A Night on the Couch

“Dude, that was awesome.” Joselyn violently pointed at the screen. She seemed to vibrate in her seat, unable to keep still on the couch throughout the entire movie. Next to her sat Helen, who appeared to be trying to merge with the couch. Helen had a hand reached into a bowl that now contained a few dregs of popcorn. She removed her hand without grabbing any and offered the bowl to Joseline.

“I can’t eat anymore of this stuff, you wanna finish it?”

“Na, it’s nothing but kernels left anyway,” Joseline said. She picked up a remote and turned the tv off, leaving the room significantly darker than a moment ago. Standing with a stretch she turned to leave. “I should hit the hay. You know where blankets and stuff are, right?”

“Yeah, I’ve got it.” Helen leaned forward and began to remove the various snacks Joseline had covered the couch in, before pulling out a blanket which she laid across it’s surface.

“Well I’ll see you in the morning,” Joseline left the room, waving her hand as she went.

“Yeah, goodnight.” Helen lay down on the couch. She was lucky to have it. She thought about how she had ended up here, no money, no job, no place to live. As she pondered it she fell into a restless slumber.

She woke with a start. She had no idea what had done it, but her eyes were wide open now. It was still pitch black. Rather than settling back down she stood and began to stumble through the darkness towards the kitchen. She turned the light on and grabbed a glass.

She filled the cup and quickly downed it, before going back for another. The second one she sipped slowly, giving her time to look around the room. It was then that she saw it. A glass jar, filled with years worth of change. Wadded bills and large coins packed into the small space. Not much to some, least of all Joselyn, but more than Helen could have dreamed of in that moment. It was just sitting there, almost laughing at her.
 

Take the jar and run                              Go back to sleep             

 

Take the jar and run

She walked over and softly plucked the jar from the shelf that it sat on. She rapidly looked around the room before swaddling the the jar in her arms. She exited the kitchen, turning the light off as she went. She fumbled through the lounge for her backpack. When she found it she began trying to squish the jar into it, amongst the only possessions she owned. Eventually she was able to get the zipper closed, and so she slipped out the front door into the night.

She wandered the streets for the rest of the night, not knowing where to go. It gave her time to think. She thought about whether it was worth it. Over the next few weeks she thought about it every moment her brain wasn’t occupied by something else. It helped keep her alive and she tried to get her feet back under her, but she did it all alone. She didn’t trust herself to be near anyone ever again.

She saw Joseline only once after that night, across a crowd. She didn’t move the way Helen remembered. She held back, she was reserved. Helen watched her across the crowd for as long as her courage would allow her. Eventually the fear that Jocelyn might notice her got to be too much, and so she hastily made her exit. She went back to her warm bed, one that belonged to her, and wondered if she deserved it.

 

Go back to sleep

She placed the glass down on the counter and turned the kitchen light off. She dove back onto the couch. She lay there on the couch until morning, unable to ever really drift back into sleep. Eventually the boredom of being stuck there was interupted by Jocelyn trying to sneak into the room just as light began to break. Just as she tried to sneak into the kitchen, Helen spoke up.

“You not exactly a ninja, are you?,” She said with a deadpan look on her face.

“Well I’m not known for my subtlety.” Jocelyn laughed as she said it. “Sleep okay?”

“Nope, just awful.” Helen said, beginning to laugh as well.

“Yeah, sorry I don’t have anything better than a couch.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Helen said as she sat up. “Thanks for letting me stay.”

“Well I wasn’t going to let you just sleep on the street was I?,” Jocelyn said as she sat next to her. “Come on, let’s grab some breakfast, then I’ll help you look for a new job.” They stood up unison. There was one thing that Helen wasn’t missing, and that was people willing to help her. As long as she had that, she was going to be be okay.