page 21

As soon as my alarm pulled me from my sleep I got up and set about cleaning up my apartment which (believe you me) was pretty hard despite how tiny it was.

There was my bedroom (literally my twin bed in one corner and my closet in the wall opposite, the attached bathroom (which was only a bit bigger than my closet) and the dining room/living room/kitchen. 

The walls were white throughout, the floors were that cheap standard white tile and the furniture (as little as there was) was literally the kind that you got from yard sales. The appliances had a knack for acting up, but it had taught me a thing or to about plumbing and wiring. 

Not exactly posh living, but I could stand it. As soon as I'd finished I showered, made myself an omelette and headed to the Internet café down the street.

No, I did not happen to have my own laptop or Internet services. Even though I was in the 21st century. Yes, I was living in the Stone Age, and no I was not Amish. 

During my browsing time I started my job hunt, sending out my resumé to as many places as I could. I resisted the urge to order a coffee, telling myself it would be cheaper at my place.

It can be pretty annoying having a tight budget. 

When I was finished I handed the clerk my four dollars, walking away before I could be wheedled into buying anything else.

They weren't hiring, unfortunately. I'd checked, and it looked like I wasn't going to be getting any free Internet any time soon. 

With my education, I was more likely to end up flipping burgers or waitressing. Not that I didn't have experience with both.

Times had been tough when I was a kid too. As soon as I could pass off as remotely past underage I was working menial jobs, at one time three different jobs and school.

I paid the bills. I put groceries in the fridge and food on the table. My dad never let me forget it either. He'd rather I hand him the money for him to go get drunk.

That was what he did with any money my mom brought into the household. We both got beat up anyways, so I didn't see why she let him get away with it. 

School was hard, but I managed to pass somehow. I was bullied a bit for my clothes always being the same and the fact that I never went on any field trips (I couldn't afford it) but I learned how to be tough. I learned how to push the privileged brats away from me. 

My aunt (from my mother's side, obviously) tried to help, but any money she sent for the purpose of my schooling or living would end up in my dad's hands. Instead she paid for ballet lessons, to try and give me some semblance of a normal childhood. She picked me up and dropped me off, came to watch my recitals. 

When she died my world fell apart. I had just graduated, and I left home that day, pulling together all of my savings and going to Chicago. 

Forward a couple years later, and you find me on my job hunt, wondering if I would get better wages as an adult. I was living alone and living sparingly, so it wouldn't be difficult to pay the hospital bills and still stay in the black.

Or at least, that was what I hoped. 

The End

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