Penny sighed and continued, “You never open up. Even when I ask, you’ll just say something like, it’s easy, I sorted it out, no need to fret. I don’t know. Maybe that’s who you are or you just want to be strong for other people. But there’s really nothing I can do when I’m communicating with a brick wall. Sometimes I want to ask if you’re okay but I can’t read your emotions. You always find a joke even at the lowest of moments so it’s really hard to tell where your mind is. And you know me better than most, so you shouldn’t feel like it’s a burden to open up to me.”

“I honestly didn’t see this coming. At the back of my mind, I knew everything was easy. And I kind of get where you’re coming from but I feel you’re partly to blame for this,” remarked Penny as she paced around her room with her phone on speaker. There was a slight pause and then Richie spoke, “Wow! Just wow! It always has to be someone else’s fault, does it? Even when there’s no fault to apportion. But since you think I need to shoulder some of the blame, please, let me know why.”

Penny took a seat at the edge of her bed, cleared her voice and in the calmest voice possible, tried to explain where she was coming from. “The thing is you always want to be strong even when it’s not necessary. Sometimes it’s cool to let your guard down and open up. Anytime I get past the surface you always go back to your shell and brush aside everything unless it’s work. And I want to be there for you but do you really ever put yourself in a position that anyone can offer any support?

I try. Trust me. I do but there’s only so much I can do when I keep on getting the same response. And I want to nag you. Prod till you tell me what’s bothering you. I want to be that person you think of first when you have something to say and don’t know how to say it. I want to be more involved in your life. But I can only do that if you let me. I want to be a welcomed problem. You mean the world to me and the only thing standing between us is on the other end of this call.”

Richie was taken aback and stuttered in his response, “Wow! I honestly didn’t know that’s how you felt. I have so much to say but I don’t know how to bring it out. It sounds right in my head but right now I can’t piece them together. I want to say I’m sorry but I don’t know what I’d be apologizing for. I know there’s a lot that needs to be addressed and I’ll start right now. Let’s meet. Dinner tomorrow?”

“Sure thing. And I feel like I have so much to say as well but I’m sure by the time we meet I’d have put my thoughts together. I’m glad you opened up about how you feel. We can build on this from a point of knowledge. I understand where you’re coming from and I believe you also get my perspective.” Responded Penny as she went back to her chair and continued reading.

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