If someone had asked me what the final straw was; I’m not certain that I’d be able to pinpoint it. Four years worth of a friendship, more than half of that time spent with frustration building over instances and occurrences that seemed insignificant to others. Or, maybe I’d finally reached that age where there wasn’t much more I’d allow to fly over my head without giving my input.

Maybe I’d finally reached my limit, got tired of speaking to a brick wall when I only meant well, when I only wanted to help and stop that person from making an ass of themselves.

One thing I know for sure; a motherfucker will use you until you have nothing left for yourself. And when you finally make a stand for yourself, you suddenly become the bully.

 

I remember the day we met; both of us in the same situation. Just getting by, doing what had to be done. It was a fast and easy friendship because when no one else cared to help, we had one another to lean on, to call on in our times of need.

I could admit, the red flags were there early on but when you’re a kindhearted person, you try your best to give others the benefit of the doubt. We were the total opposites, but somehow our differences seemed to compliment the other.

I suppose the issues first arose when I began to show that I was and would never be afraid to speak my mind. The first fight came when she made a hasty decision, despite me giving a hundred and one reasons why there would be major problems and where those problems would come in to play.

I guess I learned that day that some people ask for advice just to hear themselves talk. They surely don’t listen.

 

“So, Val, things have been kind of crazy for my family lately.”

Looking up from my plate, I only gave a look that urged her to press on. I wasn’t in the mood for gossip, especially about people I didn’t know well, but one of my biggest problems was that I always wanted to be that shoulder others could lean on.

“Of course, my little cousin goes against her parents wishes and ends up in a relationship with an older man. She swore up and down that he was in love with her and that he was going to do all of these amazing things and change her life; but, he left her. She’s pregnant.”

“Oh, that’s messed up. I hope that she has some help.”

She smiled eagerly, bouncing up and down in her seat. “Well, that’s what I want to really talk to you about. I need your opinion on something.”

I could only eye her for a long while, already having some feeling about what was going to be said. I threw out my favorite disclaimer. “Don’t ask me anything if you aren’t going to take what I say into consideration, and at least make a decision that will truly work out for you.”

“I know, I know. So listen,” I allowed her to press on, listening though I kept my head and eyes down. I’d never had control over my facial expressions, and if she was paying attention, I didn’t want her to see when I thought she might be saying something foolish or stupid. “she has decided that she doesn’t want the baby anymore.”

Why not?”

“Because the daddy don’t want her or the baby. She was talking about giving the baby up, but she’s never had her shit together and I just know she’s going to do something dirty out of spite.”

“She might consider adoption.”

“She’d assume he’d suffer if something happened to the baby. I know her, trust.” I shrugged, asking her to get to her point. “I was thinking about taking the baby in.” There was a long silence between the two of us. “You know, I suffered my own loss and being a mother is the one thing that will complete me, and…”

I held my hand up, mentally checking my tone before I spoke. “That sounds nice and all, and I’m sure you mean well, but-“

“But what? It’s the perfect idea! She gets her life back, I get the child I’ve always wanted.”

You just said she doesn’t have her life together, but honestly neither do you. We work at the same dead-end job, we’re both living paycheck to paycheck.” She rolled her eyes, and it took all I had not to get up and leave her sitting alone. “Look, I told you not to ask if you weren’t going to listen.”

“Yeah.”

Babies cost, and things in your life change swiftly, and in ways you don’t even think about beforehand. You’re ready to jump the gun and make a rash decision, but I can guarantee you haven’t thought through all the things you’ll need and will have to do just to prepare. Probably won’t even have much time to prepare, just ready to jump in head first. You’ve got no room, you’ve got people in and out your apartment, that don’t help. Other ‘friends’, that take from you more than they give to you. And a man that barely takes care of his own child, so what makes you think he’ll accept one that’s not really for him or you?”

“Val, you don’t understand.”

I held my hand up, excusing myself from the conversation so that I wouldn’t say anything to hurt her feelings. That moment alone should have been an indicator of where the friendship was going, and why I should have backed away right then and there.

 

She did what she wanted, and of course came calling and crying to me when all that I had said then, and after, came pelting her in the face. But I was there, and tried my best to help in any way that I could. Time, money, and more. Little nuances and things I picked up in her behavior soon after began to catch me off guard.

I couldn’t get so much as a small cup of sugar on a good day, but I had to be ready and available at the drop of a dime to baby-sit, or have a bit of spare change, food and clothes, you name it. Often at the last minute, often as a last resort, almost always without so much as a call or consideration of what I may have to do with my time and resources for my own home and family.

It may have seemed rude to say in the moment, but I made it known once that I didn’t sign up for the responsibility of someone else’s child. She had. I volunteered my time out of love for said child, but it was not my responsibility. She huffed, grew upset and ignored as if what I said meant nothing to her.

And I made it known again and again, making numerous attempts to show her what she could lose if she kept trying me.

 

Oh, I was every type of bitter and jealous. Couldn’t get so much as a hello in return when I spoke in passing. Not a ride to work, a helping hand when I was down. Some of that snooty and pettiness was directed towards my own kids, and she couldn’t care less that she had hurt their feelings in the process.

The shit hurt like hell, but Val always had a big heart and it often hurt me more to do people the way they did me. So she remained a friend, and the bullshit continued. I’d preach and fuss, cuss and continue to get my thoughts and feelings about certain situations out however I could in hopes that she would finally HEAR me; only to be told I was overreacting, or doing the most, or that I simply didn’t matter.

Shit sure made me feel like I didn’t matter.

 

Then, I began to ease from her company slowly, sometimes declining to assist her once I’d begun chilling with others who valued my time, others who cared for me. Not what I had or what I could do for them, but for me as a person and my well-being. People who were the type of friends I was trying to be.

I was called selfish then, threatened to lose my spot as a ‘godmother’, and temporarily replaced with people who only used her for what she had in the moment. I was only good enough to be hit up for a cigar or a drink; never to see how I was feeling, or if I wanted to sit and hash things out so that we could pick right back up on being the good friends that we had been before. Hell, I wasn’t even worth an apology in her eyes, not even when it was proven time and time again that all the advice I had given was right.

I’d call her out on her actions and flaky ways again and again, only to get a half-assed well, I’ll do better before she got back on the foolery again. And again.

I grew tired. I was fed up and done with it all.

 

Eventually, things came to a head. One night my spirit led me to send a message explaining exactly how I felt in great detail, leaving no room for confusion or misinterpretation. It included the statement that I was breaking away from both her and that precious baby, so that would no longer be and feel used up by an ungrateful person. I got a one word reply, and no less than three minutes passed before there was incessant and unnecessary pounding on my door.

Her eyes were bloodshot red, her fingers pointed and jabbing directly into my chest as she yelled, calling me an insensitive and selfish bitch. The highroad could have been taken, but once I felt a slap across my face, all bets were off. And none of my children dared to hold me back.

I laid my now ex-best friend out, and the proceeded to air out each and every little thing she’d done to myself and others she’d managed to use up and toss out when she couldn’t get her way. It wasn’t enough to see the few crocodile tears streaming down her bruised face. I proceeded to hurt her soul, tear down that nasty holier-than-thou attitude she loved to carry around.

I probably should have been the bigger person; but motherfuckers don’t learn until you serve them the shit filled dishes they loved to serve you when they thought you had no other options.

One thought on “That Kind Of ‘Friend’ by Cortney Joseph #ShortStoryAugust

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