Survivors of the Z’s- Rhonda Gedling, New York, Hamsford
It was tiresome. As always. Never ceased to change in anyway.
Hadn’t gotten any easier. I’ve struggled in life. Always have. Always will. I’m a single woman in her early thirties. Thirty two to be exact if you were interested. No children. My childhood wasn’t really easy either. My family have never been ones for great jobs and great wages. None of us were smart enough to get that. But we were
We respected life and what it had given us. I wasn’t given the easiest of lives. I’ve been homeless four times. Witnessed my brother get shot outside our house when I was ten all because of some petty cash he owed to some local drug guy. I also witnessed my sister get raped by her ex boyfriend when I was twelve. She was seventeen.
Not an easy life. But, you just get on with it. Get free of trouble and rule your own kingdom.
To keep my Kingdom afloat. I worked three jobs. Three cleaning jobs. I wanted a fourth but I was struggling to find one. So I had to stick with the three in the time being. I worked my guts off from early hours at half six in the morning to eight in the evening.
Absolutely gagging for energy at the end of the day. But I had to carry on. That’s how life goes. First stop was the factory which was three bus journeys away. I had a few people that I knew there. People that I had grown fond of. I didn’t tend to trust easily so keeping my distance seemed natural. But they had grown on me.
She was a young girl. At twenty years she had seen quite a bit in her life too. Like me. A bright sky we had to paint ourselves. We were happy girls and then there was
The oldest of us all. Fifty. Stern but knew how to crack a joke. We all got along majorly which helped me through the tiresome day. The next job I had after that was at McKings. A fast food chain. I was always on standby to clean some shit up and always up for the task to serve the customers. The last job was at a shopping mall and that was that. All jobs a decent wage and they kept my heart going. That’s all you need with sprinkles of laughter along the way.
I blew out. Closed the door and the sound of it echoed across the hall. Chucked my shoes off and watched them travel along the hall and ripped everything else off. A nice hot bath had to be on the agenda. It just had to be. My aching bones screamed and I had to listen. Heal them. For the morning after.
“You’re getting old Rhonda”
I strolled around naked for awhile.
That was the best thing about living alone. You could do anything you want without anybody having any objections. I looked in the mirror. Stared. Felt my skin and turned so my butt showed sideways.
“Still got it,” I said, “still looking good”
I puffed out. Feeling tender, like I was going to drop at any minute.
“You miss, need a holiday”
One thing about having a bath is waiting around for it. I wanted one. I wanted one now. I listened to it run as I sat beside the tub.
Why did the hot tap have to run slower than the cold?
I was nearly dropping, “Finally,” I said
It was done.
I pushed my arm through the water to mix in the cold and the hot. The temperature was spot on and my body cried out for some TLC. One leg over.
The second leg over
I eased my body in and felt the scorch wrap around me. I could do nothing but smile and let the world outside.
“You deserve this girl”
The room was then shrouded by darkness. My eyesight suddenly blackened and the world was no more
The dream was good. The dream was great.
One of those where you didn’t want it to end. My life was different.
My life was a whole new meaning. I had a husband. Kids. A large family around the table on a Christmas evening. Everything was just spot on. The house was large and my husband was buff. A big sexy man. It couldn’t get any better than that. It was so good I thought it was real. Until…
BANG! BANG! BANG!
I woke, “What the…”
The voice was panicky. Startled. I jumped out of the tub and walked through the steam. Wafting it away. I grabbed a towel. Two towels. Opened the door and hurried, curiously, toward the door. I looked.
I unlocked the door and she scurried through, “Elaine?”
She wandered off into my small- basic- living room and switched on my small- basic- TV.
“Have you seen the news?” She asked
She was concerned.
My heart was now racing too. Relaxation gone.
“What’re you on about… what’s wrong?”
The news was now on. Visible to my eyes and what I saw was nothing short of a nightmare.
SECOND TO NONE.
“Oh my god,” I said