For months on end, we work together but long distance. Each of us use the same shipping program, the same web host, and the same customer base. The only difference is that there are now four of us. The four of us work well together, hundreds of miles apart, with very few complications.

    Occasionally, we end up selling similar items, but I don’t see them as competition. Being new, my funny friend, however, is overly cautious. She sends me an image that looks something like acrylic keychains, something I consistently offer on my website.

     “I’m not stepping on your toes by selling these, am I?” She asks me.

    “No way girl! I don’t give a fuck. Make that money ho. These items are just things that I’m importing. I have no emotional attachment to them. It’s not like I invented them or something.”

    “Yeah, I didn’t think you would. Just checking.”

    Meanwhile, Molly’s side of the business is growing by leaps and bounds. Her pregnant belly is too. 

    (Turns out, she did in fact, get pregnant that night we went shopping.)

    She’s juggling both beautifully. Pregnancy and business, I mean. 

    I’m so proud of her. So happy for her. It’s a joy to watch her shine in business and in motherhood. Plus, I know how much she wanted another baby to love. 

    “What should I name him?” She asks me and our funny friend, referring to the new baby.

    “Jensen!” I say.

    “What about Sutton?” My funny friend suggests.

    “I love the name Jensen,” she says “but love the sound of Sutton. I just like the way it sounds. Sutton. Sut-ton.” She says, sounding it out. ”I’m going to go with that one.”

    Just like that, she lets someone she’s never met in real life, name her baby. It seems perfectly normal to me. Perfectly normal for all of us. 

            The more Molly’s business grows, the more absent she becomes in our chat. The longer she’s absent, the closer I grow to my funny friend. 

    Amidst this, custom refinishing furniture soon becomes a gateway for my anxiety. 

    What is happening? You adore painting. What’s wrong with you? Who are you?

    As more and more customer messages roll in, I worry frantically if the client will like it or not. 

     I bet they hate it. No, they don’t. Sure they do. 

    The voice inside my head is persuasive. I can’t seem to ignore it. 

    Wait, I know what this is. This is just a symptom. 

    Recently, I have a diagnosis, but it doesn’t help just knowing. They call it PMDD. An invisible illness that is seemingly trying to kill me. Kind of literally. 

    The blessing, and the curse, is that it (only) occurs half the month. It makes it even more confusing, but I suppose it’s good to know it’s coming. 

    Every two weeks, everything changes inside me. My thoughts. My mood. My sense of self. My personality. Everything. Even my sense of everyone else. The paranoia begins to run deep and before I know it, I can’t sleep. The funny part is, that one of the symptoms is fatigue. 

    Every month it comes. Every month it leaves. I spend half the month hiding from the crowds, whether it’s one person or thirteen, it doesn’t matter to me. They are equally scary. I hide regardless, afraid of what the world can see.  I often hide until it’s over, putting almost my entire life on hold until it passes. Until I’m me again.

    The other half of the month, I’m happy and content. Even productive. More than productive. I live for the two weeks of normalcy. I’d give anything to be “normal” full-time, but I guess it isn’t in the cards for me.

    Pushing the diagnoses out of my mind, I check my Facebook messages. In my inbox is a message from Molly.

    “What do you know about Disney deals?” She asks me.

    “Not a thing,” I admit. “We’re locals,” I explain. “We just go when we go and it’s never more than a one-day thing.”

    “Oh. The kids have never been, and I’d love to take them. I just know there is so much to do.” She says. 

    “There is! It’s overwhelming, but they will love it!” 

    “Can you meet us there?”

    “I don’t see why not.” 

    Disney in the summer sun isn’t my own personal idea of fun, but I would give anything to spend time with my long-distance best friend. 

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