Her crystal blue eyes lit up as the extraordinary realization dawned on her, “You didn’t tell me you lived with a black guy!” With her widening smile gaping with awe, she looked at me as if I had slept with the hot professor. “You didn’t ask,” I mumbled, gears grinding.
“Hey so would you be able to spot me some money for like a month or so till I can pay you back when I get my money right?” I read the text again before locking the screen, reluctant to respond. She is a good friend, and this isn’t an ordinary request. Yet, I’m irritated.
I cast my phone aside, and raise a pipe to my mouth. With the flick of the lighter, I feel a flame of anger. I inhale. Why do her problems always seem to become my problems? Well, that’s selfish. Her dad has been dead less than two weeks and I’m already back to focusing on myself. Exhale.
She had just returned from the funeral services a couple days ago. Every day while she was gone, I had made time available specifically to check on her. She’s an openly emotional person, and I had known she would need to talk. I raise the pipe again, manipulating the black to expose the green. Inhale. I am not an expressively sensitive person, and she knows that. But I know how to listen, so I did. I do. I listen to everything. Exhale.
For the week that she was gone, I listened to her bitch more about her unreciprocated attempts at her “relationship” than of the death of her father. She is, for lack of a better word, obsessed with this guy. Its painful to watch him take advantage of her kindness, but it was even more painful to watch her insist on herself when he was trying to let her down easy. I raise the pipe, inhale. He’ll make excuses like “I don’t have money to go out tonight. I’m sorry.” She’ll counter with “It’s okay. I’ll pay. I just wana see you.” Every. Damn. Time. Exhale.
I slip off into a stoner’s dream…
“I’ve lent you money before. Why won’t you return the favor?”
“Because you have a leech. He’s using you! Ask him for some of the money he owes you. Why should I have to pay for you to take him out?”
“He’s too much a part of me. I don’t want to be that lonely.”
“Oh! So then why doesn’t he make an effort to pay you back? Why won’t he call you his girlfriend? Why didn’t he show up during the worst week of your life?!”
“He’s not my boyfriend.”
“You’re the only one who can’t get that through your head.”
“I just like the sex.”
A knock on the door interrupts my silent argument. I go to the door to retrieve my pizza. Halfway through my first slice, I text her back.
“Like how much”
A quick response reads “Like $200?”
I toss my pizza back into the box and stare at the ceiling. Why is this my problem? Why won’t she ask him for some money? I pick up my pipe, inhale. Better yet, why doesn’t she demand it? She’s asking the wrong person. I’ve been there everyday. I’ve listened to her mourn. I’ve hugged her while she cried. Where was he? Exhale.
My tolerance is depleted. I’m angry. When I ask to share a meal, she’s with him. When I invite her out, she doesn’t have any money. But every time he hurts her, I’m her comfort. And now that he’s drained her, I have to pay. I want him gone. I want her to initiate ending relations before he does. If she doesn’t…. But I can’t instigate this argument, not a week after her dad died. A meek reply:
“I don’t have that much to spare right now. I can do like $100.”