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Rated: E · Non-fiction · Adult · #2310639
A young woman reflects on what brings her joy in the darkest days.
         The bus rolled to a slightly screeching halt at the stop nestled in front of a department store. After thanking the driver, Rose exited through the door, tightening the straps of her backpack for the long walk home. Today, the streets were bustling with noise all around; cars swore at each other through honks and beeps while lines of pedestrians crossed the walkways to unknown destinations throughout the city. To a newcomer, the air of busyness would be enough convincing to not waste time wandering about or seeing all the sights.

         For Rose however, this was yet another day of despair. Today was her final day at her job after she sent a verbal immediate notice to the head chef and manager-on-duty. It just seemed that no matter where she chose to work, the same issues would follow her. The taunts and jeering from the co-workers about how “weird” she was, the lack of support from management when she spoke about the issue, the crippling anxiety and paranoia that would follow soon after…

         Tears sprung to her eyes and she paused to wipe them away with the sleeve of her plain black jacket. It was all too much. All she wanted to do was work silently, get her paycheck and go home knowing that she could survive another day in this harsh world. Yet nearly every experience left her with the same circulating questions in her mind.

What was wrong with her?

What did she do to piss off the people she rarely spoke to at work?

Was she really as “crazy” or “insane” as the others claimed?

Why couldn’t they accept that she was different than them?

More importantly, why does this problem follow her at nearly every place that she worked?

It made no sense. At least to her.

         Luckily the job offered direct deposit so she didn’t have to make the journey back over to face the jerks just to get her final paycheck. But there were bigger problems. The rent for the room she stayed in was due soon and her current stash of money wasn’t enough to fulfill the payment. The last thing she needed right now was to be thrown out on the streets to fend for shelter, food, money and another basic needs.

         Plus, Cookie, her beloved Chiweenie, needed more dog food as hers was running out. Rose smiled at the thought of her companion. Cookie was a rescue, a survivor of a raided puppy mill. Rose could still remember the horrible state the poor dog was in when she decided to visit the only animal shelter she knew in the city. Emaciated, malnourished, fearful of anyone that would even so much as glance at her. Even the workers there admitted that Cookie would take tons of patience and love to return her back to normal after what the previous owner did to her.

         But that didn’t stop Rose from throwing down the money for the adoption fee, filling out the paperwork and bringing Cookie back to the rented room she lived in. From then on, both of them had an inseparable bond only animal lovers would understand. Rose cared for her as if she was a child and made sure to give her the support that she struggled to find in her world. Anything from park visits to weekly morning walks under the towers of glass and concrete, Rose made sure Cookie was the one light in her darkest days, even if the little creature couldn’t understand what she said most of the time.

         Her favorite pet store was open today and she had just enough to buy a small bag of food for Cookie. Even if it lasted only three days, it was good enough for her. Turning the corner at an intersection, Rose spotted the pet store with the OPEN sign hung lopsided against the entrance. The door soon burst open and a mother rushed out, dragging a little girl behind her. A red balloon’s string hung loosely in the girl’s fingers as she tried to wiggle out of her mother’s grip.

         “No, mommy! I don’t wanna gooo! I want to see the fishies again!” The girl wailed. The mother, however, wasn’t having any of it and with one harsh tug, her child was yanked towards the direction she stormed off to. The red balloon’s string slipped from the girl’s fingers and floated higher into the sky, between two towering buildings.

         Rose stared at the object floating away and felt the same sadness hit her once more. Just like the child losing her balloon, her chance of having a stable life seemed so out of reach. Unable to hold on to, unable to maintain. It kept floating away from her, no matter how hard she chased it…

         Tears filled her eyes again, but she hastily wiped them away. There was no time for grieving now. That could wait until she was home. Cookie needed more food and there were other things to focus on. She moved towards the entrance door and pulled it open, sounding the obscured bell from above. Time to grab Cookie’s beloved food and head home to recover.
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