Sometimes in life we can help and hinder ourselves at the same time.  And sometimes in life we can hold ourselves back and others at the same time.  Sometimes we can discredit others as well as ourselves at the same time.  And not see the dysfunction in our fucnction of what we do  to ourselves and the ones that are dear and close to us.   Sometimes when we use others we can use and abuse ourselves and others at the same time....

Stop it Jess!  Just stop it!  I am tired of hearing you day in and day out talking about your brother James!  Dammit! James is a grown azz man!  And you and I know it!  Yet you treat him at times as if he is a baby and he can’t find his way! I am sick of it and so are you!  You want him to grow up yet you have him around here doing your bidding.  He cleans up your house watches Jaime while you run the street.  Then you get mad at him when he doesn’t look for a job!  You can’t have it both ways! Hell the man is confused as hell!  And I would be too!”  Jess looked at me like I was crazy.  But that was my girl and I was tired and she needed to hear the truth.

“My mother told me to look out for him Melanie.”  She said bowing her head.

“And your mother has been dead for five years Jess.  How old is James now?”

“He is twenty-six.”

“And how many jobs has James had in his life?”


“And how many of those jobs have you helped him get?”

And how long has he held on to them?”

“Humph…not long at all.  A couple of months at the most.”

“And why is that?”

“Because he was lazy, late, fell asleep on the job, missed too many days or just didn’t show up.”

“Exactly. And what does James say to you when you ask him is he looking for a job?”

“That he is looking.”

“And do you believe him?” She shook her head no.


“Hell every time I come over here James is in the kitchen cooking some big huge fancy meal like he is a damn chef with a culinary degree!  And he stays in the bathroom on the toilet!  I can be over here for an hour and James is in the restroom for at least twenty minutes.  He sleeps like he is a damn newborn.  Always taking a nap!  He stays on his phone and his laptop.  And I know this because you tell me.  He has free rent, free wifi, and free cable, all he can eat.  He can bring women in and out of here and lay up with them in the bed you purchased.  And watch the flat screen you purchased.  He barely does chores you ask him to do.  Has washes dishes, half keeps the house cleans.  He is lazy as hell!  So he uses you and what?  You use him?”

“I mean he should watch Jaime for me and help me when he can!”

“And as long as he feels you need him to help you with Jaime.  And you ask him to help you out a lot with Jaime.  He will never look for a real job.  And he will always be here.  And he will never ever feel he has to go anywhere! Are you afraid of raising Jaime on your own?  Are you afraid of not being able to go anywhere and having to stay home?  That is what it looks like to me! I love you Jess. I really do and I have been wanting to tell you this for a long time.  But Jaime is not James’s responsibility. And James is not your responsibility.  You laid down and had Jaime, and if you can’t actively date, travel and do you then so be it! Grow some balls girl!  Because all that brother of yours does is eat shyt and sleep!  And soon he is going to eat you out of house and home!  And you are not helping him to be a man.  Look at all the weight he has gained, the health issues he has.  He has no self-respect for himself.  And you walk around in a ball of angst.”

“You’re right” I rubbed Jess’s back.  She was looking sad.  I know I hurt her feelings.  But the truth was a hard pill to swallow.  My girl loved to go, she pretty much stayed gone.  And had a child with a man that spent very little time with Jaime.  And picked up Jaime whenever he felt like it.  And Jess loved to go out, she loved to hang out with her girls, date and travel.  And she spent little time with Jaime.  And that constituted her in my opinion as a bad parent.  She needed to slow it down and be a better mom to Jaime and not delegate that responsibility to her brother James. 

“I know I am.  When you kick James out don’t call him over to watch Jaime for you.  Let James be a man and make it on his own.  If something happens to you what will he do?  James is a bum and you know it!  He has failed out of college twice!  You have had his back and paid for school twice Jess.  You bought two cars he wrecked.  Come on now.  He has to stand on his own two feet and you have to stand on your own two feet. Running from being a mom and your responsibility of being Jaime’s mom is going to have him hate you when he grows older.”  Jess had started crying. Her cries had begun to turn into sobs. 


I had left out of town for a week and a half I had to help my sister move.  She was transferring jobs and the move was five hours away from where she presently lived which was actually in another state.  So packing and helping her get situated was no joke.  Since I owned and operated my own business I made sure that my assistant and two employees ran a tight ship while I was gone.  I didn’t check on my girl Jess while I was gone because I was busy with my sister.  And actually we were having way too much fun in the whole moving process.  I really was going to miss her so much! Nothing a drive or a plane ride wouldn’t cure.

Once I got back I had to get my affairs back in order.  I had a lot of running around to do.  And I had to tighten up a few things.  Once I had got on track I had called Jess and invited her out to lunch.  We met up at one of our favorite little eateries on the upper west side.

When Jess walked in she was glowing.  She looked great!  I hadn’t saw her in a month!  We had both been so busy.  We had talked briefly.  But not for too long. 

“Look at you!  You look good lady!”

“Thanks Melanie!  I feel good!”

“You are glowing! Talk to me!”

“Remember Randal?”  I had to think.

“Yeah!  Yeah I recall him you guys have been dating off and on for some time now.

“Well it has gotten serious he has professed his love for me.  We are now a couple! Girl it is really going good.  I was patient, didn’t rush him.  Didn’t run up behind him, I was tired of all that madness.  You know I was dating other guys.  Not sleeping but dating.”

“I know you were.”

“And so now we are here.”

“Good for you! How is Jaime my god-son?”

“Good.” She smiled.

“And what about James what is the deal with him?”

“Well we worked something out.” I wanted to frown but I didn’t.  I remained hopeful.

“Well I told him he could stay and he had to get a job.  He is going to help around the house and help with Jaime.  I gave him six months.”

“Oh, like you have been doing for the past five years.  Ohhh kaaaay I get it!  You are in love now and you need that one on one time with Randal and you wanna be able to get up and get out.  Well I wish you the best.  Good luck with the all you do is sleep shyt and eat at your house.  Now I love you, but you cannot call me and complain, cry, whine over your brother anymore.  Are we clear?”  Jess looked at me like I was crazy.

“No!  We don’t ever have to talk again!”  And she got up and stormed out! I sat there, my feelings were hurt.  And I know her feelings were hurt, I will admit that.  But just as she was tired of James I was tired of James.  And I was tired of Jess complaining of James for the past five years! Enough was enough! So though I would be hurt that our friendship of twenty years would be over it is what it is.



I was at the coffeehouse having a banana nut muffin and caramel latte reading a mag.  And who strolls in?  You guessed it!  Jess!  She walked right over to me.

“Hey Mel.”  I looked up.

“Hi.”  I went back to my magazine.  Why not she kicked me to the curb. I had nothing to really say.  I had said all I had to say.

“I missed you in my life Melanie I really have.  I was just hurt that you told me the truth. My feelings were hurt.  I was hurt that you went into the situation with James and just couldn’t be happy for Randall and me.”

“I understand. I was still looking at my magazine. I hope all is well with you, Randall, Jaime and James.”

“Well as good as to be expected I guess. Randall and I are good.  He asked me to marry him.”  She showed me a huge engagement ring.  I had to admit I was happy for my girl!  I smiled.

“Ohhhh wow!!!! It is so big and beautiful!  Look out now! Congrats Jess!”

“Thanks!  He has made it perfectly clear that James can’t stay with us.”


“I guessed it all worked out in the end huh?”

“I guess so.”

“You were right about me and you were right about James and being honest with me Melanie. I need to be a better parent.  And James was using me and I was using him.  Randall will not allow him to stay with us. He is buying a new house. A grown man who is capable of taking care of himself.  He said the same exact things you said to me.  James is hurt, but he needs to get out and do him and I need to do me. Be a mom to Jaime, a wife and a better friend to you if you will have me?” I smiled.  And I got up from my chair and we hugged tightly for a long time both crying.


I dedicate this short story to those who use others to get what they want and need and don’t realize they cripple each other from moving forward and on with their lives.

“Just Toy”

Written Expressions


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