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USA Real Estate Blog

requests – Priyanka – Medium

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There’s a tweet that goes something like “friendship is just venmo-ing the same $15 back and forth until one of you dies,” and when I read it I laughed, remembering the weekend my friend Miranda sent me $16 for a movie on Friday night and I sent her $16 for dinner on Saturday.

Today I was bored at work (what I like to call ‘being a person at work’) and searched my friend Sophie’s name in my e-mail inbox, wanting to re-read a short e-mail exchange from the spring of 2017. This was when I was traveling and she was at home. We started off each e-mail apologizing for our late replies.

After reading those messages, I clicked back and saw that the most recent e-mail in the search results was actually from Venmo; from when Sophie sent me 12 dollars for [spaghetti emoji] on July 20th, 2017, two months before she died. That was the second-to-last time that I saw her. It would be dishonest to be casually non-specific about it, like “it was one of the last times…” Of course I know what day of the week it was (Thursday) and exactly what we did (ordered a ton of pasta and watched the movie Little Sister on Netflix. I brought over a ziploc bag of grape tomatoes that my parents grew and then accidentally ate most of them, which I still regret). It all became much sharper in the aftermath of her passing. I didn’t, and still don’t, think that I knew it was going to be one of the last times. But I had a feeling, the way anyone does when driving your friend to Giovanni’s Pizza in Jamison also means helping her get the oxygen tank into your car. It’s the feeling you have when you’re not talking about the feeling. This feeling might even be the opposite of knowing, because it obscures any future possibilities. That’s what death does. It deflates time.

Looking at those 12 dollars, there’s no way to know if we’re even. Part of friendship is the assumption that it should all even out based on some past transaction. If not, then there’s the expectation that it will eventually even out. If not, then you Venmo. I’m not enthusiastic about Venmo-requesting for every little thing. The other options are based on the comforting, necessarily-taken-for-granted idea that you will see each other again. When I put down my card for dinner or drinks with a friend and they ask me to request them, sometimes I just let it go. That’s not to say that Sophie’s death made me somehow wiser than people who request $2.00 for the tip, or that I disapprove of this behavior, whatever. (I also generally don’t have to think twice before completing a Venmo charge.) We’re all paying our friends back for their generosity, we’re hanging out and minding money, it’s a beautiful thing! I’m not hit with existential uncertainty each time I take someone’s leave and see that they’ve sent me money. But here’s another thing that death does: it blurs these small green numbers on my screen. I can’t see them anymore.

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