The Saga of CJ: Shirt on Backwards

The constant rant flowed like a river from his mouth mingling with the loud hum of background noise.

My gaze focused on a woman in line. “Do you think that woman knows her shirt is on backwards?”, I asked.

He paused. “…No. And I’m not going to be the one to tell her.”

“Neither am I…”

CJ continued his rant. The cheating, manipulative girlfriend I had forbidden him to see had stolen all his money…again. Thrown him out of the house…again. Slept with other men while he was hospitalized…again.

He did his level best into guilt trip me into letting him stay. He must have repeated 20 times or more how he had no where to go and no where to stay. All he has is his truck. Never directly asking if he could stay with me, but always hinting just beneath the surface.

At one point, all I had was my truck. My parents decided to divorce and neither wanted me. My dad bought a small truck for a couple thousand dollars and let me stay in it. It wasn’t my truck, he was always careful to point out. It was just my home. It was a stick shift and, with 30 minutes of behind the wheel training, he sent me off on my own. I was 17 when I was homeless; too young to get a full time job or sign a lease on an apartment. I had no choice. CJ has chosen this for himself in many ways. Giving his ex access to his bank account repeatedly, getting back together with her although he knew it meant he couldn’t stay at my house any longer, and quitting his job to help her move out of the trailer.

On one hand, I would like to help him. On the other, I know that allowing CJ to stay with me will upset my boyfriend greatly although he and CJ have been friends for more than 20 years. CJ will have to find his own way just as I had to find my own way. For CJ, it’s not a punishment but a choice. I need to let him work through his choices. Bailing him out would do him little good.

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