I sit at my laptop, grimacing as I hear the fridge open, as I hear juice being poured, as I hear the fridge being shut. Anna’s in the shower, so I know it is Cliff, the boyfriend, the ‘hubby’ who has his freeloading hands in my fridge. I bite the inside of my cheek as my fingers tapd harder on the keys.

I can feel him staring at me. I can hear his slurps of my juice. My bedroom door leads out into the living room and I keep the door open to circulate air.

“So,” he says, “whatcha doing?”

I don’t turn to face him. “Nothing,” I answer.

“Working on a story?”

“Nope. Checking e-mail.”

“Cool. Cool.”

The bathroom door opens and Anna burst into my room, towel wrapped around her, her hair dripping onto her shoulders.

“Can I use your baby oil?” she asks.

“Didn’t I just buy you baby oil a week ago?”

“Yeah, but I use up a lot when I shower, and…”

“It’s in the drawer over there.”

I keep typing, slowly, listening to her open my drawer.

“Hey, you have an extra perfume bottle here.”

Yeah, because if I put it on my dresser, you will take it, I think but don’t say.

In a flash, she and Hubby are gone, in her room, and I shut my bedroom door, fall onto the bed, and scream.

I shouldn’t be pissed. It’s my fault. I mean I offered to let Anna come down for a while before going to collegel. That was over two years ago. One semester of school and two weeks of work ago. Since, I’ve been…well, for the lack of a better term: her BITCH. I pay rent, the utilities, give her money when I can, and now, it seems, I’m running a B&B for wayward hubbies and their visiting little kids.

I groan.

And it doesn’t seem to matter what I say to her…I don’t think she gets how “there” I am with her and this situation. After yesterday, I thought she had it, but the way she bounced out my room with my oil, I’m taking it that our argument was truly yesterday’s news.

I was sitting in the living room, reading the Classifieds, when I blurted out, “So, when you getting a job?”

“Are you going to ask me that every day?” she responded. She threw her hands up on her hips and cranked her neck.

“Not every day. Just wondering. I might not be here forever.”

She laughed. “Divanna, you are 30. Surely you ain’t going to die no time soon.”

“Dummy, not talking about dying. Talking about moving.”

She leaned against the doorjamb of my bedroom. “Moving where?”

“Somewhere. I don’t plan to be here forever. I told you I wanted to move to Maine. I may do a Ph.D. there. I may go away where I can fend for noone but myself.”

“Then what’s going to happen to me?”

“Yeah, that’s why I asked about the j-o-b, sis. You get a job, you could swing this place. Hell, your hubby lives here enough; he could come over, too, and help.”

“Is that what this is about?”

I drop the Classifieds and stare at her. “That, what?”

“Cliff. What, now I can’t have a boyfriend?”

“Hey, you can have a boyfriend. Please do. I heard boyfriends are fun.”

“You need to try it sometime. Might not be so uptight.”

I was offended. Still am. I hate when any of my friends equal getting some with not being so uptight. I’m doubly offended that Anna, who is dating someone who though he does seem nice is a bit questionable, would tell ME about men.

“Well you know,” I replied, “Would be tight with someone else here when I’m already living with Jack and Chrissy.”

Neck cranked again; head tilted to the side. “Oh, now you trying to be funny.”

“Nope. Dead serious. If I HAD a man, I would want to live in my own space with just him and me…not my sister and her man, too. Then my man and I would be taken care of all of us, like you and Cliff our kids.” I shook my head. “There’s a reason I don’t have children.”

“Because you ain’t getting any.”

“No, smart ass, because I don’t want the responsibility of taking care of someone other than myself.”

“So now I’m like your child.”

“Or I’m your bitch.”

She just stared at me, not saying anything. She turned and left the room, and for the rest of the day, I got either the silent treatment or the evil eye.

I thought, She might’ve heard me this time. She was angry. She heard me. It sank in, and she would react to it.

At 4 this morning, when I woke to have a pee moment, I heard Cliff in her bedroom talking about something on TV, and I knew she would be chipper today. And she was, as if she had forgotten about our Get a Job/Life talk.

But I hadn’t. It burned in my gut, mixing with my ulcer. Between looking for a second job and popping antacids, it was a wonder I got anything else done.


1 Comment

  1. Wow! At first I thought you were talking about your kid…but it’s your SISTER! I don’t have any advice for you. I have two adult kids who are just like her…they “borrow” my stuff and treat my checking account and refrigerator like we’re one big happy commune…only they don’t contribute anything. And they give me attitude if I suggest they might clean a bathroom or mow a lawn. My daughter even had the nerve the other day to want to charge me to do the dishes!

    We both need to quit being doormats. I believe the psych term is “enabler” which will only hurt them in the long run.

    If you figure out what to do let me know. But I think you may be on to something. Move and leave no forwarding address.

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