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We Need to Talk



We need to talk she says to me

I take a breath and want to leave


"What now?" Issac asked.

"Why do you already sound annoyed?" Natalie asked with an attitude.

"Because it's late, and I just got home. I want to have dinner, take a shower, and go to bed, but apparently, I won't be able to do that right away because we need to talk, so just tell me. What is it now?"

"I want to go to Janice's birthday party." Natalie said.

"So go," Issac replied "you don't need my permission."

"I want you to come with me though."

"Natalie," Issac said with a sigh "please don't start whining. I already told you I have to work."

"But you won't be closing." Natalie countered. "Why can't you just come after you get off?"

"Because I don't want to go." Issac said bluntly. "I already told you that too."

"You mean you don't want to go with me."

"That's not what I said."

"Well that's how I feel, Issac." Natalie snapped. "You never seem to want to go anywhere but to work."

"First off," Issac replied as he started taking off his work clothes "don't put words in my mouth based on how you feel. Second, I don't always want to go to work either. But I go because I know the consequences of me not going are a lot more serious than what might happen if I miss one of your friend's birthday parties. I already got Janice a gift and a card. Go to the party, take those to her, and call it a day."

"And what am I supposed to tell everyone when they ask where you are?" Natalie asked.

"Tell them the truth!" Issac yelled. Then he sighed in frustration and continued in a lower voice. "Tell them I'm at work and won't be coming. It's not as hard as you want to make it out to be. You don't have to lie for me, or feel embarrassed that I'm not there. Instead of trying to create a problem for us to solve, go to the party and have a good time. Also, don't act like I never spend any time with you whatsoever. We went to the movies last month, and the beach two weeks ago. We don't have to be together at every event that comes up, and I rarely have a problem when you're not in the mood to go places with me, so you should be able to do the same."

By now, Issac was out of his work boots and shirt. He put his hand on the doorknob of their bathroom, then turned to Natalie.

"Anything else we need to talk about?" He asked her.

"No."


Three days later, Natalie was sitting in the living room of Janice's house. The party was in full swing. Tables were set up on one side of the kitchen holding pans of barbecue ribs, shrimp and chicken tacos, and burgers. Two five gallon jugs of punch sat near the food and outside on the patio, large coolers were regularly being refilled with cans of soda and bags of ice.

Natalie was finding it hard to have a good time, though. Being around the other couples that were there made her feel like she was behind. Of course, if she'd mentioned it to Issac last night, he'd just tell her it wasn't a race, but he didn't understand. He might be fine with them dating and living together for a few more years, but she was ready to move forward. She wanted him to propose, not just talk about it later on.

"What you ova' here mopin' about?" Janice said as she joined Natalie on the couch. "We're supposed to be havin' a party."

"Sorry Janice," Natalie apologized. "Issac and I had a fight last night."

"What about?"

"Me coming here alone. He seems to jump at every chance to hang out with his friends, but when it comes to spending time with me, everything has to be planned around his work schedule."

Janice laughed a little before replying, "I'm sure it's the same thing when he has to hang out with his friends, girl. Charles has told me that getting Issac to go out at all takes quite a bit of convincing, and even then he has to check his work schedule."

"But he seems to enjoy working more than he enjoys spending time with me." Natalie replied.

"Probably because you come at him with problems all the time instead of letting him relax first." Janice explained. "You're not always the best person to spend time with, and if you keep this up, Issac's not going to be spending any time with you."

Natalie rolled her eyes and took another sip of her punch. She hated being criticized, even when it was constructive.

"He should still be here." She muttered.

"Goodness gracious, girl." Janice said. "You know for sure where he is, right?"

"Yeah."

"So if he's not cheating on you, stop being annoyed that he's at work. Someone has to do it while you're looking for a job."

Natalie sat up and shot Janice an angry look.

"So what are you trying to say?"

Janice's reply was serious and blunt. "I'm saying your man is doing the right thing, and you're angry at him for it. Stop it. And stop expecting him to clear his work schedule just because you want to constantly go out. There has to be a balance in every relationship, and you don't sound like someone willing to work towards that. Instead, you want him to cater to you and provide, but not if it's going to mean y'all can't do things together whenever you want. That's selfish."

"Well," Natalie countered "I'm allowed to be a bit selfish after that disaster with George. He never let me go anywhere."

"But Issac's not George, girl." Janice said as she got off the couch. "And the sooner you stop treating him like he is, the better off you'll be. Sounds like you and he have a lot more to talk about."

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