the toughest love I got from a friend, but when she knows I need some reassurance. she’s still able to hold me up and help me when I simply can’t do anything. This was one of those times.
The other time was when Max and I first broke up. I remember banging on her door, heartbroken and crying. It took me days to get out of her apartment, but she understood that I needed the extra time to get my thoughts together. Now that I come to think of it, Ari got me through some of the toughest times in my life. Maybe that’s why she’s so good to get me through the bad times, like today.
“You know Jamie loves you, right?” I wasn’t expecting her to say that. She knew that was well, because I didn’t say anything back to her. Ari faintly smiled at me. “He wouldn’t disappear because of you, and he’s probably okay. Don’t blame this shit on yourself.” Ari hugs me before looking back at me.
“Text me if anything, babes.” I nodded my head and began to open the front door once more.
I turned the key into the front door of my apartment, hoping to finally catch my breath after going hours of not doing so. I turn the doorknob and slowly open it. I open my eyes ad see the inside of my apartment.