Anka planned to spend New Year’s Eve at home … until the doorbell rang.

     Dad helped my mother put on her coat and then turned to me.

     – Are you sure that everything will be okay Anna?
     I nodded my head.
     – When will Kaśka come? – Asked my mother.
     I looked at my watch.
     – Per hour. She said it was at eight o’clock at the latest.
     Dad smiled at me warmly, though there was also a bit of sadness there.
     “We won’t come too late,” he said.
     – We’ve got New Year’s Eve, Dad. You should come too late – I laughed.
     “We’ll be back just after midnight,” said Mam.
     After these words they left the house.

     My parents have had many worries with me in recent months. I couldn’t blame them. When Darek broke up with me, I lost my temper. I could not eat or sleep and I was constantly crying. For the first few days I couldn’t even get out of bed or talk to friends.

     Now, after a month, it is not much better. I saw Darek in the hallway at school – he always turned his head the other way when I saw him. In such moments I wanted to die.

     I loved him so much.

     The telephone rang. I picked up the phone and sank into a chair.

     – Hello?
     – Hi, Anka – I heard Kaśka’s voice.
     – Hi, what happened? – I asked.
     – Oh! Anka, guess who just called me and invited me? Adam Malinowski! Do you imagine?

     Kaśka’s happiness made me jealous and I felt like crying again. However, because everyone had already had enough of my moaning, I decided to remain calm.

     – When do you go out with him?
     – Today.
     – Today? – I could not believe that. – Kaśka, how could you accept the invitation on New Year’s Eve?
     – It is not his fault that he invited me so late – answered Kaśka. – He left with his friends and was gone throughout the Christmas break. He just returned and decided to check if I was free today.

     All this seemed artificial to me, but I did not want to pour a bucket of cold water onto Kaśka.

     – You’ll probably have fun. Where are you going?
     – For a party at Mariola’s house. We’re going with Elka and Tomek.
     “That sounds awesome,” I said with delight.
     – I know I was supposed to spend this evening with you, Anka, but understand me. Please.
     – I understand – I lied – Have fun.

     We said hello and almost at the same time when I hung up, the phone rang again. This time it was Elka.

     – I’m calling you because Tomek said we should invite you to come with us to Mariolka. He knows that Darek will not be there because Joanna just said that she would not come with him. Have a flu. Tomek says there will be other solo people too. Do you want to come with us?

     “Thank you, but no,” I said.
     – Tomek says you shouldn’t sit alone that evening.

     The problem with talking to Elka was that Tomek spoke every now and then.

     – Listen, thank you for the offer, but I’m really having fun.
     – Are you sure?
     – Yes I’m sure. Will you put on your new sweater?
     – No, Tomek said he didn’t like me in blue. Isn’t that a pity? Half my clothes are blue, and now I can’t wear them.
     “Come on, you can do it,” I said. – Have fun and call me tomorrow.
     – I’ll call you. Hi.

     When Elka hung up, I sat down and listened for a moment. After a while I hung up and looked at the cat, who was fawning at the feet.

     “I’m sorry, Rozamunda,” I said, lifting her up and laying her on my lap. She began to purr.

     “Rozamunda, we girls are really sympathetic,” I said. – Do you know about this? Kaśka was so hot to go out with Adam that she accepts the last minute suggestions – hopeless. And Elka lets Tomek tell her exactly what she can and cannot do and where they will go. He makes all decisions.

     But who am I to say that? I sighed. When I went with Darek, he wouldn’t let me use eye shadows. He controlled my weight and got a fit of fury when I cried at the movies. It was like that. And if he called at the moment and asked me to go with him, I would definitely agree. Kaśka, Elka and I are like puppets, and the boys pull the strings. (…)

     I heard the doorbell ring. Katie? I thought.

     But when I opened the door, it wasn’t Kaśka standing at the doorstep. It was Darek!

     My heart started beating crazy.

     “Hi,” he said.
     – Hi.
     – Can I go in?
     – Sure.

     He stepped inside, took off his jacket and threw it on the cabinet. Then he turned and looked at me as usual – with his head slightly tilted to the side and lips slightly parted. His gaze was full of love.

     – I made a mistake, Anka. I thought I wanted to hang out with another girl, but I was wrong. I really miss you.

     He pulled me to him and kissed my lips. He kissed my red eyes and tears that ran down my cheeks.

     – Tomek told me that your parents went out to the party.

     – Yes – I replied – they went on New Year’s Eve.

     He kissed me again and I thought I was about to explode with happiness.

     “I want you to come back to me,” he whispered.

     Tears flowed from my eyes again, but this time tears of joy.

     “Don’t cry,” he said softly, “it’s all right.” I love you.

     Another kiss. Oh! How I loved him!

     “Let’s go to your room,” he said.

     I was stunned. – You know we can’t do that. This is not for us.

     He shook his head. – Not for us? We will never part again. Our love will endure all storms, and this means that we can enjoy our love now.

     His words melted my heart. I felt a well-known desire that I resisted as we walked together and remembered the old temptations. Then I beat them. But now I had to fight them all over again.

     – Maybe we will go to Mariolka? – I suggested.

     Darek looked at the ceiling. – Anka, we will not go to Mariolka and we will not lose this wonderful opportunity. That we are alone. All four hours we can spend alone with each other. Who knows when we will have a similar opportunity? (…)

     He took my hand and began to lead me towards my room. – Come on, you know you want it. – I felt something starting to crack inside me. Good God, please give me strength to do what I should do.

     Suddenly I realized that the reason I wanted to give him had nothing to do with love. I was just afraid I would lose him again. Didn’t he just want to use me? He knew I was alone that evening. He knew how much I wanted him to come back. Did he think I would do anything to achieve this?

     “We won’t do it,” I heard my voice.

     – Anka, I love you, and if you really love me …

     Something exploded in me.

     – If I really love you? Darek, everyone at school knows that I love you! I wandered for a month with red, dark circles under my eyes. Everything fell apart. My grades are getting worse. Of course, I love you, but I don’t think it’s okay for you to go back to my life and expect …

     He hugged me again. – Don’t you see it, baby? This night was created for that. Everything is perfectly composed. Are you serious about returning or not?

     – I would like to, but …

     – Are we going to your room, Anka? Yes or no?

     “No,” I said so softly that I could barely hear my voice.

     – Then I’m going.

     I nodded my head. He nodded in amazement. – I can not believe. He turned on his heel and walked toward the door. After a few seconds, I heard the door open and close. (…)

     I stood like a pole. I sat on the floor next to Rozamunda.

     – You know, honey, I prayed for strength to do what was right and God gave it to me, but I want Darek so much to come back. (…) If I start walking with him, I will again become a puppet in his hands. I have to be myself. (…)

     – Rozamunda, I’m starting to be myself. Tomorrow I will go to the store and buy as many eye shadows as I can find! And this is just the beginning.

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