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My Abused Friend


    We sat in the dark watching The Wizard of Oz. We had the sound muted and the Pink Floyd CD Dark Side of the Moon turned up on the stereo. We had heard that the album had been written in such a way that if you timed it right, certain passages of songs made perfect sense with the movie. Cindy sat in the darkness also, although not as interested in the movie as the rest of us.


    Cindy was a small but not petite girl. She stood about five feet tall, with brown hair and green eyes. Her face was round and pudgy, matching the rest of her body. She generally wore shoes with huge heels in an attempt to make her a more normal height, and frequently wore her hair down to try and make her face a little thinner.


    We watched the movie in Cindy's apartment, eating Cindy's food, watching Cindy's movie, and listening to Cindy's CD on Cindy's stereo. As we watched, we jeered the movie. Without the original lines to accompany them, the actors' expressions seemed very melodramatic. One of us would make a funny remark, and the rest of us would laugh as if it was the funniest thing in the world. Cindy sat on the couch, fairly uninterested but pretending to watch anyway. Occasionally she would make a humorous remark, but somehow we never found it funny. We would all turn our heads, look at her for a moment, roll our eyes, and look away. Her attempts at humor were more annoying than funny.


    Cindy was the only girl among us. That was the situation in which she felt most comfortable. As long as anyone could remember, Cindy had never had a close girl friend. She generally hung around with us guys, almost as much a part of the group as any of us.


    Halfway through the movie Joe stood up, went to the kitchen, opened the refrigerator, and pulled out a sandwich. He immediately opened it and began eating. He then opened the last can of pop and returned to the movie. He walked back to the living room and politely asked me to move my feet. After he drank some of the pop, he burped loudly, then excused himself. Cindy continued to sit on the couch and said nothing about the fact that her dinner had just been eaten.


    We tried to continue watching the movie, but our attention span proved too short. We started to mock each other instead of the movie, and gradually verbal abuses grew a bit rougher, and in short order we were all wrestling on the floor like first-graders. Cindy continued to watch the movie while occasionally glancing at us. She said nothing of the fact that we had just accidentally broken her favorite lamp, or that she couldn't see the movie clearly. When we finally exhausted ourselves, she got up and made several trips to the kitchen to get us water. She always waited on us while we were at her house, almost as if it were part of her program.


    Later, we all left, leaving Cindy to do whatever it was she did when she was alone. At some point during the ride home, we noticed that we actually knew very little about Cindy, despite our years of friendship. She had come from a large but relatively poor family, we were sure of that. And we somehow had the impression that she was originally from the South, although we had no real proof. We knew that she was valedictorian of her class, that she had few friends except us, and never went out. We also knew that she often dressed expensively but seemed more comfortable in jeans. And we knew that although she was much smarter than any of us, we never saw her doing homework. It seemed a bit funny that we didn't know what she liked to do in her spare time. Actually, we didn't know what she liked to do while with friends either; we always just called her up and told her that we were coming over. Perhaps the most important thing we knew about Cindy was that she despised violence, or any confrontations. She would speak vehemently against anyone who ever lost his or her temper, saying "There is no reason to lose your temper. It just isn't right. People should just sit down and work things out, so that no one ever gets hurt." Despite her strong convictions that things should always be talked out, she would always back down if confronted. Finally, we knew that she was our friend. We knew that she would always be there to help us out, and to lend us her apartment.


    Several days later, we decided that it would be fun to throw Cindy's dog into the river behind her apartment. A call to let her know we were coming over didn't seem necessary; we knew she wouldn't be busy. When we got there, we saw that her battered blue Ford wasn't in her parking spot. Instead, it was parked across the street from the big U-Haul truck in her spot. We immediately feared we would get stuck helping one of her neighbors move, but we went on anyway. We walked around the small apartment complex, down the stairs to her apartment, and found her laboriously carrying a chair out to the waiting truck. It was immediately clear that it was not a neighbor moving but Cindy herself. When asked why she was moving, she replied, "Well, I don't really have any friends here, so I'm moving to Tennessee to be close to my friends from when I was younger." With that, she quickly sidestepped us and continued her journey towards the truck.

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