African American Contemporary American

“You have got to be kidding me,” Tonya said with her arm out the driver's side window as she looked at her bank account. 

She blinked her eyes and prayed when she looked at her balance it was wrong. She opened her eyes again and sadly- the negative balance was there. 

“Negative $77,” she mumbled to herself. “What the hell did I spend it on?”

She moved her arm back into the car and started thinking to herself about her transactions while at the ATM. 

“All right. Friday I had $1,800 in the account. I know $1,500 came out for rent, $115 for car payment, $250 for groceries and gas, and –.” 

Honk! Honk!

She looked in her rearview mirror and realized there was a line of cars behind her. The driver behind her looked irritated. 

She reached back out the window to grab her card, put it in her passenger seat, and while rolling her window up and pulling off she heard the driver behind her say, “Thank God.” 

She rolled her eyes and found a parking spot in the bank’s parking lot. 

Tonya knew she had to investigate her account, but she think she knew what happened. It was only Tuesday and she got paid on Friday. 

Life happened. 

She opened her banking app, found a napkin and pen in her car, and did the math again. 

“All of that left me with negative $65. I spent $7 on Chic-fil-A yesterday and they took out a $5 overdraft fee.” 

Tonya wanted to cry. She was at half a tank of gas. She thanked God her job was closer to her, but she would still need to gas up on Friday. And she didn’t get paid until the following Friday.

She felt irresponsible, but all her bills were paid. 

The A/C was blowing cool in the car, but she still felt the pressure. 

She needed $100 to hold her until next week. It would clear the negative balance and still give her about $25 to have for gas until next week. She instantly went into how to plan her week. She was already planning to stay in for the weekend, but she really had to stay in now. 

She carefully pulled out of the parking lot and headed in the direction of her two-bedroom apartment. She missed her roommate. However, the roommate only helped her financially. The girl was disgusting and rude and Tonya had to kick her out two months ago. She’s been stumbling financially ever since. 

How was she going to get $100 between now and then? Her mama had a situation going on and couldn’t help her financially. 

She couldn’t ask her aunts and uncles because they would throw it back in her face. Even though she did nothing wrong, they would really make her feel irresponsible. 

She had three best friends – two of them not financially stable either. The third best friend could probably help, but probably couldn’t give her $100. 

As she drove home she thought about how to come up with the funds. 

Tonya could ask her friend for $30. She could hit up the people she babysat for. Hopefully, she could get two babysitting gigs this week. 

She pulled into the parking lot of her apartment, grabbed her things, and went inside. 

She went into her room, crawled on the bed, and screamed into her pillow. She started punching her pillow the way life was punching her. She had to let her emotions out fast. 

She couldn’t cry over spilled milk all day. 

After two minutes of fighting her pillow, she got off the bed, grabbed her laptop, and powered it on. 

It was moments like this she wished she could sell feet pics and make quick cash. But she knew she should be realistic. 

Tonya knew realistically she had to give up her weekends and get a part-time job or find a job to do after work. She opened five tabs on her browser and searched for part-time jobs that could give her an additional $350 a month. 

While job hunting, her phone rung and she answered it. 

“Hello?” Tonya said into the phone. 

“How are you doing today cousin?” The voice inquired. 

Tonya paused for a moment to recognize the voice.

“Kiana?” Tonya asked. 

“Yes. It’s me,” her cousin answered back. 

“Hey girl!” Tonya explained. “I have had better days,” she said while opening another tab on her browser. 

“I’m sorry to hear that. Now I feel bad for what I’m about to ask. I know this is last minute, but can you work as my receptionist at the floral shop tomorrow and the day after? I will pay you.” 

“Well look at God!” She exclaimed when it registered what her cousin  was asking for. 

“Are you okay sweetheart?” Kiana asked. 

“I’m great! Give me details. I’m interested.” 

“All right. You know how I have the after hours at the shop on Fridays and Saturdays?” 

“Yeah,” Tonya said giving her cousin her undivided attention. 

“Well, this week is the third anniversary of my business opening and all week we’re having after hours. Yes, while the shop opens from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily; after hours we’re open from 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. We noticed that men are purchasing flowers at night and the phone lines and our website have been bumping with late night orders for the last few months and we extended our hours.” 

“Oh. I get it,” Tonya said. “You need me to answer the phone lines and check the online orders from 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.” 

“Yes!” The cousin exclaimed. She was glad Tonya understood the assignment. “I need you to fill in tomorrow night and Thursday. I’ll be there with you. I need you to take photos and videos for marketing while you’re there too. But I’ll pay you $75 for both nights at the end of each night.” 

If only Kiana could see the cheerleader cheer Tonya was doing on her bed, she’d think her cousin was crazy. This is what she needed to clear the negative amount in her account. 

“Well, cuzzo. You have yourself a receptionist for the next two nights.” 

“Thank you so much, sweetheart. I’ll see you tomorrow,”Kiana said. 

“I’ll see you then.” 

Tonya was thankful that blessing came through. And she didn’t even have to beg. 

She was glad everything was working out with Kiana. She volunteered at Kiana’s floral shop for three months when it first opened a few years ago. 

She used the next 15 minutes to send out applications and was just thankful for her cousin.

Thanks to Kiana, the math could finally math.

August 19, 2022 19:12

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


Kendall Defoe
04:34 Aug 25, 2022

This is hitting home with me. A very honest look at what money really is and where it can end up...


Katrina Wilson
18:02 Aug 25, 2022

Thank you so much. I hope others notice this.


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply