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Fiction

CHECKING ACCOUNT BALANCE: $2.78

“Seriously?” I ask the ATM. “How can I only have two dollars and seventy eight cents?” 

I go over the last week in my head starting on Friday.

Cameron threw a massive party that night. It was BYOB, so I did. I may have spent $50 on alcohol alone. It was gone in twenty minutes flat. It was a great party though.

“Yo, Asher! Thanks for bringing beer buddy. Come give me a hug.” Cameron was already drunk and pulling me in for a tight squeeze.

“No problem, Cam. I figured today is payday, so I was able to splurge.” I attempted to wriggle out of his arms, but he only held tighter. He was somehow always stronger when he drank than when he was sober.

“Asher.” He slurred a bit. “You’re a cool girl. And you have such a cool name… Asher.”

“Thanks. Could you let me go please?”

“Oh yeah. Sorry.” He said, releasing his grip. “Where’s Thomas tonight?”

“Thomas and I broke up.” I told him simply. We were only together for a short time. The spark between us burned out as quickly as it was lit. 

“You don’t sound sad. You should be sad.” He gave me a quizzical look.

“Why should I be sad?” I asked.

“You’re a girl going through a break up. Let me get you some ice cream. That’s what they do in the movies, right?” He walked to his freezer and grabbed a carton of chocolate peanut butter swirl, struggling to find a spoon to go with it.

“I don’t need the ice cream. It’s okay, really. I appreciate the thought.” I told him, knowing he would miss it tomorrow.

“Sorry.” He put the ice cream back, seeming upset. 

“What’s on your mind?” I questioned, pulling out a seat at the kitchen counter. There were people all over his house, but the kitchen was off limits to the guests. This rule didn’t apply to me though seeing as I’ve been Cameron’s best friend since kindergarten. 

“I hate seeing you sad, Asher.” He began.

“But I’m not sad.” I explained again.

“A girl like you needs a guy that will treat her right, give her ice cream when she is going through a hard time and stick by her until she gets through it.”

“What are you saying?” I asked, trying my best to fight off the huge grin forming on my face.

I had been in love with Cameron since around fourth grade when the earliest stages of puberty began and I started to understand what having feelings for someone was. I always believed these feelings were unrequited until around seventh grade when I had my first boyfriend. That’s when Cameron finally decided to ask me out, but since I was with Donnie, I declined. Soon after, Cameron started going out with Holly. Donnie saw that I was jealous and broke up with me. The point is, Cameron and I were never single at the same time… until now.

“Asher, Asher, Asher. I want to give you the world. You know that. Let’s go out. Let’s get married, have ten kids, and teach them how to dream.” He declared, drunkenly.

“Are you quoting Taylor Swift?” I was impressed. “Starlight” was not one of her better known songs.

“Oh yeah. I’m a Swiftie now. So, what do you say?”

“Yes, I will go out with you.” He stepped up close to me. “I will not let our first kiss be while you’re drunk.”

Saturday, I had to go to work. Being the assistant manager of a sandwich shop wasn’t great, but it’s where I’ve been working since I graduated college with a creative writing degree. That was three years ago.

“Who wants ice cream? I’m buying.” I asked my crew, Tony and Heather. I was in a great mood since the night before and I wanted to spread that joy.

“Who says no to free ice cream?” Tony asked. “Mint chocolate chip please.”

“Strawberry for me.” Heather added shyly. She was still new and not accustomed to the boisterous environment yet. 

“Great, and hot fudge chocolate sundae for myself.” I said, writing down the orders. I grabbed $30 out of my pocket and handed it to Tony, sending him out to get it. 

I expected change, but when he came back, there was nothing.

“What happened to the rest of the money?” I inquired.

“The girl was cute, so I gave her a nice tip.” He replied nonchalantly.

This was typical for him. I probably should have sent Heather instead.

Sunday, I ordered Chinese food for myself from Grubhub. With all of the extra fees, it came out to $31.50.

Monday, I got a parking ticket and had to pay $45. 

Tuesday, Cameron and I grabbed lunch at the new Italian restaurant down the street from his job but he forgot his wallet, so I had to pay for both of us. The bill came to $42.70 plus I had to leave a tip for our server. All in all, I paid $49.00 for that excursion. 

Wednesday, I managed to only pay $3.00 for parking and not spend anything else for the remainder of the day. Cameron and I had our first official date that night and he remembered his wallet this time. We went to this cool bar downtown then headed to the bowling alley where I managed to beat his ass three games in a row. After the third game, he decided he had endured enough humiliation and we went back to his place. There we ended the night by watching Miss Americana, a documentary about Taylor Swift and then finally sharing our first kiss as I was getting ready to leave. 

Thursday, I had to pay my electricity bill which was $60. It was the middle of summer and my air conditioner had been on full blast because of this. I also had a million things plugged in on top of that. I decided I better start unplugging things and turning off lights every time I leave the room from now on.

Finally, we reach today, Friday. My car needed an oil change and it had a flat tire, costing me another $80. It still didn’t make sense though. How could I possibly only have $2.78 in my account? My paycheck was like $600, give or take a few. I look at the screen again.

CHECKING ACCOUNT BALANCE: $278.00

August 19, 2022 20:41

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