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“Don’t be sad about that. She was holding you back from being the best you can. And we both hated Jason, so is it really that bad that we won’t have to be around him anymore?” I shrug and close my eyes. I can’t argue with that. My second job is almost as bad as the first. But this time I work with snotty kids, and they pull my hair and spill crumbs on the couch. Three beautiful babies, but one is almost ten years old and doesn’t believe in playing the TV at a level lower than fifty. Today Rachel comes over. I invite her because I haven’t seen or spoken to her in over a week. She sits on the couch across from me while the children watch TV, and neither of us say anything. She’s staring at her phone and swiping here and there, but she knows I’m angry. I will her to stare at me, to say something, but she doesn’t care. “So, I have a serious problem with the way your boyfriend treats you.” She looks up. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” “Rachel, come on. You know what I’m talking about. Why are you looking past what an asshole he is?” She keeps typing on her phone. She won’t look at me. “Rachel,” I say again. She doesn’t answer. The kids hear me talking now and the oldest, Annie, turns up the TV. It’s too loud and Rachel is too quiet, and I scream: “RACHEL!” Everyone looks at me. Annie pauses the TV. Rachel looks up from her phone and turns it off. I look at Annie. “If you’re going to watch TV, the volume needs to be lower.” Annie nods and turns the TV back on. After she lowers the volume, I turn back to Rachel. “We both know that Jason hit on me the other day, and it wasn’t the first time. I know you love him, but I can’t be your best friend and know that you’re letting someone who doesn’t respect you lust after me. I’m sorry.” Rachel’s face changes. The shock from my outburst turns to sadness. “Everything will be fine, Kate. It’s really not what you think.” She starts to explain more to me about what kind of man he really is, but I already know. He’s the kind of man that reaches beneath your skirt when you walk past. He’s the type of man to stare at your body as if it isn’t your own. The type of man to tell a woman who loves him more than anything that most of the time she’s ugly. He’s the type of man that made my best friend throw up every day for weeks because she had more body fat than he did. And I couldn’t hear about him anymore. “Okay, Rachel. You’re right.” Rachel leaves before my boss gets home. I watch her walk to the car. I hear her tell me goodbye, but she doesn’t hear me let her go. Lane walks me to my car in no particular rush. Our hands are linked loosely be-




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Oakland Arts Review Volume 4  

Oakland Arts Review Volume 4