She’d been ill for a few days. She said it felt like the flu. Her temperature was over 100 so she stayed home from work for a few days, waiting for it to pass.
After three days, her temperate dropped. She went back to work still feeling less than well.
After two days of work, she had a day off.
I asked her how she felt and what she was going to do.
“I feel okay,” she said. “I’m just going to relax.”
“Good,” I said. “But I think you need a pumpkin roll.”
“Why?” she asked.
“Cause you’ve been feeling unwell. You’ve been under stress. You need something good.”
“Maybe,” she said.
“No. You need it. Or something else. Something small, if nothing else.”
“Okay,” she said. “You can get me a pumpkin roll.”
“No,” I said.
“Why not? You know how bad I’ve felt.”
“Cause I’ve got to work today. And you live all the way across town.”
There was silence.
“Besides, the store I’ll buy it from is the same store closest to you. Same store. Same pumpkin roll,” I said.
“But it’ll taste better coming from you,” she said.
“No it won’t,” I said. “It’ll be the exact same thing. Or maybe even better if you get it for yourself.”
“It seems selfish you don’t want to get it for me,” she said. “After my illness and all.”
“It seems selfish you want me to do for you what you could far more easily do for yourself. It seems selfish to me you wanna contract out what would do you – not me – some good.”
More silence followed.
“If you can’t get yourself a pumpkin roll, I’m not sure what you’re willing to do for yourself to make anything better,” I said. “And always laying that responsibility at the feet of somebody else isn’t the direction we need to be going.”
Another long pause followed.
“Is this making sense?” I asked. “If you want something bad enough, you’ll do what you gotta do to get it. Not just sit around and wait for it to happen by magic.”
“Okay,” she said. “I guess I’ll talk to you later.”
We hung up.
The next day I texted her, “Pumpkin roll?”
She replied, “No,” proceeded by a sad-face emoji.