Stop Telling Your Friends That They ‘Deserve Better’

Friends who deserve better
Unsplash /
Uroš Jovičić

“You deserve better.”

I tell this to my friend,

when she turns to me, brokenhearted

with a wine glass dangling in between her

fingers, still carrying the smudges of the mascara

which was wiped off

in the dimly lit washroom of this

deafening bar.

“You deserve better.”

I tell her, making this decision

on her behalf.

That she deserves

this gut-wrenching,

soul-ripping,

kick to the gut feeling.

For she liked to feel, didn’t she?

And she chose poorly, didn’t she?

And now, she wants to feel Better, doesn’t she?

So she’ll just have to accept that this choice,

this pain, this life

was sub-optimal.

Better.

I mouth the word,

almost perfunctorily.

It has ceased to mean anything.

Better means meadows and rainbows?

And no fights and no tears?

And no hurt and no one leaves?

And a forever and an always?

Right?

Because if better doesn’t mean

any of those,

what good could it really be!

What good is my fake, insincere assurance of better

If she is going to

curl into a ball on another moonless night,

over another just a stupid fight

and bleed onto her pillow

the liquid of her soul, till her eyes are red coals

and her lips carry the burden of

another Better’s broken promises.

I used to believe in the better.

The first time, and the second.

For a few days, weeks, months.

But better doesn’t stay.

Only people do.

And people aren’t good, or bad, or better or worse.

They’re just trying to be.

So my dear drunk and despair filled friend,

what you do deserve,

is lesser hurt

and lesser anguish

and more strength

and a chance to see yourself like the world does

and a humour to tide you over this night, and this season

and more wine.

You deserve this and need this — much more than you will ever deserve Better. TC mark

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