Sunday, November 13, 2011

That's Life: Week One

That’s Life
Short Story
Week One

Denise wasn’t born with a silver spoon in her mouth. She and her mother, Pamela, were all they had. Her mother wasn’t close with any of her family. When Pamela turned seventeen her father left them to start a new life. His new life consisted of a new wife and child. Pamela’s mother wasn’t able to bounce back from such a huge devastation and life changing event so she basically wasted away. When Pamela turned eighteen she knew it was her time to begin living. Unfortunately it seemed as though the only life she would have would consist of her being a mother to her child. The cycle continued with Pamela. A single mother to her child, Denise. Pamela worked for over twenty years in a small call center. This would be Denise’s last year in high school and she had no idea if she would even have the option to go to college because they simply could not afford it. “Good morning mom.” Denise walked into the small kitchen to join her mother.

Pamela sighed, “Good morning honey. Did you clean your room like I asked?”

“To the best of my ability mom,” Denise replied.

“Honey, we need to talk.”

“Um,” Denise hesitated. “Okay.” She sat down on the worn sofa.

“Things are taking a turn for the worst honey. I just don’t have the money to keep the house.
We’re going to move to an apartment.”

 Denise sat with her mouth open. “Mom, are you serious? Are things this bad,” she asked.

“Honey, you know my hours have been cut drastically. I've tried to look for another job but no one is hiring right now.”

“When do we have to move?” Denise frowned.

“As soon as I find us a place.” Pamela grabbed her car keys. "Come on, let's get you to school baby girl." She rolled her eyes at the engine stalling once again.

“Mom, I'll just walk to school today.” Denise grabbed her back pack.

“Good,” Pamela replied. “Looks like I'll be catching the bus for work today.”

Denise stepped out of the car and slammed the squeaking door. She sat her small backpack onto the oil stained driveway and adjusted her shoe strings. Denise wiped the tears from her eyes to begin her journey to school. She rolled her eyes from the sounds of the early morning police sirens as she walked through her rough neighborhood. “I hate this,” she spoke out loud.

“What’s up Shorty,” one of the local thugs on the corner screamed. “Why don’t you put them books down and come kick it with me.” He yelled and grabbed what he thought was his manhood.

“Kick rocks,” Denise screamed and continued her pace. Denise hated to walk in her neighborhood. No matter the time, day or night, she encountered pure ignorance. Denise stopped at a local corner store to buy a soda. “Excuse me,” she said to an older woman hurrying into the store next to her through the double glass doors. “Man, people are so rude.”

“Excuse me young lady,” the older woman replied to Denise’s wise comment.

“You saw me going through the door first,” Denise replied with an eye roll.

“Listen little girl. I have a one year old shitting everywhere. I’m sorry if my being in a rush bothers you,” she replied and glanced at her watch. “How old are you anyways.” She grabbed a large bulk of pampers from the shelf.”

“Seventeen,” Denise replied.

“Aren’t you late for school," the woman asked.

“Why do you care,” Denise snapped.

“You have a smart mouth.” The lady passed the clerk a wad of money to pay for her items.

“Sorry, I just have a lot on my mind.”

What could you possibly have on your mind at seventeen? You’re not pregnant are you?”

“No,” Denise replied. “I’m a virgin, thank you very much.”

“Well, well, well,” the lady replied. “Maybe I judged you wrong. Come on, where is your school?”

“A couple of blocks over, why,” Denise asked.

“I’m taking you to school. You have no business wondering around these streets. You seem like a smart girl. Let me take you to school.”

Denise shook her head and grabbed her change from the counter to follow the considerate patron out of the store. 

The lady disarmed her alarm and entered a small red sports car. “Get in,” she said. “It’s open.”

“This is a nice car,” Denise said. 

“Thanks,” she replied. “What’s your name kid?” She pulled away from the store.

“Denise,” she replied. “And yours.”

“Bridgette.” She turned the corner to enter the school parking lot. “I’m going to give you my phone number. Call me when you get out of school. I want to keep in contact with you.”

“Why,” Denise asked.

“Because I think you’re a young lady who could use a break,” she replied. “Call me.” 

Denise shook her head and closed the car door and walked into the school. That was a weird experience for her. She’d never met anyone who cared other than her mother. Denise didn’t have any other family beyond Pamela. Her father passed away when she was born. He was murdered going to the store one night. Her father’s parents passed away five years ago in a horrible car accident. Pamela’s mom had been placed in a nursing home years ago and Denise never met her grandfather. So, it’s been the two of them against the world for some time now. However, the world was kicking their behinds. Denise opened the door and tried sneak to her desk while her teacher was writing on the chalk board. “You’re late Ms. Hunter. You know what that means,” she announced.

“I have detention.” Denise replied.

“Correct.” The teacher pointed.

Denise rolled her eyes and pulled her book out to catch up with the rest of her class. “Where were you,” her friend Keisha whispered.

“Ms. Wiley, would you like to join your friend after school?”

“No Mrs. Winter.” Her friend hurried and scribbled the notes from the board into her spiral.

“Well, I suggest you hold your conversation for after class.”

“Yes, Mrs. Winter.” Keisha didn’t dare test Mrs. Winter. She was very hard on her students but only because she demanded the best out of them. Mrs. Winter knew what people thought of her students but she knew they were capable of becoming more than what many people would expect out of them. Keisha and Denise never spoke another word in fear of what would happen if they did. Denise couldn’t wait for the day to end. She just wanted to get out of school and find out what her mother was planning. Everything that came out of her teacher’s mouth today was blah, blah, blah.

Denise sat in detention and finished her homework. It was a good thing her mother worked overtime so she wouldn’t get into more trouble about her tardiness coming home. Once she was finally released from detention she practically ran home to do her chores and relax for the remainder of the evening. Denise sat on the porch with the phone in her hand contemplating if she wanted to call Bridgette. Finally she gave into that feeling and dialed the phone number scribbled on the torn piece of paper. “Hello,” Bridgette answered.

“Hi, I met you at the store today. This is Denise.”

“Oh hello Denise, I was wondering if you would call me. How was school today?”

“I got detention because I was late.”

“Serves you right,” Bridgette replied. “Denise, I gave you my phone number because I know how hard it is to grow up in a neighborhood like this. I’ve been your age and I know how some things can be tempting. When I saw you at the store that time of morning with your backpack I could tell you had no business being out at that time of day.”

“I was going to school.”

“You should have been at school. But, I believe in divine power and there was a reason we crossed paths today. Are your parents in your life,” Bridgette asked.

“My dad was killed when I was a baby. I live with my mom though. She used to work a lot so I didn't get to spend much time with her until her hours got cut.”

“Well, I live close by. When your mother has to work late you’re welcomed to come over for dinner.”

“Why are you being so nice to me,” Denise asked.

“I’m a youth counselor, so I know a good kid when I see one.”

“How do you know if I’m a good kid? You just met me.” Denise looked around and noticed her tall friend walking up the broken sidewalk. She and Derrick had been best friends since they were three years old. He knew everything about her and in return she knew all his secrets.

“I can tell you are a good kid because you’re still in school. You told me you were a virgin at seventeen. That alone means you have some type of desire to do something other than have babies and live off the government.”

“That’s true,” Denise replied. “Well, my friend is here. I’ll call you tomorrow.”

“Make sure you call me.” Bridgette replied. "There is something I'd like to offer you."

“ Sure, I will." Denise ended the call. 

“What’s up Shorty?”Derrick sat on the porch.

“Nothing, just thinking,” she replied.

“What are you thinking about?”

“I’m wondering where me and my mom are going to live soon,” she replied.

Derrick looked at Denise. “What are you talking about?”

“My mom can’t afford this house anymore. We will be moving as soon as she gets us another place. She said something about an apartment. I don't know what we're going to do.”

“I can’t believe this. We been friends since we were little and if you move who am I going to kick it with,” Derrick asked.

“We can still talk on the phone.”

“That's not the same.” Derrick paced the large porch.

“Do you think I want to move,” Denise screamed. She glanced at the time. "Mom's going to be home soon. You have to get out of here. You know she's still made at you for helping sneak out." Denise hugged her best friend and sent him on his way seconds before Pamela arrived home.

“Hi honey.” Pamela kissed her daughter. “How was your day?” She held the glass storm door open as she and Denise entered the house. 

“It was okay,” she answered. “So, mom where were you thinking of moving us to,” she asked eagerly.

“I don’t have the slightest idea. We still have a lot of time honey. I can pay the mortgage this month but I just told you that because it’s getting harder and harder.” Pamela sat in the recliner and kicked off her shoes to relax.

“Mom, I don’t want to move. I’ll never see Derrick again.” 

“Honey, I don’t want to move either but we have to do what’s best for us and besides, I think it would do you some good to get a little distance between you and that boy. I'm still pissed at you for sneaking out the house. You have never pulled that type of stunt with me,” Pamela ranted.

“He's not that bad mom but is there anything else you can do so we can stay here?”

“Trust me Denise baby. I’ve tried everything. This is where your dad and I had you. But, what can I do. My hands are tied. I feel like such a failure with you.”

“Why would you feel that way,” Denise asked.

“You shouldn’t have to be uprooted because of me. I should be able to provide for you honey.”

“Mom, you’re in nursing school. Do you think you can hold on until you’re done? I want to graduate from high school with my friends. May is right around the corner.”     

“I will do the best I can but I can't make you any promises baby girl." Pamela stood. "I guess I better get dinner started.”

1 comment:

  1. I can't wait for this story to unfold...thank you for giving me an escape each week lol


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