Life has gotten a little complicated since Tanisha became a part of it. She’s always seemed so strong, so tough, but just this week I saw another side of her. We were in the middle of a rather intense debate about the nature of happiness or something. I admit I wasn’t really giving it my all. I was fascinated by how impassioned and expressive she was about happiness being an illusion, a tool to keep us oppressed. I think she’s wrong, but she’s remarkably intelligent, quick-witted and decisive. She had a counterpoint for everything I said.
Suddenly her phone made a noise, and she picked up the device and held it to her face and said “yeah?”. I was surprised to hear a tinny male voice talking back to her. I couldn’t make out the words. It made me think of a chat, but without being able to see who you’re talking to. She paled as she listened, and began to tear up. After mumbling a few words in response, she took the phone away from her face. The tears were streaming now, and she got up to leave.
As uncomfortable as it made me seeing her cry, I wouldn’t be much of a good man if I let her leave. Especially when she clearly needed someone to show they cared, so I stopped her and asked her what happened. Turns out that her Auntie Gemma had passed away. She wasn’t her blood aunt, just a neighbor who had her own children and grandchildren. She would let all the neighborhood kids come over, feed them and let them play together in her house.
Tanisha says she felt closer to this kind and generous ‘Auntie Gemma’ than her own mother. I resisted the temptation to point out that this was because this woman made her happy, now was not the time. Tanisha stayed over that night. I held her in my arms as she wept and tried to sleep. Whenever she woke she’d cry again, and I’d just hold her and stroke her hair. I wanted her to feel safe, to feel loved, and I tried very hard not to show how frustrating it was to be woken up, over and over again, by her sobs.
I spent days with her, hiding how disappointed I am to learn that she’s just as vulnerable as the rest of us. I haven’t been able to play a full session of any of my games. All the bases and resources I’ve carefully acquired and maintained will have been lost, along with the passive income they give me. I can’t really blame her, though, she needs me right now. I’ll have to make up the time and replace the Arpies I’ve spent on her when she feels better. Comforting a damsel in distress is expensive!
I’m sure there’ll be some high reward task I can complete next time I get the chance. It’s a shame that ‘comforting a grieving friend’ probably won’t be one of them. There’s usually some trad willing to pay a good little pile of Arpies to deliver a package, do some gardening for them, or fix their reclaimer. I hope I get to fix something. It’s been a while, and machines are a lot easier.