I wonder if you ordered the chicken nachos with an extra side of guacamole while I measured out two-thirds of a cup of salad and a divided a foil pack of spicy tuna between a Tupperware container and the only meal I can afford to eat today. I wonder if you got the house margarita while I counted change at the bottom of my drawer, hoping I had enough for a bottle of water. It is taco Tuesday after all. I wonder if you stayed for dessert, tried the churros with a scoop of vanilla ice cream while I can only think about fresh fruit and meat that doesn’t come out of a can.
I wonder if you ate comfortably, if your stomach threatened to reject its contents once the bill came, if you felt any sense of remorse or guilt, and above all, why. Why steal my information for a meal worth less than a couple of Venti coffee orders from Starbucks?
You didn’t stop there. You went shopping at Lenox, grabbed who knows what from Dick’s Sporting Goods, all on my overdrawn, penniless account. Was it worth a pair of shoes? A camo hat and tent?
You took more than my money. In fact, I had none to take in the first place. You took my sense of security, forced me to spend hours in fear while I wondered will I able to pay my rent on time? Buy groceries? Afford to fuel my car to go to work? I was paralyzed, listening to campy music while on hold with the fraud department of my bank. I measured through my limited options, trying to find a means of control.
There wasn’t one. I cried. I spent two weeks penny pinching and in one day, you spent more than I did in a month. Fourteen days of financial frugality erased by one day of fraudulent transactions.
And worst of all, you made me feel like it was my fault. That by simply using my debt card, I deserved to be robbed, that I failed to observe some basic tenant of smart consumerism.
But this is your fault. This will always be your fault.
If you were my friend, I would have taken you to lunch if I could spare it or even cooked something, gotten a couple of beers to commiserate over a rough job search, an economy that still doesn’t feel new college graduate friendly, soul crushing student loan debt, being priced out of apartments by gentrification, and tuition cost galloping past available financial aid.
But you aren’t. This is your problem. I’m just fitting the bill.