I

All of a sudden, Giulia grabbed me by my arm. Federica had just stepped out of the big green door that led outside from the lunch room and covered her eyes from the sun. Giulia pushed me in front of her. Startled, I swallowed my words and slightly mumbled in an unsure tone and trembling lip: “I don’t think we should….” I glanced at Giulia, waiting for her to jump into the conversation, but all she did was hide behind me, still holding my arm. I could feel her slowly pressing on my back, using me as some kind of force shield. Feeling the tightness, somehow I got more courageous. With one abruptly breathed out sentence, I said: “I don’t think we should be friends anymore.”

At that point I understood what honesty was. I found out that if you tell someone how you feel about them, you survive and possibly feel better for not hiding your feelings.

II

The sun is warm, so we lie down and try to catch some rays. Federica finally walks out of the lunch room, and Giulia springs up, grabbing my arm by force. “Who’s going to do this first?” I shake my head. We haven’t even decided what to tell her yet. But Giulia pushes me in front of Federica, so it’s too late to really decide what to do. I just tell her those infamous words: “We don’t want to be your friends anymore.”

The moment I say those words I discover this new power I never knew I had. I can make people feel bad just by saying a couple of words. Soon I would be unstoppable.

III

Federica stepped out of the big green door that led outside from the lunch room and covered her eyes from the sun. Giulia grabbed me and together we went tell her how we don’t want to be her friends anymore if she is just going to use us when the friends she likes better aren’t around.

Federica gave me the look of death, piercing my brain with her angry and arrogant blue eyes that hold a slight expression of surprise. “Fine.” She walked away from us toward her popular friends, who were laughing at an unlucky girl on the other side of the playground who had forgotten to zip up her pants.

And then I understood. I turned to Giulia, awkward in her fake designer jeans, and knew I didn’t want to be the girl with the unbuttoned pants ever again. A few days after, I told Giulia I didn’t want to be her friend anymore; I followed Federica, and now I laugh at the unfortunate.

IV

Giulia and I decided to tell Federica that we didn’t want to be her friend anymore. I sabotaged yet another friendship. Giulia was in it too, but she wasn’t as experienced as I was. Moving so often, I had to protect myself from getting too close to people, calling it quits so the inevitable next move would hurt less. This time it was different though. It was liberating, as I had told Federica straight to her face. Usually my sabotages would consist of me not calling back or ignoring the friend, but now I decided not be sneaky about it. I told her and I watched her walk away. Giulia was holding my arm behind me, scared as hell. Maybe she was scared of the fact that I could do it to her too. She was right to be scared.

– Federica Pagani, “Repeat”

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