Unpaid Bills...How to Stretch a Dollar Out of 15 Cents
by Kimberly McKenzie
It was either laugh or cry and Tracey damn near fell out howling. She had a disconnection notice for the phone bill, electric bill, gas bill, and cable bill. To make matters worse the rent was due, not to mention the car note.
“Tracey, what’s so funny?” her husband Nick asked.
“Nothing, you wouldn’t understand,” she told him while she continued rummaging through the coin jar for some change. The last thing she wanted was to spark up another argument, which they seemed to been having lately.
“Well, it must be something funny because I heard you laughing way from downstairs. Out with it,” he said waiting for her response.
“Look Nick, I don’t want to start an argument with you,” Tracey told him. Her laughter now was replaced with tears.
“Honey, what’s wrong? Talk to me,” Nick pleaded.
“Fine. I’m just tired of being broke like this. For goodness sake, look at me. I’m trying to stretch a dollar out of fifteen cents,” she said, holding up a nickel and a dime that she had dug out from the coin jar.
“All I want is to have three dollars so Kamaree can have pizza for lunch tomorrow,” she said cutting his sentence off. “We can’t even do that Nick…how am I’m suppose to tell our little son this?”
Without a word, Nick took the coin jar from Tracey and dumped all the change out onto the floor. He laid his six-foot frame onto the worn out carpet and began counting pennies, dividing them into stacks of one hundred.
“Nick, what are you doing?”
“Tracey, I’m counting up these pennies. I’ll be at the bank first thing tomorrow morning when they open so I can exchange these pennies. I’ll also drop the money off at school so Kamaree can have some lunch money for pizza.”
“Nick, I’m sorry. I don’t want us to argue.”
“Who’s arguing? I’m not,” he told her without even looking up. It killed him not to even be able to provide the simplest things for his family. He was the man of the household; it was his responsibility to be able to afford their financial needs.
“Honey, please let me do this. You have to be at work in a few hours. Why don’t you lie down and get some rest.”
“Tracey, I’m fine but you can come down here and help me count to make this quicker.”
Tracey complied and they wrapped over ten dollars worth of change in less than an hour.
“I’ll make sure to drop some money off for Kamaree and you tomorrow morning so you can both buy lunch. Seven dollars should be enough for you, right?”
“Honey, don’t bother about bringing me anything. I’ll be fine.”
“Fine. Tracey, how are you going to be fine? We barely even have enough food in our refrigerator to get us by with dinner.”
For a moment there was silence and Tracey knew for sure that an argument would be next. She was surprised when Nick broke out in laughter himself.
“Damn, Tracy; who would have ever imagined things would be like this. Look at us; we’re living from paycheck to paycheck and like the old saying, ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul.’ We’ve got to stop borrowing from these check-cashing places. They’re getting rich off our poor asses and we’re getting poorer and poorer,” he said, circling his arms around his wife.
“I know. This has to stop because we’re sinking further and further into a hole. I just don’t want our marriage to end in the process with all this arguing we’ve been doing over money. Nick I love you so much.”
“Tracey, when we took our wedding vows, we said, ‘for rich or for poor,’ he said tracing his thumb and wiping away any traces of tears on her face.
“I love you and our son Kameree,” he said before kissing her. He let his tongue glide around the edge of her lips before he parted them and brushed his tongue against hers.
“We won’t be in this predicament forever. When the lease to the car is up in a few months, I’m not going to renew. That will free up a lot of money,” he told Tracey. “I’ll also check to see if I can stay on third shift at the job. We get more money and with one car we can still manage our schedules.”
“But Nick, you love that car. I thought you wanted to buy it?”
“Tracey, I love you and my family more. You two are my world…my pride and joy,” he told her with another kiss. “Now not another word about bills, they’ll be here when we’re dead and gone,” he laughed.
“You’re right about that.”
“Of course I am. Now don’t stress anymore about this. I’ll take care of everything. Tracey, promise me we won’t fight over bills anymore.”
“I promise, it’s just that every time I turn around, someone is holding their hand out and it’s even more tiresome getting phone calls or spending hours just trying to make pay arrangements.”
“I know honey, but we have to deal with it…without the arguing. It’s stressing us both out and starting to affect our family. Everything will work out, even I have to take on a second job. Tracey, just trust in me that everything will work out. I need you behind me…not in front of me because when it all boils down, I’m the man of the household and everyone will be looking at me.”
“I’m sorry,” Tracey apologized again. She had to admit that she was the driving force behind ninety-nine percent of their arguments.
She was always complaining about not having this or not having that, and some of the names she called Nick during a heated argument was down right wrong. She could not have blamed Nick one bit if he had packed up and left because she had put him through pure hell these last few months, knowing how hurtful and demeaning she had been.
With everything that had been going on, Nick truly loved Tracey. His passion for her was still there even when she didn’t even feel good about herself. The way he touched her, like he was doing now made her come alive. She didn’t need all the fancy lingerie, smelly perfume to please him. He loved her just for who she was. Nick loved the way Tracey purred while he undressed her. She enjoyed his tongue tracing over her earlobe, then down to her hardened nipples. He circled his tongue slowly over each one before pushing them together and suckling on them both.
“Nick, I love you.”
“I love you too,” he told her while he continued sliding his tongue down and branding her thighs with his wet kisses. Tracey grabbed the floor while he sampled her sweet juices. They made love to one another right on the floor next to that coin jar and all the nickel and times where Tracey had been trying to stretch a dollar out of fifteen cents.