I had never hit someone out of anger in my life; there was a time I thought I never needed to. I had never been someone with rage or outbursts. As a child I was shy and quiet, but as the years passed I began to notice that nothing was ever solved without action.

I couldn’t go on living my quiet life, letting people wash over me, I had to do something before it was too late.

She was never my friend, as much as I gave people the chance to do good, she was always out for blood. I could see it in her piercing green and blue eyes that nothing fazed her anymore. Maybe she used to be quiet too; life tends to have that effect on most people I run into. When you try so hard to do right and it never works out, one day you just give up, and you get this gleam in your eyes. This dead silence like a door you know will never be opened. There was nothing left but her instinct to survive.

We met at a restaurant because it was public. Who knew that with that much rage inside someone, it didn’t matter where you were. Public or private, if a flame is dropped on gasoline, it burns. She teased and pried and I kept calm for a moment. I just needed it all to stop. The calls, the meetings, the useless knowledge, the yelling. None of this changed the circumstances and as far as I was concerned it had gone on far too long.

“Where’s my money?” she hissed through yellow-stained teeth.

“It’s not even yours, I can’t do this anymore,” I pleaded.

“Do what?” In a tone more forceful than necessary.

“Talk to you. It’s too much, and it’s pointless.”

“Fuck you! You’re trash, you’re all trash,” coming from an addict I didn’t take it too personally.

“It’s not even yours to have, so I don’t understand why you think you deserve it.”

Her eyes shifted away from me. She was caught off guard for the first time in the years I had known her. She knew nothing was hers for the taking, but she thought that she had made this work between us. Our “friendship” would surpass what was right and I would support her through her husband’s incarceration. Truth is, when someone goes inside in this business, they might as well be dead. Yes, I owed him a lot of money, yes I was going to pay it back, no I didn’t think this would happen, and yes, I would’ve done the right thing, if only it were that easy.

It wasn’t that easy, there were too many angles to look at. If I gave her the money she would spend it carelessly. She’d buy a new house in a completely different area, change her number, separate herself from everyone, and never be seen again. Then suddenly it is five years later, he is out, and he wants his money; that is what I don’t want to deal with.  I don’t need a convict knocking on my door at my adorable home in the suburbs with my husband and kids out front playing hopscotch.

“I thought we had an agreement–”

Those were the last coherent words I can remember. It all just went fuzzy after that. Sounds were coming from her mouth, but it was words I couldn’t understand, nothing was processing, it was all mumbles and screeches.

I was thinking about my kids, and my life, and everything I was trying to do, and she seemed like a nice person on the outside, but I knew she wasn’t. I had been taken advantage of. She knew I had a heart and she wanted to use it to her advantage. She didn’t care what happened to me, she was looking out for herself, and who could blame her, but I was not the one that would fall deeper into this hole.

I looked down and saw my hands shaking. My entire body was pulsating uncontrollably. I looked back up to her; her lips had stopped moving. I didn’t know what to do, I had nothing to say, I didn’t even know what she had said. Before I knew it my fist contacted her face, and she was thrown off her chair. I looked around the restaurant, nobody had seemed to notice the dispute, so I did the only thing I could. I ran out. My hand was bloody, must have caught it on her earring or something, so I wrapped it in a tissue and drove away.

I was forever changed after that day. I never thought that I could ever harm another human being, but I can’t say I’m not happy about it. There was never another word about any of it. I had handled the situation the only way I could. The next month it was back to kids’ soccer practices, PTA meetings, and house work. That meeting had changed me though. In a way I proved to myself that I could stand my ground and do what needed to be done to protect my family.

If anyone ever tries to take advantage again, they are fucking with the wrong soccer mom.


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