Not Everyone Likes a Resurrected Friend
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree Ebb and Flow.
â€œBitch!â€ Â the Â man Â screams Â at Â me Â over Â the Â phone. â€œHow could you do this to me?â€
Sometimes I wonder if Iâ€™m a walk-in. You know, one of those Â souls who comes Â in and takes over the body when the Â previous soul is just too tired to go on? Not that I think that I am, but I do wonder at times. Like today.
The sad and troublesome thing about starting your life overâ€”a Â resurrection Â or Â a Â rebirthâ€”is Â that Â people Â who were happy with your life when things werenâ€™t so happy for you, well, they want things to be like they always were, and theyâ€™re not. Itâ€™s like that kid you knew in the third grade, the one who moved away and you never saw her again. To Â you, Â sheâ€™ll Â always Â be Â that Â shy Â little Â kid Â with freckles and pigtails. Never mind that sheâ€™s now a black- vinyl-wearing domme fatale who can flick a gnat off the wall with her whip. People you knew long ago and knew in a certain way will always be regarded in that way unless you allow them to change.
People in my past donâ€™t want me to change. And for good reason. Â I was very compliant, Â and I gave my fire away much too often.
The man on the phone shows up in my life every now and thenâ€¦when he wants something. This time, he doesnâ€™t even bother to ask how are you doing, howâ€™s the family, are your parents still living, did Â I ever pay you back the money I borrowed for lunch that time? Last time we talked, I was in the middle of a divorce. He doesnâ€™t ask if itâ€™s over or how Iâ€™m faring. He doesnâ€™t have to, but who knows? Â I might Â have Â appreciated Â the Â pleasantries Â of Â a false concern before he launched into, â€œDo you have any idea how hard it was to track you to your current office?â€ in an angry voice.
He doesnâ€™t realize that Iâ€™ve changed phone numbers 3 times since our last conversation.
He has an idea he needs help with. Now the proud owner of a fledgling company, he wants me to introduce him to some important people and recommend him for some Government Â contracts. Â Heâ€™d also Â like me to help him write up some proposals in my spare time. He canâ€™t pay me, but if he wins a couple of contracts, he could give me some Â stock Â in his company Â or something. Â Or maybe sell copies of my novels in the lobby of his office.
First off, heâ€™s asking me to cross the line into something illegal, Â which it would be if I were in the job he thinks Iâ€™m still in. At best, what he wants from me is un- ethical, but heâ€™s willing for me to do it. I wonâ€™t. I wouldnâ€™t at any previous point in my life either. But heâ€™s not really concerned with the consequences to me.
Second, my spare time is hard to come by. He wants me to do this for free or for some worthless stock or for a promise to support my writing career when I know for a fact that heâ€™s never bought a single one Â of my books. He wants me to do this because itâ€™s him and heâ€™s a friend. Or was, once.
Third, what he wants from me isnâ€™t in my job description and itâ€™s not in my life purpose.
â€œCome on!â€ His voice gets louder, gruffer, angrier as I explain the ethics of the situation. â€œCanâ€™t you do it for an old friend?â€
â€œNo. Not for you, not for anyone.â€
He launches Â into Â Plan Â B, Â which Â isnâ€™t Â unethical Â but would Â requireÂ aÂ significant Â investment Â of Â my Â personal time, with little or no return. (Itâ€™s still outside my life purpose, too.) I tell him no, Iâ€™ll pass. Iâ€™m not interested.
â€œHow could you not be interested? I was your friend! You used to help me whenever I asked. Whatâ€™s happened to you?â€
Whatâ€™s happened? Lots. But thatâ€™s not really his question.
â€œYou,â€ he snarls, â€œwere always the one person I could count on to be there when I needed help. I donâ€™t under- stand what happened to you.â€
â€œI woke up,â€ I answer.
He Â cursesÂ Â me, Â onceâ€¦twiceâ€¦aÂ Â third Â time. Â â€œThe Lorna I knew Â would never have told me no. You were the most selfless person I knew.â€
Self. Less. Without Self. Yes, heâ€™s right. I gave away my Self and Â had nothing left. But the way he says it is meant to incite me to defend myself by doing something that would be great for him but terrible for Â me Â and for my goals in life.
â€œIâ€™m not the doormat you remember.â€
â€œYes, you are. You are!â€ He didnâ€™t even hear me correctly. He thinks I said I wasnâ€™t the person he remembers. Heâ€™s scared. He realizes Iâ€™m about to hang up. Or more importantly, that Iâ€™m not going to be a free resource for his struggling little company. â€œThe Lorna I knew was so kind. She would have done anything to help me out.â€
â€œThen perhaps,â€ I tell him, â€œit would be best if you thought of that person as dead.â€
I hear him cursing me again as I hang up. Itâ€™s times like these that I realize how much Iâ€™ve changed over the past few years, almost as much as if Iâ€™d been reborn with a new soul.