chapter 1 (Fired)

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I was scared to death knowing how this might end. I could lose everything in a heartbeat.

Not again! Please, not again!

That was all I could think of, hearing Mr. Valente, my boss, spattering a non-stop string of profanities in Italian. I held my arms tightly around my chest as he launched the dish across the storage room. I flinched, squeezing my eyes shut for a second. The plate catapulted to meet the wall right behind me with a deafening crash.

It wasn't by any chance the first time I was treated like garbage. But every time it happened, it gave me this instant stuffy panic that it was my last chance. That I'd become one of the godforsaken beggars who occupied every nook and cranny of the magnificent Manhattan.

Then I would picture myself wearing tatters and scavenging for food, or holding a cardboard sign for people to toss some coins for me in a rusty can. I would be huddled in a corner on the sidewalk, while pedestrians passed by as fast as they could to avoid me.

Although I couldn't remember - in my almost nineteen years of age - seeing a young homeless girl on the streets before. Maybe because young homeless girls earned their money in different ways?

Dwelling on this thought sent a cold shiver down my spine.

Get a grip, Melody!

I told myself, but the possibility of a darker fate freaked me out even more.

"Sono incazzato nero!" Mr. Valente barked.

I swallowed and stared at him blankly. It wasn't even my fault, but he decided to tell me off over the messed up order.

He continued to rant and rave, throwing his arms everywhere. I didn't even understand what he was saying, but his engorged face explained everything. There was no second chance for me. Repressed tears of frustration blocked my vocal cords. It was so unfair.

God, I can't afford to lose my job again! I shouted in my head.

"That's it! Am done with imbeciles! Ya better take you pay and leave," Mr. Valente growled.

"Mr. Valente, please." My voice broke. I was choking up, but I was not going to cry... Not going to cry! "It's not my fault. The customer forgot to say..."

"Cut the stronzate!" Mr. Valente interrupted with a loud Italian drawl, his index finger stabbing the air. "You fired, and you pay for the order!"

He left me shaking in the middle of the storage room and turned on his heels, stomping the floor with heavy-booted steps, his hands spreading out dominantly as he stormed out of the room. I waited until he disappeared, then my resistance dissolved all at once.

Hugging myself, I let all the restrained tears trickle down on the dirty floor. My breath was shallow as the sobs shook my body and my chest ached like dry ice.

It's not fair! Why? Why me? Every time I think I grasped something it slips away from my fingers. When is anything going to go right? What is wrong with me?

Feeling like I just got forty years older, I slumped down on a large storage box, shaking like an autumn leaf.

Why am I still sitting here? I should just suck it up and leave!

"Chica, are you okay?" a quiet voice murmured. I lifted my swollen eyes to meet the concerned expression of Lisa, the cleaning lady in Mr. Valente's restaurant, which I no longer worked in. "I'm sorry. I overheard," she said, holding her hands over her chest.

Lisa had been nice to me. She was a middle-aged Latina, who had five children waiting for her to bring food on the table - she was the motherly, overweight type. Too good for this job. Her brown eyes were kind and caring as she came closer, touching my shoulder. "What are you going to do?"

I shrugged, biting my lip. I had no clue. She must know how hard it was to find a job in New York City, with only a high school diploma and almost no skills to begin with. I was been lucky I had been hired twice before, but now it was all history.

What am I going to do? Is it time for the streets now?

An accidental sob escaped from me when I wasn't prepared. Lisa sighed and patted on my shoulder.

*****

Hi there

Salam.
Namaste.
Hello :)

This is my first attempt at writing a long story so I'm just testing things on here. Sorry the chapter is too short but I promise the chapters length will increase later and hopefully the whole story will look better after editing. I hope this works. God willing. Wish me luck :))

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