Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Guest Fiction Series: Pretty Ugly, Part 1

For a few months, will be taking four guest authors #fromblogtobook. Each week you'll be able to read a new installment from unique aspiring authors. This tale is from Je Tuan Jones. Enjoy!

My heart dropped every time I got that notification on my phone. A little piece of me died on the inside. It was a supposedly soothing and melodic alert, that I specifically chose for this app. It’s my Chase banking application. That beautifully terrifying alert meant that yet another charge hit my account.
What was it this time? Netflix? ShoeFab? Scentbird? Julep? Spotify?
Hell, I couldn’t keep up anymore. All of those subscriptions feel like such small things until you realize how much you’re spending monthly. The month before I tallied that I spent over $300 in monthly subscription crap. These things are like mini leeches all trying to get their portion of blood.
I looked at the date on my phone. November 16th. It was the worst subscription of them all.
It was then that I asked myself the dreaded question.
What’s my purpose?
That seems like such an asinine question. The world is littered with that question. People have made fortunes scheming my generation out of their money in order to find the answer to that question.
Have you fallen victim to this foolishness?
Pursue your purpose.
Change your mindset.
For only  $350 a session, I will help you leave your 9-5 and create the freedom lifestyle.
Who cares about the fact that you have rent due and an iPhone to finish paying for. You should totally buy into my program that is a knock off of The Secret and Think and Grow Rich.
Do I sound bitter? That’s because I am. My bank account had just been hit for a monthly fee of $397. Every month for the last 4 months I paid that amount. The online class ended two months before that, but I still had one more payment left.
I was so sure that I was prepared to leave my job as social media manager at a startup company. Don’t get me wrong, the perks are great. That’s how they got me in the door. They provide basic lunch, I get to nap, and even play video games. Seems pretty exciting until you realize that in exchange you’re stuck in a $35,000 job at the age of 29. I’d been at this company for 3 years with no raise. When I take naps there, it’s out of depression. If I play video games, it was because I need to escape the reality of my crap pay.
So, I bought into an online program that supposedly was going to teach me all about my purpose. I guess my purpose was to be a sucker and pay someone else’s bills. That was the only thing that I discovered.
I could have taken the “coach” model and scheme someone else out of their money with some new age psychobabble, but instead I chose to suffer like the rest of my fellow Americans.
I curled up on my comfortable orange couch and failed at my attempts of not moping. Not even one of my favorite shows "Sleepy Hollow" could keep my attention. Maybe I could cancel my card to stop the last payment and have them send me another one. I didn’t want to pay the last $400 into that program. That woman received enough of my money. I was still working my 9-5 and I didn’t see a way out, even with the stupid meditations that she insisted we do daily.
My phone buzzed on the coffee table, no ringer, which told me that it was a text message. I leaned over to see who was bothering me and smiled when I saw Shawn’s message on my phone.
What are you doing bighead?
I snatched the phone off of my coffee table and ignored Abbey Mills on my screen. It was texting time. I had some of the best conversations with Shawn at night.
I’d met him a year before on Plenty of Fish, a dating app. On my profile, I said that I was only looking for friendship. In reality, I was open to more but having high expectations on POF was just foolish. I’d been lucky enough to encounter Shawn. Now we were text buddies that occasionally met up for drinks and sometimes more.
My fingers flew over my digital keyboard.
Just watching TV. Hopefully, sleep will catch up with me soon. I’m supposed to do some market research for work, but they don’t pay overtime. What are you up to?
I waited for him to respond, it never took him long. Soon my phone buzzed again.
The same thing. Watching TV. But I’m thinking about you too, you should come over.
I laughed. Shawn never beat around the bush. I looked at the time. 8:47 p.m. and shook my head. Sleep was already at my doorstep and I didn’t feel like driving across Chicago just to get to him. I lived on the outskirts of the South Loop and he lived in Oak Park, a western suburb. I wasn’t going to be able to do it.
I would love to come over, but it’s late. Maybe if you would contact me earlier, we wouldn’t have these problems.
It was the truth. I did want to go over there and crawl into his bed. Shawn always knew how to make me feel better. His 6’2 body, covered with dark chocolate skin was enough to make any woman melt. His skin pressed against my butter pecan skin was a sight to see. Yes, I’m a little shallow, don’t judge me. Shawn was mellow and he soothed me. We hardly ever argued and he allowed me to be a free spirit. I could always appreciate that.
Most importantly, he made me feel beautiful. The hunger in his eyes was forever present when we were around one another.
Yasmine, you suck. I was hoping that I could see you. I guess I’ll just have to be lonely tonight.
Shawn was lying. He wasn’t the kind of guy that ever had to be lonely. Either I was his first choice and he was disappointed that he wouldn’t get access to me or I was near the end of his list and he was frustrated. I knew this because he hardly ever called me by my first name.
Well, I’m sorry to disappoint you “Shawn." I’m not leaving my apartment tonight.
Clapping back at him in that way usually wasn’t my style, but I didn’t want to go back and forth with him all night. The sooner he realized I wasn’t coming over, the sooner he could make other arrangements. I was okay with him doing so, as long as he was there when I personally needed him.
I waited on him to reply, but there wasn’t one. Maybe he took my advice. Now I was left feeling emptier than I had when he first contacted me. A flirty conversation would have been great, but Shawn wanted more. I knew from experience that trying to have a conversation with him when he was in that mood was pointless.
Instead of returning my attention to the television, I scrolled through Facebook. It was the usual carnival.
Pictures of struggle plates.
Pictures of food from two-star restaurants.
Memes about Rhonda Rousey.
The sound of my front door opening startled me. I quickly sat up and mindlessly smoothed down my clothes.
“Yasmine?,” a deep voice reverberated through my apartment.
“Hey, I’m in the front room,” I called out.
It was Cameron, he had the pesky habit of not calling before he showed up. However, he was my boyfriend of 5 years, so he technically didn’t have to.


Je Tuan Jones is a writer that assists women in birthing their NO B.S. written messages, that's why they call her the Message Midwife.

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