“Babe we’re sinking, and I’m scared,” she said weakly, nearly whispering. To voice her fear out loud was much too unnerving to speak at any higher volume. She then pulled away from their embrace and brushed past him toward the corner of the room to sit in the oversized peapod chair by the window. The big, brick-colored cushion was her favorite spot in the apartment as most days she loved to either look on as neighborhood children played at the park across the street without a care in the world, or snuggle up with a good novel. But today it was dreary and raining. And as she watched droplets of water roll down like angry tears, she could feel the cold of winter approaching through the window. From what she could see, the park was empty and for once reading a book couldn’t transport her to a life outside her own. I’m so not in the mood for poetic justice right now.
So she instead turned from the window to look back at him, but his back was still to her. She almost hoped he would ignore her. Or maybe he’d regard her statement as if she’d said she were hungry because at least that was a problem with an easy solution.
“I know babe, I’m scared too.” As much as she respected his honesty, she had to admit her heart dropped just a few notches.
“So what are we going to do?” And as soon as the words left her mouth she hated herself for knowing the answer.
“I don’t know.” He’d said it with such finality, with no thought or consideration that the look in her eyes hardened though she silently willed her expression to not follow suit.
He was so beautiful inside and out with a heart of gold, inviting, innocent eyes and a naturally strong build, yet his honey-brown skin was smoother than should be allowed on any grown man. The first time they’d been intimate, she ran her hands back and forth across his shoulder muscles in wonderment of the silkiness she felt beneath her fingertips. A year and a half later his skin was still her favorite feature and she loved him so hard it ached to face him now. Still, she searched his eyes for another answer; preferably one that was black and white, because ‘I don’t know’ was much too gray. She could look to her left to the outside to get all the gray she needed but right now she needed words that were going to help her hold on a little longer.
“Babe, I know you’re tired of having this conversation, because Lord knows, so am I. But this time I said I was scared. I feel like I’m trying to be Superwoman, and it ain’t hardly workin’.”
“Well, what else do you expect me to say? I told you I’m trying as hard as I can to get us out of this situation, and I also told you it would take time!”
He did ignore her scared statement and she was well aware that the conversation was plenty old, but she couldn’t help but bring it up. Things had gotten to the point where the anxiety built up in her chest so heavy that at times it felt like a ball of fire was rolling back and forth with no way out. The worrying thoughts running through her mind made her head pound more forcefully with each passing moment.
This can’t be healthy. Who has time for a heart attack at 23?
She thought maybe she’d feel better by expressing her feelings as her friend Adrienne had suggested, but she couldn’t see how all this ‘expression’ was leading to any progress.
He noticed her pinching at the bridge of her nose with her thumb and index finger and realized a headache was on the horizon.
Damn, I hate seeing her like this. She tries so hard to hold me down, but how do you admit to your woman that you’re having a hard time pulling your own weight?
With his long strides, in two steps he was across the room and at her feet where she sat holding out his hands for her to grab. She didn’t look up but did take hold of his hands, so he counted that as a good sign.
“Babe,” he started softly and then stopped to collect his thoughts. He figured as long she still touched him and referred to him as Babe, the simple yet affectionate nickname they both shared with each other, he’d do the same as if they were still on safe ground with one another. However, deep down he knew their days of civil discourse about their financial woes were numbered, and that he’d better step up—fast.
Have you or a friend ever been in a relationship where money issues got in the way of love? How did you handle it? What advice did or would you give to someone going through it?
"Money is a sad reason to be together, or not be together..." Angela Bassett in How Stella Got Her Groove Back