A Broken Past

Submitted into Contest #42 in response to: Write a story that ends in the past.... view prompt



Tired, fed-up, and depressed, Sarah is sitting head down between her knees, on the couch. She is imagining deeply a way out of the current bleak situation.

It has now been almost two months without a job, sitting idle, watching seasons, and working on her novelette. Sometimes, in the evenings she make her way in a park or checks in a rustic-style coffee shop located at a highland with a small stream of water flowing by its side.

She is immensely broken from inside. Nothing ever preceding it had let her succumb to this extent in her life. Even the harshest blow of the fate which changed her life so radically had not made her this vulnerable.

The meager farewell cheque with which she was sent home from the last job is now only the means to pass the days with. Now, that too is running short even to meet her daily grocery expenses.

Apart from this paltry sum, Sarah doesn’t have a penny. Owed to her former lavish life style which was backed by the manager’s designation she held at a leading journalist agency, she seldom puts a dime into safe.

Following the tragedy at the journalist agency, she has switched from several low-paying jobs. Recently, she was working in a local library where she assisted the librarian to have book counts and registering the daily ins and outs. It was quite a boring job, but she had to make her living from it anyhow. But, due to a sudden financial stress the library-authority made her redundant.

She tried to land on several jobs subsequent to the library work, but unfortunately she got turned down at each attempt.

Her landlord is a sullen person, who has told her to set off the outstanding rent within the first week of the coming month. A rent of one month is already pending which is going to get doubled after few more days.

If it were not for the rent, she would fare another month even without a job. But, the rent is due and looming like an unsheathed sword, and she doesn’t have any other place to live except with the homeless persons on the pavements.

She is afraid, for the previous tenant was forced to vacate the flat for not submitting the rent on time, as he had taken three months to set off the debt. There are always people available to book the flats or rental apartments due to heavy migration in the cities. It is for this reason, the landlord is nonchalant towards the tenants.

Her thinking is deep, even at times she lose thread while doing domestic chores. Oftentimes, by mistake, Sarah puts sugar in a curry or salt in coffee. By the way, she is not at all times only busy burdening her mind with the gloom, but she is trying to crack her first ever novelette. She has done with the scheme of the story, and have developed its all theme. Basically, Sarah decided to write about her own life as an independent struggling woman.

She thinks that it might be a source of inspiration for other women out there who fear to live their own lives.

Sarah’s life is laden with travails from the inception. In the early days of her life, her fractious father always had chaotic spells of quarrels with her mother. He always came late at nights, often boozed off. He held no respect for her mother, even being the only child, her father bore no warmth for Sarah.

Her father had basically some extra marital affairs, and he wanted to marry a younger girl; probably he was hanging out with that girl in those last days before parting with Sarah and her mother.

Sarah had tasted the bitter truth of a male dominated hatred for dependent women. Since the very early days of her childhood, she had developed an instinct that men are always cruel to women, so she is needed to make a way sans male element in her life.

On a fateful day, the younger girl with whom her father was dating, accompanies him to their home. Sarah has vivid memory of the horrific encounter of both of her parents. Her mother protests and yells and say strong words to make him realize, but nothing can move him.

In the heat of a bitter verbal squabble, father just breaks a bear bottle on her mother’s head, leaving her head to bleed, and she soon fell unconscious on the floor. Poor Sarah, scared of the horrendous scene screams and clings to her mother.

Her father, somehow did that last kindness to get her mother to the hospital where they formally resolved their separation, however, it was utterly the wish of her father.

As soon as they had they say on their separation, father so swiftly left them even without saying a good bye to Sarah.

Few days spending at the hospital, they were discharged and sent home which was nowhere now.

They had literally nowhere to live. For almost a month they wandered sleeping with the homeless people, changing places. Fortunately enough, her mother got a work at a laundry station where they were provided an accommodation as well, in an utterly shabby room. They even had to use a common bathroom with other employees over there, who were mostly not living in the work station.

There in the stinking environment, they spent almost three years. Although the atmosphere was humid and smelled bad, but at least they were safe there.

One day, her supervisor suggested her to consider a same job at a facility center for homeless children. ‘It is a lot more amenable there. Plus, your daughter will fare better over there. She will have better company. And to your goodness, they offer more than what you get here now.’ The supervisor effused so sympathetically.

Her mother decided at last to leave that place which had been more than a blessing in their rainy days. Although she was reluctant to make her move, thinking for the betterment of her daughter she leaves the station. Everyone at the station said their farewell to them with kind and warm wishes.

When they arrived at the center, they heard only loud and mixed commotion of noises, totally incomprehensible. All the children at the center were blabbing to each other. When they entered the office, they found out that it was break time. So, they all were set free to run amok. It was a usual rule to set them free to act on their own for an hour on a daily basis.

Anyhow, the chief operator had some questions with Sarah’s mother and subsequently ordered a peon to lead them to their room. Sarah was taken aback when she saw the room was clean and well managed. Though there was not a single piece of extra decoration, but still coming from the slum like place, it was more than cozy for them.

They settled there and lived quite a comfortable life, until one fateful day when Sarah was now sixteen, her mother passed away. She was so immersed in the amiable atmosphere and the friends and the staff too were compassionate to each other. Their presence and warmth of the connection didn’t make her feel lonely.

Sarah continued to live there until she turned eighteen. She was fortunate enough to learn writing skills from a new office assistant who worked there and wrote stories and articles as well. The office assistant had arrived a year before her mother’s death. She keenly learned everything there was to learn in those three years and had developed sharp writing skills. Before leaving the facility center she had become quite adept at spinning stories and writing appealing articles.

Now that the month end was approaching, few days were left, then the notice period was going to start at the start of the month. She is now scared and the reminiscence of homelessness once again has started to give goosebumps.

Sarah has one temporary way out in her mind. The coffee shop where she frequented has a vacant position for a cashier. She had an informal conversation with the manager who suggested that she could work if need arises.

It is likely that she may opt the option which he had in mind as a last resort.

On a fine evening she embarks to visit the coffee shop. On her way to the shop, she prays between hope and fear for her success in securing the job. Figuring out what to say to the manager whose offer she had previously not entertained. Now what could be his attitude is not certain.

Framing different possible scenarios she finally made it to the shop where considerable number of people as usual were present enjoying their custom and offered coffees with snacks and other edibles.

The coffee shop offers a serene and cozy environment to its customer, in addition, it offers secluded working spaces where people from different walks of life come to work in an enjoyable space.

Often, group of intellectual groups gather there to have their talks in that serene environment.

‘Hello sir. Hope you are doing good. ’Sarah greeted Bob as she reached the reception area which was placed at a separate space inside the shop.

‘Hey. Welcome dear. Long time no see. Were you alright?’ Bob rejoined her promptly. ‘Oh I was not quite well, plus busy in writing my novelette.’ Sarah responded.

‘Oh well. I thought you’d found a job.’ ‘No Sir. I have not been able to secure one till now. That’s why I came here to reconsider your offer.’ Sarah made her point diligently. ‘Well you are lucky enough girl. We still have the position vacant. I say, you just join us presently, from right now.’ Bob was casual in his remarks. ‘I am more than thankful on your kindness. I would have started happily from today, but I am tired. I would like to spend this time as a customer.’ Sarah responded to Bob in a thankful manner.

From the day next, Sarah happily joined the coffee team as their new cashier and she was now safe and not scared anymore of getting to lose the flat by force.

She also worked on her novelette and kept a good reputation at work as well. Her novelette was almost complete when a publishing agency held a meeting with writers, authors, and poets at the coffee shop. She was excited to be a part of management to hold the meeting of intellectuals. Even more joyful element was that her manager Bob had promised to introduce her with some of the publishing bosses and would recommend her work for their agencies.

Anyhow, finally, the most awaited day approached and all the staff were busy setting things at their designated places. A unique cuisine was being made along with their top of the line coffee options.

Till the day of the meeting Sarah had her novelette completed. She had also brought a copy of work with her that day in case of a meeting and possible exhibition before the publishers.

When the meeting was over, Bob politely announced in a very proud way about Sarah’s work. Upon hearing Bob all the gentlemen demanded Sarah to pronounce her work and read some pages to have an overview.

It was not less than a miracle for Sarah, the same time, she had pretty much confidence on her work because her subject was powerful and appealing to the popular sentiments of society.

When she barely read three pages, there was applaud and clapping from every side of the coffee shop. Upon seeing such an amazing response, she couldn’t hold her tears and they rolled down her cheeks, but this time they were coming out of happiness after such a long time in her life.

One of the leading publishers came forward to have a deal with Sarah. He was amazed at her marvelous work.

It was a life time achievement for her after a lifelong chapters of depressing episodes.

Even the male counterparts, at the journalist agency where she held the manager’s position, had hatched a very mean conspiracy against her, alleging that he was involved with some corrupt politicians in hiding their crimes and disguising their actions in news. This provided the agency authority with a contrived solid evidence to fire her with red remarks. After this incidence she could not land a decent paying job.

May 22, 2020 14:20

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