Embracing worry

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As Mahesh had expected his friend's room reflected her personality. Neatly organized spaces with a discreet splash of colour and a whole wall lined with books dominating the space.

Everyone in college knew Marnie to be the "adult". In a sea of raging hormones, frat parties, last-minute assignments, borderline grades, crushing student loans, Marnie was the exception.

She was on a full scholarship but still worked as a teacher's assistant for spending money, her grades outstripped her peers, she did internships during long holiday weekends, had started an investment club and baked cookies for her classmates every Friday for their parties to which she never went as she was in bed by 10.

Something at the corner of the pillow on Marnie's bed caught his eye as the bell rang. Marnie called out from the bathroom "Please get the door."

Mahesh opened it to find a woman with a tight perm, pleather pants and a football jersey tapping her feet impatiently.

"About ti-." She stopped when she saw Mahesh and peaked inside.

"I'm here to see Marnie."

"I'm sorry, may I know who you are?"

"Her mother." She said as she pushed aside Mahesh and headed inside.

"Look at her living in luxury."

Mahesh blinked and looked at the tiny room, which was the size of two cupboards.

Marnie mother went over to her bag and started looking for something. She found a wallet and took out the cash.

Mahesh kept glancing at the bathroom door, hoping Marnie came back because something didn't seem quite right.

Her mother stuffed the cash in her pocket and took two steps towards the door. She then went back and took the entire wallet.

"Ma'am you can't do that."

"Of course I can, she's my daughter." She brushed past him and stormed outside.

Marnie came back after a minute to see Mahesh sitting at the edge of the bed, clutching his hair.

"Who was it?"

"Your mother."

The colour drained from Marnie's face and she went straight for her bag.

"It's gone."

"I'm sorry, I tried stopping her."

Marnie went near her pillow and took out a raggedy teddy bear and held it to her chest.

"Do you want to report her?"

"No, she'll only take it out on my siblings."

Marnie hugged her bear and cried softly. She looked at Mahesh's stunned expression and moved her face away.

He looked at the most adult person he'd met, sob while clutching a toy.

He walked up to her and hugged her.

After Marnie had calmed down she gave a tremulous smile and held out her toy. "This is Worry, it was the only toy I had as a child."

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