“I don’t know,” I admit. “One minute we were fine, and then we weren’t. We got into a stupid argument that escalated quickly, and then she was gone. About a month or two after that, I moved too so I could get a single apartment for myself.”
I look up at the board. It’s Kyle’s turn.
“You should go get your gutter balls,” I tell him.
He rolls his eyes. “You just watch me come from behind and get a strike.”
“I don’t think you can catch up even if you get all strikes from here!” I laugh.
He huffs and strides over to the lane to throw the ball. It doesn’t end up in the gutter, but it only brushes two pins, knocking them down quietly. Kyle scowls as Ethan and I laugh uproariously, and takes his second shot. This one manages to knock down three pins.
“Five!” Ethan says in mock awe as Kyle returns. “Is that a new record?”
“Fuck off,” Kyle says, rolling his eyes.
It’s my turn now, and I leave my friends to their bickering. I toss the ball down the lane, striking all the pins down in one hit.
When I turn again, Ethan and Kyle have stopped arguing, and they’re watching me with clear eyes. I sigh.
“There’s not much else to say,” I tell them. “We were together, something went wrong, and we grew apart. It happens.”
“How long were you together before she left?” Ethan asks curiously.
I don’t like thinking of that time. It just reminds me of all the times I could have noticed that something was wrong, yet I didn’t.
“Two and a half years,” I sigh.
“That’s a fair amount of time,” Kyle points out. “Something bad must have happened.”
“Yeah, well, you figure it out and then tell me,” I mutter. “I haven’t figured it out at all. After three years, it seems weird that she’ll suddenly show up again, though.”
“Three years?” Kyle suddenly says sharply.
“Yeah, three years,” I agree. “Didn’t I tell you guys that that was how long it’s been.”
“You avoided mentioning her as much as possible,” Ethan reminds me.
“Right,” I say, shaking my head. “Sorry. Yeah, we’ve broken up for three years. I know it’s a bit stupid, to be so hung up on her, but…”
“It’s isn’t stupid,” Ethan interrupts. He gives me a small smile. “It isn’t stupid at all.”
I smile at him. “Thanks.”
I glance at Kyle. He’s looking down at his hands. There’s a strangely conflicted expression on his face.
“What’s wrong?” I ask.
“Well…three years… That’s…”
Kyle frowns. I’m suddenly very curious about what the problem is.
“Kyle?” I prompt.
“It’s just…” Kyle sighs. “It’s funny you should say three years. Because Jessica has a three-year-old son.”
I stare at him.