Normal People by Sally Rooney Read Online (FREE)
Do you think it would be better if we had never been together? she says.
I don’t know. For me it’s hard to imagine my life that way. Like, I don’t know where I would have gone to college then or where I would be now.
She pauses, lets this thought roll around for a moment, keeps her hand flat on her abdomen.
It’s funny the decisions you make because you like someone, he says, and then your whole life is different. I think we’re at that weird age where life can change a lot from small decisions. But you’ve been a very good influence on me overall, like I definitely am a better person now, I think. Thanks to you.
She lies there breathing. Her eyes are burning but she doesn’t make any move to touch them.
When we were together in first year of college, she says, were you lonely then?
No. Were you?
No. I was frustrated sometimes but not lonely. I never feel lonely when I’m with you.
Yeah, he says. That was kind of a perfect time in my life, to be honest. I don’t think I was ever really happy before then.
She holds her hand down hard on her abdomen, pressing the breath out of her body, and then inhales.
I really wanted you to kiss me last night, she says.
Her chest inflates again and deflates slowly.
I wanted to as well, he says. I guess we misunderstood each other.
Well, that’s okay.
He clears his throat.
I don’t know what’s the best thing for us, he says. Obviously it’s nice for me hearing you say this stuff. But at the same time things have never ended well with us in the past. You know, you’re my best friend, I wouldn’t want to lose that for any reason.
Sure, I know what you mean.
Her eyes are wet now and she has to rub them to stop tears running.
Can I think about it? he says.
I don’t want you to think I’m not appreciative.
She nods, wiping her nose with her fingers. She wonders if she could turn over onto her side and face the window now so he couldn’t look at her.
You really have been so supportive of me, he says. What with the depression and everything, not to linger on that too much, but you really helped me a lot.
You don’t owe me anything.
No, I know. I didn’t mean that.
She sits up, swings her feet off the bed, puts her face down in her hands.
I’m getting anxious now, he says. I hope you don’t feel like I’m rejecting you.
Don’t be anxious. Everything’s fine. I might head home now, if that’s okay.
I can drop you.
You don’t want to miss the second half, she says. I’ll walk, it’s alright.
She starts putting her shoes on.
I forgot there was even a match on, to be honest, he says.
But he doesn’t get up or look for his keys. She stands up and smooths her skirt down. He’s sitting on the bed watching her, an attentive, almost nervous expression on his face.