Kimberly Barroso never told anyone about her life, for it was the one thing which she kept hidden from everyone around her. In her mind she really did not think that what she did outside the company of family and friends was any interest to them. So she would find herself in utter solitude most of the time, escaping into the world of the paintings which she would create. Images that sometimes were so disturbing, no one would truly understand it. Still, she did not care about it, for it was the only thing that made her truly happy right then. The ones she would show was the happy and deep images which she knew that people would except and maybe even want to buy from her. Calling her a brilliant artist. But the thing was that she really did not feel that way. For in her mind a true artist was someone who was able to show everything that they felt and believed, without fear of what people would think. And fear was the one thing that she found herself unable to do, for the last thing that she needed was to be called crazy. Even though most of the time she found herself calling herself that. Saying it to her friends and even her boyfriend, but always saying it in a humorous tone. So that way no one would know that she was really telling the truth. Just like she would always say that she was going to die soon and that she knew that too well. Kimberly figured the way that she was acting was normal for an artist. Since they were always emotional and that was why their work always ended up making such great work. And to her she was the living example to the neurosis of a troubled mind. Which of course she always kept it deep inside of her, believing that if she were to forget about it, it would go away. And most of the time, it would work for her. Yet, something told her that it would just build up till finally she would just explode and Lord knows what she would do when it would happen.
For the last three years since she had graduated from art school, she had been working three jobs, just to pay the rent of her small one bedroom apartment, and the other bills which she would have. Let alone with trying to pay off the school loans which she had accumulated. Not only the stress of those three jobs burdened her, but also trying to find time to be with her boyfriend. Which was close to impossible. Even though Stan Crafton, her boyfriend had suggested he move in with her, she refused it. Mainly because she had came from a large family and growing up she never had privacy. And now that she was living on her own, she wanted that privacy, not worrying if something that she would do would offend someone. No, she loved having her own place, where she could walk around in her underwear if she wanted too. Even though that was something that she never did, because she always feared that someone would be able to see her through the window. Giving her a peep show without her even know she was doing it. But she loved that she had her own privacy. No having her mother say that she had to babysit or try and give her advice on what she was suppose to do with her life. No sister creating a scene because she was not getting what she wanted from the family. None of that, just utter silence, which was beautiful for her. Of course most of the time she would only get the chance to enjoy it when she would come home and go to sleep for a few hours before she had to go to her other job. But this was the life that she had chosen. The only thing that she regretted was that she did not have any time to do her artwork any more. For the bills had to paid, and her paintings were not going to do that yet, if ever.
Kimberly worked at a fast food Mexican restaurant, at the bakery department at a grocery store and as an assistant at a art gallery. The art gallery she loved, for it was toward her degree that she had. The only thing was, even though the people she worked with knew that she was an artist, they never even gave her a thought about giving her a chance. For her employer was looking for the big names in the art world and also those who they knew would make an impact with the normal clientele that came to all the shows. So she was stuck dealing with shipping orders, hiring the caterers for the showing and serve the wine to the people who would show up at the new clients shows. In her mind she would always think that some day it would be her turn. That she would be the one that would be the center of attention, wearing the elegant dress and having people give her such wonderful compliments about her work. The only compliments that she would get would be from her employer of how beautiful she would look and that she was doing a great job. But she found herself wanting more than that. Of course, how could they give her a show when she did not have any new work
to show? That was the one thing that bothered her more than anything.
"Ms. Barroso, make sure that the caterers bring enough champagne for next weeks showing. I know that we are going to have a great turn out and it would be embarrassment if we ran out." her manager said.
"Yes Mrs. Montague, I will make sure of it." Kimberly said and then was hesitant for a moment. " Mrs. Montague, I was wondering if you have given a thought to my request that I have talked to you about?"
Latina Montague was an elegant woman with a slender frame which made the dresses she wore makes her look like a model, as her long black hair was always perfect. The true image of high societies idea of a perfect woman. She looked at Kimberly with a disappointed expression on her face and even though she did not say a word, Kimberly could tell what it would be that she would tell her. And yet she had to hear it though, just to know what it could be that she would tell her. And for a moment she felt as if her heart was going to stop and a strange pain started to surge in her chest and ovaries for some reason. It was nothing that really worried her, for she has had these pains for the last five years and after a while just got use to it.
"Kimberly...can I call you Kimberly?" Mrs. Montague asked politely.
"Yes....of course." she said nervously.
"Kimberly....like I had told you before. The work that you had done three years ago is brilliant. But I would need something more new to even think of considering to give you a show. Have you done any other paintings within the last three years since you have graduated?" Mrs. Montague asked in a kind voice.
"No....no I have not found the time to do any of them." she said in a defeated tone.
"I am sorry, Kimberly. When you get new artwork done then I will look at it and give you a honest opinion on it. But if all you have is the old schoolwork that you are passing off as your new work, it would be a waist of my time. I am sorry. You can understand my position on this?" Mrs. Montague said as her hand touched the side of her arm.
Kimberly knew that she was right, for even if she had let her have a show with her old work, what would happen if they wanted more, something new? She would not be able to do it, because of the fact that she was working so much that she hardly had time for a good night sleep, let alone to create some new work. She smiled at Mrs. Montague as if she understood what she was trying to get across and turned and went back to the work that she had to do. As she did, she could feel the sorrow and frustration absorbing her like a mist. In her mind she wondered if she would ever get her chance that she would get, if there would be a chance that she could make a name for herself. But right now the only thing she had to show for herself within the past three years, was her apartment and how she struggled to pay all her bills and survive. No new paintings....nothing to even brag about.... even her relationship with Stan she could not say anything about. Because the last time that she had seen him was a month ago, when he had convinced her to let him spend the night with her. Which of course they ended up having sex, which was the one thing that he had hoped would happen. And Kimberly knew that it would probably be about two more months before she would be able to see him again. In a way it was alright with her, because she was always busy, so she never had time to sit and think about how she missed him. And that was the one thing that scared her the most.
"You should have known she was going to say that. You have not done anything new in the last three years, So how would Mrs. Montague really consider to take you seriously." a voice echoed in her head.
Kimberly knew that was the truth, for she always boasted to her friends that she would be a serious artist, and yet she had not had the chance to do it. For the threat of being homeless and starving was something that she refused to let happen to her. She guessed that was why there was always that label put on people like her. The starving artist. Yet that was not the way that she wanted to be. She wanted to have the chance to make it in the art work and still be able to survive while she was trying. Before she had moved away from her family, she had the whole thing planned. And in her mind it seemed like it would really work at the time. Of course, reality had its way of showing her how truly difficult it is out on her own. Even though she was surviving, there were a couple times she was ready to give up and just move back with her parents. Willing to put up with hearing them tell her that they were right and that she should have listened to her.
As she sat at her desk she suddenly had a nauseating feeling come over her to the point where she felt that she was going to be sick. Instantly she ran to the bathroom and sure enough she found herself throwing up in the toilet. Kimberly had no idea why that had happened and it started to worry her. Normally she would have said that it was because of something that she ate, but that was not the case now. Because she had not eaten anything since she got here. She went over to the sink and then looked at herself in the mirror. A few strands of her long amber hair fell in front of her face as she tried to calm herself down. The only thing that she was hoping for was that no one had seen her race to the bathroom or heard her being sick. That was the one thing that she knew she would never be able to live down.
"Kimberly, are you alright?" Mrs. Montague's voice called out from outside the door.
"Yes....Yes....must have been something I ate." she responded.
She walked out after she made herself presentable, hoping that Mrs. Montague would not make a big deal out of this. Which of course, Kimberly knew that she would. For it would really be uncalled for to have an employee at a gallery to be doing something like that. She had no idea what she was going to say, but she knew that there was no way that she could avoid it. When she walked out of the bathroom, Mrs. Montague was standing there, looking at her with a concerned expression on her face.
"Kimberly, I think you should see someone about that. I know a doctor that you can go to and do not worry about the money, the gallery with take care of the bill." she said in a kind voice.
Kimberly was not sure if she really wanted to see someone about this, for she feared that it would be the worse for her. Still, if she didn't, then Mrs. Montague would force her to. And since she was going to pick up the bill, she figured it would not hurt to see if there was something wrong. She agreed in an almost shy tone as a faint smile appeared on her lips. It was then that Mrs. Montague told her after the doctor she could go home and get some rest. Words that she never thought she would ever hear from any of the three employers she worked for. Without thinking she said she shouldn't since she had so much to do at the gallery.
"Don't be silly, your health is more important. And anyway, I could get someone else to cover for you while you are recovering. Now go, before you go into another episode like you had in there." Mrs. Montague said.
Kimberly had gotten back to her apartment a couple hours later, and sat in her living room in silence. Her elbows rested on her knees, hands covering her face as she felt her body shivering in fear. For a moment she just sat there, acting as if she did not know what it was she was suppose to do. Her hands lowered from her face as she looked over at a table against the wall where the phone was. Next to it was the answering machine, the light flashing showing that there was a message left on it.
"What else could go wrong?" she said to herself as she stood up and made her way to it.
When she pushed the button to play it, she heard the sound of Stan's voice on it. The one voice which she knew that she really needed to hear right now. His voice seemed shaky, almost nervous about something which made her nervous in a way as well.
"Kimberly....it's Stan. I...uh....I hope that you are alright. There is something that I need to tell you and I wished that I could tell you in person. But you are always working and I never have a chance to get a hold of you." his voice said and then hesitated for a moment. "And because of the fact that we can not be together as much I want us to be.....I have come to this decision. I think that we should break up....I mean we really don't have a relationship anymore because we are never able to be together. I think it is just fair for both of us. Don't try to call me....because I am not going to answer. I need time to get over this and get my life together."
Kimberly stood there in disbelief of what she was hearing. Out of everyone that she knew, she always thought that Stan would be the one who would always be there for her. That would love her and patient and believe in what she was doing. Now she had nothing to really believe in any more. Her dream of becoming an artist was now slipping away from her, she still had to endure three jobs just to keep herself from being on the streets, the man that she loved now left her, and the only thing that she had to remember him by was the child which she discovered was growing within her womb. She had no idea what she was going to do. For she knew that there would come a time when she would not be able to work and then what would she do to survive. And what other man would want her, when they discovered that she had a child from some other man. Stan's child. She wanted to call him, to hear his voice and tell him about it. Because she knew that he had a right to know about it. But in doing so, she would ruin his life as well as hers. The pain surged through her like molten lave as she just stood there crying. This was the final thing which made it impossible for her to stand any longer. In her mind she could not see what it would be that she could do. If she were to lose the apartment because of this, she knew that she could not go back to her parents after she said that she was pregnant. They would not want to put up with that, since they had already done it with her sister years ago.
"There is nothing that I can do. Why in the world did I let this happen to me?" she said as she slowly walked away from the answering machine.
Her mind became filled with a multitude of thoughts, making it impossible for her to even think. How she wished that she still had her best friend Bill Dark to talk to. For he had always been the one who was so caring and understanding with her. Knowing her so well, better than anyone else. Mainly because he was her ex boyfriend who she had went out with for four years. But Bill was married now and living far away. She was not even sure if she had his phone number. The only thing that she did know about him now was that he had just published his third novel already. Fame seemed to be coming to him, which was the one thing which she wished would be happening to her.
"I am alone.....all alone.....and I have no idea what to do." she said.
The next thing she knew she found herself in the shadows of the bathroom. She had no idea why she had went in there or that she had. It was as if she was in a daze and no longer in control of her body's actions. All that she could think about was the fact that she was trapped and feeling as if the world was crashing down around her. And no matter how hard she would probably try to stop it, she knew that it would be useless. For she had done this to herself and now she was trapped in her own problems.
Kimberly found herself sitting on the cold linoleum floor, feeling a sudden brief pain hit her. Her eyes looked down at her hands, seeing the blood flowing from the fresh opened gashes of her wrists. She did not panic, just stared and watched as the blood continued to flow. Her body growing weak, as the darkness around her started to close in on her. With what strength she had left, on the floor with her own blood she wrote.....I'm done....Sorry...forgive me.. That was the last thing which she would consider as artwork she would ever do. Her final work of art....the collapse of her and the destruction of her will and sanity.