The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is LIFE’S ALLUSIONS
My response will be a story about a young couple who’ve come to a crisis-point over life’s allusions and illusions.
THE BUDGET WON’T REACH
Rick pulled out his receipts and the notebook in which he was recording their monthly expenses. For several weeks Lexi had been alluding to the lack of money for extras; this morning she’d actually had to leave some things at the checkout because the debit card wouldn’t cover her grocery bill. The cashier had been nice about it, but she was so humiliated.
Her allusions were getting him down. He’d hoped to give her so much more than a tight budget and no money for extras. If possible he would find some way to free up some more funds for groceries. They did need to eat.
He started entering the receipts in his notebook when he came across one from Turner’s Home Trimmings. Lampshade: $42. Lampshade? Guess that explains why there wasn’t enough to cover the groceries, he thought.
Rick was annoyed. Why on earth did she buy a new lampshade when funds are so tight. She seems to have some serious illusions — or delusions? — about the lifestyle we can live on our income. Well, this lavish spending has to stop. Now.
“Lexi,” he called. “Did you just spend $42 on a lampshade?”
She hurried into the room. “Yes, I did,” she answered defensively. “The shade beside the couch was looking so tattered, I was ashamed to have anyone into our living room. I know what Mom would say if she saw it.”
“We could have made do with it for another year. I hate to disillusion you, but we can’t afford all this nice new stuff at this point in time. I’m not earning the kind of money your Dad is, not yet, so you just can’t spend like your mom does.”
“It’s only one thing — the first new thing this year. And there’s always VISA.”
“There is NOT always VISA. Credit does not mean FREE. Credit means deferred payment — preferably only until the end of the month. We have to cut out ALL unnecessary expenses until I’m earning more commission. Then you can buy new lampshades and such.”
“Well, if it makes you happy, I’ve cut out one expense. I’ve stopped buying birth control pills.”
Rick nodded. “Well, if you can do without…” He stopped and looked at her sharply. “And…?”
“And now we’re going to have a baby.” She sounded embarrassed, uncertain.
Rick put his head in his hands, extra expenses scribbling themselves in his brain. “That’s wonderful.” He took a deep breath and looked up at her again. “We’ll manage somehow.”
Lexi had imagined how she’d share the great news and they’d be so thrilled together. Now her illusions had burst like a pricked bubble, turning her stomach over on their way down. She rushed to the bathroom.