As it stands, Craig owes me $530.00!!!
I’ve been out of work for almost a month, I’m financially supporting my Mom (and 14 other relatives) in the Philippines and bills are consistently coming out of my account so to me…$530 is a HUGE DEAL right now. It feels like $5000 in the state I’m in.
It started with “just $200, please Janet – I need it. I have to have it” as Craig stared Eagle-eyed at me across the table in hospital. We were both patients in the Psych ward, both vulnerable people in need and my heart ❤️ wanted to help a friend as much as I could. So I transferred $200 out of my precious savings that day…on the promise it would be “back in your account next Friday, thank you sooo much, you are so kind”
Friday arrived. The money didn’t.
Now. I hate asking after money. I try my best to not loan it but to freely give it so when I’m with a friend and I know they’re struggling, I’ll pay for the movies. I’ll foot the bill at lunch. I’ll cover your Uber home, you’re welcome. But when it comes to large sums of money that you have promised to give back…then yeah, Imma need it back…like you said it would be.
Craig just avoided me that Friday: “Sorry, going through a lot, I need time on my own” so I respected that and gave him space. After all, I’m in hospital too and if anyone understands not being able to socialise when you feel broken, it’s me.
A week later and another request for money. For more money this time.
“I know…I already owe you $200…but I’m getting discharged from hospital in a week and I have nowhere to go. If you could please find it in your heart to pay for me to have a week’s stay in a Hostel and not be homeless…oh Janet…*tears* then…I’d really appreciate that…please, Janet. Please help me”
Like an idiot I transfer another $230.00 into Craig’s account. He eyes my phone hungrily as I turn the screen towards him to show the instant transfer of more of my hard-earned savings – from my account to his.
In my mind, I was thinking of Jesus. He asks me to care for those around me and He blesses me so that I can bless others. I am grateful for every temp posting I get in offices all over the city. I try my best at all times to be generous with what I have. If you need it and I have it, then I’ll always share.
A month goes by and I hear nothing. No repayments. Nothing. I’m struggling supporting my Mom, so I send out a few really gentle texts “Hey, I’m struggling with financial problems and would appreciate getting that money back…even if you could set aside $20 a week in instalments, it would help a lot”
Until a call suddenly comes in. Craig. He wants more money. “Janet…I’m really struggling too. I could really use your help. I need money for food. Please help me”
So, with Jesus in mind and being generous and kind with anything I have…I transfer another $50 to Craig’s account. It’s for food…right?
The tally is up to $480 now and there are still NO SIGNS of getting anything back 😞
Fast forward to 3 months of basically no contact, missed calls (me trying again and again to just have a friendship) random 2-word texts back from Craig: “hi Janet” “can’t talk” “call later” “hey there” and me thinking “oh f*ck it, ain’t nobody got time for dis” and giving up.
I’ve been TOO FREAKING UNWELL lately to chase a guy and try to get him to be my friend. Life is too short, I’m too sick, and murmuring beneath the surface of my distress is a voice saying “you deserve more than this from a so-called mate”
Then 5 missed calls this morning, one after the other. I was in bed, finally getting to sleep after a restless night of coughing and wheezing. I ignore calls when I’m exhausted because whoever it is can leave a message.
Then I suddenly shoot up in bed, remembering this similar situation happened when my Dad died and what if it’d someone from the Philippines telling me my remaining parent is in trouble???
Quickly, I select “missed calls” to see who is was. All 5 have Craig’s name.
Ok so my Mom is alright. Praise Jesus.
Maybe Craig is calling to invite me to lunch (his shout), pay back the $480.00 he owes me and is ready to finally be a friend.
With my hopeful – or is it STUPID? – heart, I ring back.
“Hey Janet *dramatic sigh* I’m so sorry I’ve been such a crap friend to you when you’ve done so much for me…but…”
At that word, my heart sinks. But…but you want something from me. I’ve really needed a friend these past few months and you’re only calling now because you need something.
You’re breaking my heart, Craig.
“But I’ve uhh…I’ve had no money” Craig continues “I’m really struggling. I’ve not taken my meds in a few weeks because I can’t afford them…if you could just send me $300 (!!!) it would tide me over, Janet. Can you please help me? I need meds and I need petrol. I need to top up my phone and pay towards my rent. I need your help. Please”
Inside me, I was SO UPSET. Tears were welling in my eyes as I listened. All he wants is more from me when he hasn’t even paid the $480 (!!!) he already borrowed!!!
What I wanted to say:
You owe me $480 already and now you’re asking for $300 more? Are you out of your freaking mind?!? Do you really expect me to give you MORE MONEY 💰 and in such huge bloody amounts too – when you’ve already proved you are not a good friend and not trustworthy???O
Nope. Good luck with that. Delete my number and take this as a sign I’m fed up with your bullshit. Well done on taking me for almost $500, mate – but it stops here.
What actually happened:
Me: I’m really uncomfortable with your request, Craig. I literally don’t have the money to –
Him: Janet, I neeeeed it. I need it so badly. Can you use your credit card or lend money to help me?
Me: *appalled* I am already in debt and I can’t push it. I haven’t been working and I am so uncomfortable with giving you more money when you promised me last time and you never –
Craig: Oh but I will this time, I swear on my life that if you transfer $300 to me right now I will pay it back this Friday. With $100 on top. How’s that?
In my head: What do you mean “$100 on top”??? You owe me $480!!!
Out loud: *truthfully* Look, I don’t even have $300…
Craig: Could you stretch it to $100, then? I really need my meds. I need you to do this one favour (one favour???) for me, Janet. Please. I’m desperate. I need it.
Inside: I’m pretty fucking desperate too, but you wouldn’t know as you don’t return my calls!!!
Out loud: I suppose I could send you $50?
JD. What the FUCK are you doing?!? You only have $200 in your account and your Mom will be waiting on her weekly $50 payment from you in the next few days. You literally can’t afford this!!!
But what about Jesus? What about helping those in need?
Craig: Can you send $75?
Me: *hurting at how fucking pushy he is* $50 is my limit, take it or leave it.
Craig: I’ll take it!!! I’ll take it. Thank you!!! Please send it right away.
So I transferred it.
I feel disgraceful 😞 I feel like I’ve been robbed of something vital here, guys. I just can’t put my finger on it.