Leo* and Sheila* had been close friends since college. Sheila fell hopelessly in love with Leo and Leo knew it. But to save the friendship, Sheila kept her feelings at bay and remained the warm and casual friend to Leo. In fairness to Leo, he acted just as casual as Sheila did.
Sheila felt relieved when they finally graduated from college and eventually parted ways. But after a couple of years, Leo found her and paid her a visit. Just like before, they talked a lot. But Leo did most of the talking and Sheila, as always, assured Leo’s undeclared fears, smoothed his ruffled feathers and made him feel good. Then, after that he disappeared and Sheila didn’t hear from him again.
After several years, Leo tracked her down. He told her how much he’d changed. He was no longer the uneasy fellow he once was. He was proud of his newly-found confidence. He was already ranting for minutes when he finally thought to ask Sheila how she was. Sheila said she was doing well with her life. She was settled and, in fact, there will be a celebration in their house the following week and she even invited Leo, sincerely wishing he would come. Leo promised but didn’t show up.
After several more years, Leo found Sheila again. But this time Leo already made a name for himself. He told Sheila about his transformation and how thankful he was to her for being the one to bring about that transformation. As she used to do, Sheila just listened, saying the right words and asking the right questions. But she was beginning to realize how Leo was treating her all this time.
Tracked down when needed and discarded after use.
As Sheila expected, she never heard of Leo again for another year. And when she did, it was when Leo was starting to feel down and unsure about himself. And she finally learned what she was to Leo. She was a SPONGE, not a FRIEND. And she felt very very sorry, not for herself, but for Leo. Because all this time, he never knew what he's got.
*not real name