February 20th 2014
Story originally written and experienced: December 2nd 2010
I opened the door s l o w l y
And saw her laying in bed eyes staring at the ceiling
Shoes on. Covers still neat. And backpack resting against the bed.
I could tell she had been home for a while. And I could tell every moment of it was spent doing exactly this.
“Hey.” I said from the doorway.
“Hey.” she responded with an uninterrupted gaze.
“…How are you?”
“Good. Just…relaxing after a long day. You?”
“Are you sure you’re okay?”
“Yeah. I’m fine.”
I was about to leave but I changed my mind instead. Only because I didn’t think she was being truthful. And also because I saw a single tear
from her eyes to her ears the second time I had asked.
“Hey. Come on. You know why I came in here. Talk to me.”
And just like that she squinted her eyes. Brought her hands to her face. And one tear turned into two tears that turned into a few puddles after that.
“I don’t know what’s wrong with me.” she said in between unintended sobs.
“There’s nothing wrong with you.”
“There is. There’s something wrong with me.”
“No. There’s not.”
“Yes. There is.”
“Why do you keep saying that….does this have anything to do with Derrick?”
“Yes…no….yes…no not really…somewhat. I don’t know. I just feel like everything is so fucked up lately. Especially with him. So I tried to fix at least that one aspect of my life today and make things better with him but I think I just made it worse.”
“I just…I texted him this morning. My efforts to make things better. And progressively throughout the day his responses became shorter and shorter and less engaging and eventually I just sent him a text that said ‘okay sorry I won’t bother you anymore.’ “
“Oy…you said that?”
“Yeah I did. I don’t know why. But whatever. He didn’t respond. So I texted him again.”
“You texted him…again?”
“Yes. I know. And yes. I did. I asked him if he was okay. And his response was ‘any normal person would know they’re bothering someone if the other person doesn’t respond. So stop.’ “
“…Have I ever told you how charming your boyfriend is? If not. Surprise.”
“No fucking joke. So then I called him an asshole. And then I apologized for calling him an asshole. And really, I’m just crazy and I should just get over it. All of it. All of this shit.”
“Alright. Stop. Listen to me. This instance? Yes. It’s one instance. And you let your insecurities get the best of you. I’m the absolute queen at that. Welcome to the club. But can we be honest for a second? Just really quick.”
“This isn’t one day. One incident. One thing. In fact. It’s been happening for a while with him. In fact. We both know that’s true. What did you tell Brian when he was complaining to us how his roommate Jeff hasn’t thrown down for beer once this year for any of their parties. Not once.”
“I said he needed to do something about it because it wasn’t okay that they were always paying for his shit.”
“Right. And what did you tell your sister when her best friend hooked up with her boyfriend?”
“That she needed to find better friends.”
“And what did you tell me when my boyfriend didn’t cheer for me at my competitions, didn’t congratulate me when I got my dream internship and never showed up for the dinner he said he would? “
“That he was going through a lot. And I knew you really cared about each other. But it couldn’t always be that way. Especially if you were trying to make it work.”
She finally sat up from the bed. Let her tears drop from her cheek to the sheets, not realizing that she had accidentally helped herself.
That somewhere in that while she realized.
We all have people in our lives we care about a whole hell of a lot. More than many. And more than most.
They’re great. They’re meaningful. They give a damn. And you do too.
They’re incredibly imperfect but the kind of imperfect that satisfyingly claims the role as your best friend, family or even significant other.
And in those years of deserved and unconditional love, the price for forgiveness is
And so is expectation and every once in a while—respect.
That whether we like to admit it to not, we eventually start to take for granted these flexible bonds…or maybe it’s the other way around. Not all the time. Very rarely, in fact. But it does happen. And sometimes that leniency turns into a “They won’t mind.” or a “They won’t care.” or an “It’s just them.” and “They’d do it for me.”
And the thing is.
You would do it for them.
And they might too.
Also realizing that the things you do? The relationships you build? Should more often than not feel like a reward. Not a chain.
That sometimes we find ourselves incredibly happy with the people we’ve picked up and kept in incredible company with along the way.
But sometimes you find yourself sitting there wondering when you became that friend who’d call 10 times out of 10 to catch up and say hey. And the other person appreciated it. Just never really tried. Because they knew the other person would try a little harder.
Or that parent who was generously giving their child money out of love and out of care hoping for a potential “hey thanks” one day.
Or maybe a couple who hit a complacent plateau and suddenly the basics of love and companionship were very much there…but the will and the need to try somehow became unromantically one-sided.
And it sounds sad. And it’s sound strange. And most of all.
It sounds familiar.
Thing is. Sometimes we slip into the comfort of reliability, dependability and a skeleton of good company. And the friendships you have? The relationships you’re in? That bond you earned? Is absolutely fantastic. And incredibly earned. But.
Keeping it together? Making it quality? And making it work?
Is one hell of a reward.
You know that.
Because it has been.
And always will be.
Just as long as.
You’re not the only one striving it.
The thing about being taken for granted is.
You rarely even realize it’s happening. And find yourself thinking you don’t deserve recognition for your efforts or the things that you do.
Because “it’s them” and “they didn’t mean it” or “they’ll come around”
But you do.
You absolutely do.
You deserve a call back. You deserve a “hey thanks.” You deserve to be paid back that money you lent. And you deserve to feel great more often than you feel worse.
And they do too.
And if you think about the people in your life. The good. The best. And the maybe even the toxic.
You’ll start to sep arate the ones who appreciate you do. And the one’s that just don’t.
And it’ll feel kind of good when you finally figure out that what you’ve been really taking for granted this whole time is:
The ability to sit up and realize what you damn deserve and what you damn don’t.
And how incredibly: Deserving. Worthwhile. And Possible. That really is.
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