“One of these days I’m goanna quit!” Maya Wallace said as she walked through the front door.
Kicking off her shoes, she made her way across the decent sized LA loft, and over to the kitchen.
“Babe you’ve been saying that for YEARS now. I’ll believe it when I see it.” Rex, Mya’s boyfriend said from their place on the couch.
With a huff, Mya swung the fridge door open and began searching for something to snack on.
“Babe you wanna beer?” She called out, already grabbing one for herself, along with a stick of string cheese.
“Bad day?” Rex asked as they set their laptop down on the coffee table.
Normally Maya didn’t drink beer. Often, she would have a glass of wine to end the day, and hard liquor was for clubbing and celebrations; but beer…. Something was wrong.
Maya huffed as she stood up right.
“The worse fucking day.” She said.
Rex made his way over to the counter and took a seat.
The couple had been so busy these last couple of weeks that they hadn’t really had time to check in.
Maya had just begun a big project at work, which left little to no room for Rex and Maya’s usual check-ins in the evening.
Normally Maya would come home from work and give Rex a play by play of her day. She would even make notes and would often refer to them when recounting stressful or highly annoying situations.
But recently, over the last three or so weeks, there was no recounting of the days. Maya would come home, and when Rex would hit her with the ol’ ‘how was work?’, she would simply reply with ‘work was work’ before showering and getting into bed; where she’d spend hours and hours scrolling through Tik Toks, until it was time for bed.
The disruption in their routine left Rex feeling confused, and a little hurt too. He tried to enquire about what caused the sudden change, but she simply told him she wasn’t ready to talk about it, so Rex let it be.
Resting her elbows on the counter, Maya rested her chin in her hands. Rex mirrored her and waited.
By the look in her eyes, Maya seemed to be thinking, mulling something over in her mind.
Wanting her to be able to take her time, Rex leaned back, giving her both physical and metaphorical space.
About a moment or two after relaxing back into his seat, Rex was up and again, sliding into her personal space again to catch the tear falling from her eye.
“Woah! Hey, hey, what’s with the tears?” He said.
Maya rarely ever cried, and when she did, it was usually due to being overjoyed or as a relief after a long stressful week.
“I finally saw the photos from Rodger’s wedding.” She said.
In an instant, Rex was sliding off their stool and rounding the island to gather Mya into their arms.
“He was my best friend, my first friend, and he just got fucking married without even telling me. He didn’t even bother to send photos, I found out from one of his friend’s Instagram stories!” She sobbed.
Rex tightened their hold on Mya as she sobbed into their chest.
This was low; Rex had expected some bullshit around Roger’s wedding; a note on Maya’s invitation saying she couldn’t have a plus one. A phone call to Maya to try and convince her not to bring Rex; but to uninvite Maya from his wedding, the same wedding she helped plan, and partially fund; now that was a new level of low. And all because Roger was a transphobic, homophobic, asshole.
“I’m so sorry baby.” Rex said, rubbing her back as she pressed her face into his chest.
Pulling back from his chest, but never breaking the embrace, Maya shook her head and took a deep breath.
“No, I’m sorry. Roger’s an asshole. I shouldn’t even be crying over him.” She said wiping her eyes.
She was trying to be strong and remain ‘loyal’ to Rex and the choice that she made; Rex understood that, but that didn’t mean she wasn’t allowed to grieve.
“Love, you lost your best friend…”
“No, Rob wasn’t my best friend. I could never-”
Placing their hands on Maya’s shoulders, Rex stopped her.
“Baby, you and Roger had been friends for decades. All the memories, shared experiences, hell, you two planned out your whole lives together. You two had a special bond, and the feelings that you had within and about that bond didn’t just vanish when Roger decided to become a transphobic asshole.” Rex explained.
Maya’s eyes filled with water as she looked up at Rex.
“Where did he go? The Roger I knew was kind and loving. We used to make fun or all that right wing, homophobic/transphobic bullshit together! And now he’s protesting the very same Pride parades we used to go to? Now he’s holding picket signs outside the same abortion clinics he’s driven our friends to? He set the standard for how straight people should behave at Pride events! And now he’s protesting at those very same events! How can this be? Where did my Roger go?”
By this point, anger was taking over, pushing out the grief that Maya felt about losing her friend.
Rex had met Roger in a gay club; Roger was actually the one that introduced Rex to Maya. In the beginning, Roger seemed cool; he gave Rex the ol’ ‘if you hurt her, I’ll kill you’ speech, and accepted Rex into his and Maya’s group of friends. Roger stood up for Rex when men would call him names like ‘it’ and ‘tranny’. Roger would often put himself between Rex and overly aggressive men who thought they could ‘fix’ Rex, and would often threaten to sever the heads of men who even so much as looked at Rex, Maya, or any of their friends the wrong way.
And then one date, with one girl, with whom Roger wasn’t even interested in, and boom; It was all downhill from there.
At first Maya, Rex, and the rest of their friends tried to take Megan, the girl Roger had been seeing, into their group. They hosted game nights, went out to dinner and the movies, and tried to get to know her. But from the beginning, she already seemed to not like the bunch; but especially not Rex.
Megan once asked Rex what their ‘real name’ was, and when Rex told her it was Rex, she clarified that she was asking what their parents named them.
When Rex politely told her that they weren’t comfortable sharing that info, she made a comment on how she was sure Rex’s parents worked hard to name them, and to change it was ‘quite rude’.
Eventually, after racking up a laundry list of interactions like the one she had with Rex, the gang gently suggested that maybe Roger shouldn’t bring her around anymore.
Surprisingly, Roger quite easily agreed, and their group continued meeting and having fun without Megan.
But Roger was still with Megan; which didn’t really bother anyone in the group, because it was Roger’s life, and Roger’s choice with whom he wanted to be with.
But then, as Roger and Megan got more and more serious, Roger began to change. Frist, Roger would start to make comments about how cishet relationships ‘just made sense’ and how ‘the world just wouldn’t be able to continue without them’. Over time, these comments became more and more frequent, until eventually, Roger started putting Bible verses, and articles about how bad the LGBT community was, into the group chat.
The Roger Maya, Rex, and the rest of their friends knew was quickly fading away, and being replaced with this asshole who got his talking points from old, bitter white men, and extremist.
Eventually, one by one, Rex and Mya’s friends dropped off. But Maya choose to stick around; in her mind, she thought she could get him back to the Roger everyone knew and loved. But unfortunately that wasn’t the case.
“I know distancing ourselves from him was the right thing, but it’s just hard, and so weird. It’s like…” Maya trailed off, her eyebrows bunching together as she struggled to find the right words.
“Like purgatory, this in between place where Roger’s still alive, but just not the Roger we knew and loved. Our Roger, he’s gone.” Rex said.
Exhausted with the rush of emotions a single Instagram story could bring back, Maya fell back into Rex.
“Wow, all that, from a fucking Instagram story!” Maya chuckled.
Wrapping their arms around her waist, Rex pressed a kiss into her neck before speaking.
“Maybe it’s time to unfollow him.” They suggested softly.
Maya let out a disapproving sound but pulled out her phone anyways.
“Can you do it?” She asked, holding out her phone.
“Of course love.” Said Rex as they grabbed her phone.
“Block him too.” Maya said in a small voice.
Rex looked at her for a moment.
“Are you sure?” They said.
Maya nodded and so Rex hit the unfollow before turning the phone to Maya. The red words ‘Block’ stared Maya down, and she stared right back.
This was it, no more holding out hope that Roger would come back and no more checking in on him. This was the end. So, with one deep breath, Maya pushed the button, thus finally putting an end to all her hopes and wishes.
“I’m proud of you babe.” Rex said.
Maya said nothing as she walked Rex over to the couch, where she pushed them down and curled up into their arms.
As Rex squeezed, she thanked the universe that she at least had them, and their group of supportive friends.