Love & Abuse

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    "I just want someone to like me!" She screamed, tears piling behind her eyes, threatening to pour and break loose in a flurry of salty hell. "I just want someone- anyone- to treat me with the kind of respect and love that I offer to every. Single. Freaking. Person."
       Her voice shook now. She was a force to be reckoned with in the midst of her rage.
     No one had ever seen her like this.
         Never, not once had any of her friends seen the young woman in such a state of anger. Fury boiled from her small and trembling body. She radiated rage, an anger so deep and so subdued for so long that now it tore through her, ripping its way through her very seams.
    "I just want to be treated with the love, affection and care that I am so courteous to show to everyone!" She bellowed.
    The small mob of so called friends that had woven their way around her amid the New York square took a step back as an agitated wave of worry washed over them.
    Strangers passing by on their way home from a busy day of work wondered what had been done to so vehemently anger the fragile woman.
Just like the passing strangers, perplexed friends wondered what had happened to their calm, loving, Little Lee.
    "I am sick of being treated like a second hand person simply because I care!" Lee continued. "I treat all of you with respect, with love and with loyalty.
       I don't sleep because of you. Did you ever noice that I am the only person working triple shifts in our little office? Did you ever wonder why? Well, I'll tell you why, because I have to work triple shifts to cover for your lazy butts. And what thanks do I get for doing not only my work but yours too?" Lee pause then,  a dangerous glint filled her eyes as she raved, "I get reprimanded and told again and again how to be better and how to do more.
     There is never praise for staying later or for working harder the cover for the lot of you, but there is always criticism to be dealt when it comes to "Little Lee." The lot of you make fun of how I "live on caffeine." You tell me I "have awful coffee breath this morning Lee," or that "your shirt is wrinkled, don't you have an iron Lee?"
   Yes! Yes I have an iron! It just so happens to be at my home, which I never seem to be able to rest in. Do you want to know the reason why my shirt is wrinkled? Because I've been wearing it for the last 47 hours! I haven't been home since Wednesday morning at 5am! Do you ever care to ask why I have coffee breath? Oh, it's because Carroll and Steve decided they needed a vacation day on Tuesday from the whopping 2 hours of work they do a week, so I covered for both of them. I didn't have time to brush my teeth and I certainly didn't have time to sleep, so while Steve and Carroll stayed home and watched Netflix I stayed up and worked double shifts.
      I am TIRED of hearing I look tired, people! I know I look tired. I. Am. Tired. I work day and night for you lazy, ungrateful dirtbags. I work constantly, tirelessly, loyally because I love you. Because I thought that maybe if I showed you what love was you would understand that love requires sacrifice! Maybe I was wrong." She paused then, a steely tone seemed to ice over her lips. "Maybe I was wrong, maybe love can't be taught. Maybe you don't deserve loyalty, or sacrifice, or even love." She shrugged then, a heavy shrug, as if she were shaking the weight of a million people from her oppressed shoulders. "Or maybe I'm right, maybe you do deserve love and sacrifice. However, it's too late because I am sick of being used. If you want love then find it elsewhere, but since you deem success so much worthier than love, have fun achieving your own success without my help. I'm sick of working triple shifts for you, for all of you, all in the name of "love." Love might be sacrifice, but it certainly isn't abuse. You have all far surpassed sacrifice. You don't love me, you use me, and I quit."
    And then Lee left. She blew away like a storm, an ocean hurricane, leaving quaking men in her wake.
    For a long time after her words hung in the air:
      "I quit."
     Eventually, her ex-co-workers, ex-friends and used-to-be-loves began to blink again. The gravity of what they had done and whom they had lost finally sank in. For some "Little Lee" had just been an assistant, for some she practically worked job; however, for a few of them, Lee had been a friend, a real friend. Now, they all seemed to realized whom they had let slip away.
    You cannot abuse a friend and yet expect them to stay in the name of love. Love must be treated with love. Sacrifice must be accepted with sacrifice. People are not forever, love is not unbroken and friendship is never unquitable. Lee's friends realized those heavy truths in that moment, but it was too late.
     With heavy hearts, heavier work loads, and Lee's words still hanging in the air, the crowd of nearly 49, shuffled out of the square and into their office once more, but not Lee.
    Lee was already free, skipping down NYC's square, not a dime to her name and not a worry on her mind.
     She was free.

The End

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