You Owe Me By Guest Blogger Jennifer Maher

The Second Essential Scary Truth

“You owe me,” is something that is never any fun to hear.  Some of us are a little more allergic to it than others, so we make sure we don’t borrow money and get our bills paid on time to avoid those ugly phone calls.  Some of us can stomach it a little easier and cough up what we have to when called on it.  And there are a few champs out there who will tell you “the check is in the mail,” as if people still believed that we write paper checks or send mail.  But that’s just money.

We’ve all had a moment when we screwed the pooch, really just messed up beyond the boundaries of family and friendship.  And there is someone who either helped you crawl out of the un-godly mess or you really jacked them up with your behavior.  If there is no witness, then it’s just secret shame and we can talk about it another time.  If someone really pulled you out of it, or worse, was the recipient of your shit, you owe them.  If you’re lucky, your friends are equal to you in their lack of wisdom and the score will even out nicely before too long.  If you’re unlucky, the person will be so pissed, they will cut you out of their life ~ but you won’t have to worry about them coming back to collect because they want nothing to do with you ever again.  If you are the favored child of the gods, that person will let it go and pretend it never happened, and you get a pass.

A long time ago, I screwed up.  It was one of those everybody knows but nobody wants to talk about it things.  There was plenty of blame to spread around, it wasn’t just my failure, but my actions affected probably the one person who was truly blameless.  It was all kind of swept under the rug.  I agonized for many years.  The relationship was intact, if strained, but it had never been great.

After more years, I just accepted the status quo.  It was never going to be mentioned, I wouldn’t be called to account for it, but I couldn’t apologize, make it up or redeem myself from it either.  Just a diseased limb on the family tree that we would all pretend was fine.

It’s been more than 20 years now, but these things don’t really have a statute of limitations.  I finally got the phone call last week.  “You owe me.”  I can’t argue that, I do.  So I will do my damnedest to pull the rabbit out of my hat and make this one happen.  On the one hand, it’s kind of a relief to not have it hanging over me, even way in the back of my mind.

“You used to be my hero.  I need you to be that again.  You owe me.”

It’s the compound interest that really kills you.  I wish I could just put a check in the mail.

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