The Unwelcome Friend


“You’re back.”

“You thought I wouldn’t be?”

She was in my sun, the sun I’d earned. I wished she’d move.

“Are you ready to talk?”

“No.” I inched sideways and decided to ignore her. After all, she was invisible to everyone else.
.
She plopped down beside me and little sand crystals showered my skin. Irritating. Like her.

“Let’s get it over with,” she said and sounded as irritated as I was. “You know you shouldn’t be here. This is wrong. You’re running away. What should we do about it?”

I hated these talks. She was so persistent, like a gnat that couldn’t be swatted. No drug could silence her, no drink drown her out. The moment the artificial solution wore off, there she was, annoying me, making things worse. I wished she would vanish forever and let me enjoy myself.
.
For a blissful moment, I imagined basking in my own sun, doing as I pleased without her bothersome nagging. “You’re right. I’m sorry. But I don’t need you this time. Now, leave.”

That patronizing chuckle. “Not good enough. I can’t leave yet. He sent me because He cares about you. If I don’t stay, you’re gonna get yourself in big trouble.”

She stretched out beside me, looking out over the same whitecaps I saw, but I knew she wasn’t enjoying them. I wasn’t either.

She turned to study me with that probing look she had. “Believe me, if you’d shape up, no one would be happier than I would. It’s no fun being at odds with you all the time. But this is my job and I’m good at it.”

“I ran here to get away from you. Why won’t you leave me alone?” Anger mushroomed like a cloud. Righteous anger. I was a good person, better than most. She didn’t have the right to bug me so often. Did she bug other people like this?

The silence stretched so long I thought she had gone, but when I turned my head I could see her shadow across the sand. She hadn’t moved.
.
In a voice so soft I could barely hear, she asked, “Do you honestly want me to go away and never return? You know what that would mean, don’t you?”
.
An unwelcome vision flashed across my mind, blocking out the rest of the sun but bringing a light of its own. Her presence, unwelcome at times, had kept me from wrong decisions, destructive relationships, habits and addictions. Whenever I got to a crossroads, there she was, bugging me. Sometimes loudly. Too loud to ignore.

“No,” I sighed. “I guess I need you. You’re annoying, but life without you would be unbearable. I’ll do as you say and…tell Him thanks.”

She helped me to my feet. “All right then, follow me.”

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