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“We’re still $450 short on this month’s rent.”
“What the hell do you want me to do about it?” I said. “I’ve saved as much as I possibly can while you blow every dime you get on your bad habits.”
“Well you better figure something out real soon, because the contract is under your name and we only have three days left until the rent is due.”
I sighed. I looked into her hazel eyes for the first time in what seemed like years. Until now, I failed to notice how much the stress had aged them. She was only twenty-four, but she had the eyes of a fifty-year-old woman. “Alright, I’ll figure it out. I’ll think of something.”
“Oh, really?” she said. “Because that’s what you said last month, and the month before that, and we just barely made it through. I can’t keep going through this with you. If you don’t find some financial security soon, then I’m leaving.”
“Yeah? That’s also what you said last month and you still haven’t lived up to it,” I said. “And yeah, I’ll just “find some financial security”? Like it’s that easy? If you need it so bad, why haven’t you left and found it yet? Believe me; I could be so much happier without you.
“Why don’t you grow up and get a real job?” she said.
“I’m a shift supervisor at a warehouse. What part of that isn’t real?” I said sarcastically. If anything it only angered her more.
“I mean something where you can earn enough for us to have a decent life,” she said. I used to bartend on the weekends to bring in some extra cash in addition to the check I got from the warehouse. It certainly did help; we never got into arguments over our financial issues. That was until the bar closed down.
I hated when we fought like this. Lately it’s been spiraling out of control. We used to get along so well until I lost the job at the bar. My parents always told me that I shouldn’t do something for the money, but I should do it to be happy. They said that money can’t buy happiness. That may or may not be true, but what I do know for sure is that when you lose your money, your happiness certainly does go with it.
“You don’t even have a job, so quit complaining. You have no right to say anything until you even attempt to get out there and find one,” I argued.
“Shut the f-”
I cut her off, “Enough! I’ve had enough of you for today. I’m going to work.” I didn’t even have to work for another hour, but I needed any excuse to get away from her. I got my work supplies, which consisted of my iPod and box cutter, and threw them in my pockets. I took off out the door and into the blazing summer heat. The sun shined down through the clear sky, beating on the top of my head like a drum. I started walking towards the center of town.
I made my way into Joe’s Coffee Shop, ordered a hot chocolate, and sat down at a table. I tried to relax, but I couldn’t get her off my mind. I worked six days a week while she unproductively sat around and did nothing. The small amount of money she received every week was from her parents, and it went straight to the support of her bad habits. I don’t think she’s had a job since she was in high school. She quit that job when she left for college. After her second semester, her parents stopped paying for it as a way to thrust some responsibility on her. So instead of getting a job and working her way through it like a normal person, she dropped out. That’s when we met. She started coming to the bar where I worked and spent most nights there wasting away. We started dating and eventually moved in together. A year later, and she is still dependent on her parents and me. She still hasn’t tried to get a job, and she still hasn’t tried to go back to school. I don’t know what she plans on doing with her life.
As I sat at my table thinking through all of this, I realized I had become hypnotized by the glass revolving door across the street. Lost in my thoughts, I strolled over to check it out. I always loved revolving doors. I subconsciously pushed my way through to the inside of the building. A sign on the inside said County Savings Bank. As soon as I read the work “bank”, our argument from earlier came back to my mind, along with many sick thoughts. How ironic is it that we are in desperate need of cash, and I find myself walking into a bank? My left hand suddenly found itself on my back pocket, outlining the frame of the box cutter that hid inside. I’ve never thought about robbing a bank, but then it has never seemed so easy. I took a few more steps into the atrium.
The stone floors and walls and cathedral ceiling architecture dated back to the nineteenth century. So did the stale smell of old books and the light haze in the air. The faint lighting was difficult to adjust to after walking in from the bright sun outside. It wasn’t very busy inside, but there was just that amount of customers that made it a lot easier for me to go unnoticed. I heard my mind asking itself “Should I really go through with this? What’s my plan? I need to figure out how it is going to go down, how I plan to escape, and what I plan to tell her.” I could just do it the classic way, like the way they do it in movies and on television. I’ll write a note and hand it to the teller, and then run like hell. “But what about the cameras? They already see you…” I didn’t know what to do about them seeing me. They would have my image on the front page of the newspaper tomorrow morning. I believed that if I just kept my head down and low, they wouldn’t be able to get as good an image of my face then if I looked up.
I watched my feet as I walked over to the counter with the deposit and withdrawal slips. I heard a soft conversation between two folks at a desk far over in a corner. They were probably opening a new account or discussing a loan or something. A man approached me from my right and held out his right hand. He was dressed in an expensive suit with a nametag that said “Jeff Howard, Branch Manager.” He spoke first. “Hi, how are you?”
“Hi,” I said with a nod. I took his hand and gave it a quick, strong thrust.
“I don’t think I’ve seen you before…are you new here?”
“Okay…well if you ever have a question or need anything, I’m Jeff. My desk is right over there. I’m usually here every day,” he said.
“Yeah, thanks,” I said. I tried to make it seem like I didn’t want to talk or even be around him because, in reality, I didn’t. I was about to rob his bank; I didn’t want him to know me too well. He shuffled back over to his desk and I continued with my mission. I picked out one of the pink withdrawal slips. I flipped it over to the blank side on the back and wrote “Stay calm and give me all of the money. I have a weapon. If you tell anyone I will kill you.” Of course I wasn’t really going to kill the teller, but I had to make myself seem dangerous so they would comply.
I made my way over to the end of the line watching the floor move below me the whole way there. I could feel my heart rate steadily rising. Sweat started running out of every pore in my body. I could practically hear my pulse as it rhythmically pounded through my neck. I started having second thoughts about this. I didn’t even know what the penalty was for robbing a bank if I got. It wasn’t the right thing to be thinking about at the moment, but my mind was spinning.
“Next!” said the teller.
“I’m one person closer to robbing a bank,” was all I could think. There were still three people in line in front of me. The man who was now at the counter was wearing jeans, a tank top, and a baseball hat. He should know better than to wear a hat in a bank. He was telling the teller how he wanted his $100 given back to him. She gave him three $20’s, three $10’s, and ten $1’s. I hate difficult people like him. Why couldn’t he just accept a $100 bill or two $50’s?
Now there was a woman with her paycheck. I watched as she took her time carefully signing it. I had two main criticisms. First, why couldn’t she prepare her check and sign it before she got in line, so to speed up the line. Second, who cares how neat your signature is? It’s just a check, not a letter or a card. Just scratch it on and get it done with. I hate ignorant people like her. The teller deposited her check and gave her $40 back. Two people had shuffled in line behind me during this transaction.
A very short and fragile old lady slowly made her way up to the counter. I wasn’t annoyed with her sluggish walking because at least she had an excuse. She kind of resembled a duck. Her trembling hands held up an undetermined amount of cash and change. She laid the cash out on the counter and tipped her hand over, dropping her change into the teller’s young hands. The old lady handed the teller a deposit ticket, and after typing it into the computer, the teller handed her back a receipt with a smile.
The last person who was in front of me now made his way to the counter. That was it. I was the next one after him. I was surprised people hadn’t turned at me in wonder of my heavy breathing sweating. The man standing in front of the teller handed her $200 and his savings account passbook. She deposited in his account and gave him his receipt. I was up.
I hesitated. This was the point of no return. No going back. This was the last chance for any second thoughts. I stepped forward.
“Hi, how are you?” she said.
Trying not to make eye contact, I mumbled, “Hey.”
“Can I help you?” she said.
“Yeah,” I said. I paused. “What next?” I thought. I said, “I…um…” I folded the note around in my hand while I slowly raised my eyes. I saw her nametag, “Amanda”. I looked up and made direct eye contact with her. She had long, straight blonde hair that slightly touched her shoulders, blue eyes, and perfect skin tone. She was wearing a white blouse and a black headband. She looked stunningly beautiful. I looked back down at my note. Keeping the note in my right hand, my left hand moved around to my back pocket. It was time to get it done. I paused again for a moment. I looked behind me to the line and saw four very impatient people intently watching me. I pulled my hand back out of my pocket with my wallet and said, “Yeah, can I just get change from a $20?” I handed her a crisp $20 bill.
“Of course,” she smiled. “How would you like it?”
“Two $10’s will be fine, thank you.”
She handed over the cash and looked at the paper in my hand. “You’re welcome. Is there anything else?” she asked.
I glanced down at the note and quickly looked back up at her. “No, I’m all set, thanks.”
“Have a nice day.”
On my way out, I checked the clock. I still had half an hour before I had to be at work. It was only five minutes up the road, so I was fine. I decided that I should go back home and settle things with her. She at least deserves an apology, so I walked back to our apartment. When I got there, I walked upstairs and opened the door. Something seemed off. “Hello?” I yelled. No answer. I walked over to the bedroom to find it looking like we just got robbed. “What the…” I said. The closet was ravaged. Clothes were sprawled out on the bed. All mine. There was nothing that belonged to her in the room. There was nothing that belonged to her in the entire apartment. She and everything that was hers was gone. I found a note scratched onto a receipt. It said, “I’m sorry, I just can’t take it anymore. I took all of my things. Don’t call me or anything, not like I expect you to. It’s like you said, you’ll just be happier without me.”