I walk aimlessly around the City streets, my gaze darting around in case I spot someone with a black and red uniform. I’ve nearly finished my two weeks practice and this morning Martin told me that I got the job, I should have been ecstatic to have this job at this place I’d learned to like so much in so little time. Only I wasn’t. I these last two weeks I’d come to realise that the money I provided wasn’t enough, with Bryan gone Geisha and I were the only ones that could pretend to bring money home. That is, if Geisha had a job, and she doesn’t seem to be able to leave her brother so soon after her father’s disappearance; which leaves me to be the only economic source to the house.
With the money I’d bring home we’d have just enough to afford food for the month, if we tightened our belts we’d have enough to pay for tap water but it didn’t get further than that. I’d learned since a young age to live without electricity so that wasn’t a problem; the problem was warm water and enough food. Clean and undamaged clothes were secondary, just as electricity and furniture. Money was the reason why so many families live together; the more people the more incomes and a better home.
I suppose it’s only a question of time before someone moves in, and overcrowded family, Bryan’s cousin and his three daughters along with his wife could come in too. But in the mean time I had to find money.
My feet are killing me; the broken soles of my shoes are flapping against the pavement and further hurting my feet. Sighting, I resign myself that I won’t find anything today and the best I could do is get back to Geisha and try helping her out. I have to take a larger detour in order to avoid the street in which I was assaulted two weeks ago; the thought provokes a shiver in the bottom of my back in spite of the warm summer air. I felt so humiliated when Kris’s brothers saved me, but at the moment I was too grateful to think about it, one of them must have told something about me to their brother because the next day Kris came over and asked me how I was doing. I spent last week a bit shocked, I jumped at every sound and always looked around me, too scared to meet one of the guards again; but I gradually relaxed until I’m back to my usual alert state without overdoing it.
Because of the detour, and after stopping to talk to Jaime’s boyfriend, by the time I arrive home it’s already dark. Sitting on the kitchen table is Geisha, the warm glow provided by the set of candles light up her Asiatic features and put in clear view just how tired she is.
“How was your day?” I ask, pulling a chair to sit next to her.
“Okay I guess, I searched the newspapers, see if anyone needed an extra worker. I’ve reduced the jobs down to two, you know, to coincide with Gill’s school hours.”
“That’s really good” I smile encouragingly.
“I suppose, tomorrow I’ll go have a look, see if they can take me in. With the two of us working things will go better” she smiles reassuringly at me although it’s clear as day she’s trying to encourage herself.
“Yeah, we’ll even be able to go on holidays one day” I joke, standing up, “I’m really tired, I’m…”
“Oh yes sorry I was keeping you. Good night” she kisses me on the cheek and stands up too, her thin figure retreats to where her brother lays. Carefully, she pulls the cover up and snuggles behind him, hiding in the darkness of the room.
I twist and turn under the thin sheet, careful to not wake up the two other people that are peacefully sleeping at the other side of the room. A ray of moonlight filters through the window, illuminating the centre of the room and I hear dogs barking further away. Guards’ dogs or just stray ones? I thought I’d heard footsteps run by a few minutes ago but they’re now gone, I can only hope that they made it safely to their home. Sighting, I stay glancing up at the white ceiling, stains of humidity have left yellow marks and the plaster is starting to come off at some places, but it stills offers protections against the rain.
I sometimes wonder what it would be like to like to live in the advantageous part, or somewhere else. One of the neighbours I used to have said some places are worse than here, some better but that in overall the world is a cruel place. I wouldn’t know, I’ve never left here, the City is the only thing I know, I don’t know what the exterior world is like. I was born here and without a doubt I’ll die here, it’s not like I could aspire to a better life. Did my parents ever leave this place? Is my mother somewhere better now or is she dead, just like my dad?
My life is such a rush that I have little time to think of my parents, of what life they had, on how they met and why they came here if there are better places. I was too little to understand much at the time my father died, barely five, and so he never answered any of my questions. Strange thing is that it wasn’t a guard who ended his life, it was a man he fought in a bar and who cracked his head open against a stool. We made a small funeral and I don’t remember my mother showing up. If she did she didn’t bother to ask me how I was keeping up. From what little information I could get she left my father when I was just past six months old and never came back. I wonder what kind of woman she was, was she passionate and courageous or a low-life coward? The more I think of it the more obvious it becomes that she must have been selfish or stupid. What kind of mother would leave her child, alone, in this savage world?
Did she have my chestnut curls? She must have, or maybe a lighter colour. One of the only memories I have of my father is a man with dark hair, nearly black, brown eyes and perfect white teeth laughing at something until tears fell down his cheeks to end into his strong jaw. Did that mean that I looked like my mother? Or was I a mixed of the two? Did her eyes have the same radiant green as mine? During years I’d hoped against hope that one day an older replica of me would step into whatever house I was staying at the time and cradle me in her arms. I’d hoped that my mother would come back for me, that she would tell me everything will be alright and that I could rely on her. It had taken me years to know that this day would never come.
I’d tried to rely this trust on someone else; at the time I just wanted someone to reassure me, to tell me that eventually everything would be alright. Things didn’t have to be okay all the time, but life shouldn’t be the constant fear most people live in. At fourteen, the first time I was abused I knew the world was cruel and that no-one was going to save me from this cruelty, I also discovered that if I wanted to survive I’d have to do it on my own. Those days, when I laid in bed, trying to recover from the shock I was in, I’d thought of my mother again and all those dreams I’d had as a little girl resurfaced; that this handsome woman with green eyes would be at the side of my bed when I woke up. It was difficult to keep the tears in every time I opened my eyes to a deception.
Eventually I’d grown into the strong and independent woman I was. I was still scared to death sometimes but now I was able to have control over my emotions, or so I tried to most of the time. Tears still escaped when someone I had cared deeply about was found dead or was taken to jail, but I was quick to wipe them out of the way so nobody could see how fragile I really was. You don’t survive in this world by being a happy eater bunny, you survive by being a hyena.
Ya know what? Double update today woohoo, to make up for this whole week without any news. So yeah, comment and vote hahaa tell me what you think about thiis xD
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Anastasia, 'Tasha' for everyone, is a suburb teenager at the City, worn clothes, matted hair and skinny she can easily pass unseen by the City guards and most of the population. Plan a future? No, she doesn't know what future is, her only preoccupat...