A Friend In Need (by Cortney Joseph)

Cyn walked into her best friend’s home with caution. At his worst, emotionally, he and his actions were unpredictable. As she knew she’d find, his place was a complete wreck.
Cyn walked through each room, praying this wouldn’t be the day her own heart would break. From the foyer to the kitchen, the living room and both of the bedrooms; Michael was nowhere to be found. Only a complete mess of clothing and random objects tossed about without a care. Destroyed, torn, some things even burned from a half-assed attempt at, she was certain, setting the place on fire. Both bathrooms, cleared.
Cyn’s last hope, the backyard. And when she stepped over piles of mess, there she found Michael, sitting in a lawn chair with his head down on the table.
“Mikey…”
He said nothing, and for a moment she feared she’d found him unconscious, or deceased. Michael exhaled sharply, only looking up to see if his ears had decived him. They had, it was only Cyn and immediately he dropped the harsh tone and angry words that threatened to slip past his lips.

“Who called you? My nosy ass mother? Her husband and his fake concern?” Michael forced a laugh. It was as dry as his tone. “Boy, I bet he can’t wait to see me and say ‘I told ya young and dumb ass this would happen. Now look at ya. Ya look like a really dummy.’ A fucking dummy.”
Cyn sighed, choosing to tell a bit of a lie. She knew his parents well, and he was right. They had called. And like her they were concerned, but they’d made their assumptions and they couldn’t wait to hop on Michael’s case with the I told you so attitudes and judgment.

“I hadn’t heard from you in a while, Mikey. It’s been two weeks and I was worried. I missed your ugly face.” She chuckled lightly, but Michael’s usual rich laughter didn’t follow. “I’m not here to judge you. Your my best friend, I care about you and I am worried. If you’re not ready to talk, I understand. But I’ll stand here all day and wait until you’re ready.”
They were both silent for a long time, with nothing but the wind blowing around them. Michael broke that silence, trying his hardest to hold fresh tears at bay. “You know me, Cynthia. I’m not always the best dude, not always the nicest or the kindest but I try my best. When I love someone I truly love them. Down, faithful, trustworthy. And it always seems like I get fucked over in the end.”
“That’s not true. The part about you getting fucked over. You’re loved and appreciated.”
“By who? Other than you and my daughter? Who really got me? Who really loves me?”
Cyn remained silent thinking for a moment. “It’s about Paris, isn’t it?” His long time girlfriend, and the mother of his daughter. The woman he was so excited about proposing to. In fact, Cyn gasped as she recalled today was the day he had it all planned out. “She said ‘no’?”
“Did she say ‘no’?” His tone was sarcastic, but she could hear so much pain in Michael’s voice. “I didn’t even get to ask, and you know why?” Cyn shook her head. “I walked in… on the love of my life… fucking my brother. But that ain’t all.”
What could be worse, what more could their be, Cyn asked herself. “Mikey…”
“She cheated with him, and my neighbor. But before that shit even happened, she was pregnant.”
“Not yours?”
“It was mine. And she aborted. ‘Cause another child would have slowed her down. She sick of me and I’m stopping her life and she telling these bastards I’m not treating her right when I’m the only one that gave a damn about her. Made sure she was straight when her parents kicked her out. Assured her that she and my child would be safe and taken care of. Assured her this child would be taken care of.” Michael slammed his fist down, bursting into tears. “And she took my baby from me, ’cause she’d rather be in and out of clubs, hopping on this nigga, the next, and the third. Fuck! Why not give me my babies and go on with your life? Why not let me decide what I can and can’t handle? Why would she do that to me?! I stayed strong for my baby girl,but once I got her to my sister and I came back,everything hit me like a ton of bricks. What did I do so wrong in my life to deserve this, Cyn?”
Michael had never cried, over anything. Cyn didn’t know what to say. So she said nothing, hoping her silence wouldn’t be taken the wrong way. Instead, she carefully sat beside her best friend, inching closely until she knew he wouldn’t flinch or jerk away at her touch. Slowly, she wrapped her arms around him, whispering gently as he put his head down and cried. “As long as you want me here, I’ll be right here to hold you and lift you back up. I’ll take care of you, I’ll help you with Destiny. But what I will not allow you to do is let yourself waste away or harbor ill and negative feelings towards yourself. We’ll get you through this.” A small grin etched itself across her face, to which she expected no reply to her next comment. “And when I see her, I’ll drag her by that ratty weave all up and down the Lane.”
Michael chuckled. “Thanks Cyn.”
“I love you Mikey… that’s what I’m here for.”

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