They Suffer In Silence
Everyday they suffer. People die without us noticing. Some ones son or daughter, sister or brother, girlfriend or boyfriend, husband or wife. People are torn apart every second of every day, but we don't notice. We don't notice because there are no voices to listen to. They're too scared to say that simple word. Help. But that help could come so easy. They don't have the courage to make us aware. But do you have the courage to become aware?
My life isn't about me anymore. I'm living, breathing and fighting for my parents, who can no longer fight for themselves. I don't need help. I am the help.
The cold room is ominously silent as mum breathes in quick, rapid spurts in an attempt to get air into her body. Neither me or dad knows what's wrong with her, we don't even have enough money to take her to a doctor to get her diagnosed. Money slips through our fingers like a thin fog. Me, my mum and my dad all live in one tiny cramped apartment. All our money is spent on paying the rent and buying food. But still food is harder for us to get than diamonds.
I'm bone thin and get weak easily. I sleep all day and work all night. I don't go to school anymore, it's just too expensive. I don't want to go to school if it means money we're saving for mum is wasted. I can't be that selfish. What does my future matter compared to her life? Was there even any opportunity for me anyway? I only got B's, nowadays not even the best is good enough. The world has been turned into a demonic beast.
I hate what I have to do to survive, but I'm a player in the game of life. Sometimes I feel as if my survival each day comes down to the mere flip of a coin, and it does. It all comes back to money. You need money to live. To get that you must have the luck to be born into a well off family. If you're poor, you'll stay that way with no money to fill your empty pockets. If you have no money, you'll die. If you die, it's game over. But I don't want to lose. My game is more important then anyone elses. My whole family is the thing at stake.
"It's ok mum, I'll get some more money in a bit," I mutter to mum as she starts spasming. Tears don't even come anymore when I look at her. I must be strong, for all of us.
Dad can't work anymore because his job was taken over with the introduction of machines to the factory he works in. Now he desperately seeks a job while trying to stay at home with mum as much as possible. Someone needs to deal with her. Mum slips into unconsciousness frequently throughout the day, and if we didn't wake her up, I don't know what would happen to her poor, weak body.
We don't even know how she got sick. She seemed to just get weaker with each passing day. She'd have these moments when she just couldn't breathe. These are happening so frequently nowadays, it's too scary to watch. I think she'll die, soon, if I don't do something. That's why I go out onto the streets every night.
Dad doesn't like what I do, yet still he allows me to as he knows it's the only way to get money for mum. He now gives me a look and I check the time. 11.45. I think that might be late enough.
Almost tripping over the mess that seems to be piling up on the floor, I scoot around mums bed and out the door into the tiny kitchen. The walls in here are a sickly yellow in the governments attempt to "brighten up the place". This would be easier achieve if they bothered to fix our power. Electricity comes and goes more often than a summer breeze. It could go at any time, be you making dinner or trying to clean up some of the sharp glass on your doorstep.
The kitchen is still covered in a thin layer of grime that neither me or dad has had enough time to clean. I'm too tired in the day and dad looks after mum. Our countertops are half hanging on to the work tops as they slouch forward, making the place look like a crime scene. In my opinion, this is a crime scene. If the government "care" about us enough to put us in a council estate, surely they can give us some money to look after my mum? Instead I need to find the money. There's only really one way to do this.
I have the good luck (or bad luck, depending which way you look at it) to look older than I am. I'm nearly seventeen, but with my curved, slim body, tall stature, short brown hair and hazel eyes I pass for older. I pass for an adult. When I had friends, before mum got sick and I had to leave them all, they all told me I appeared older than I was. We foolishly took advantage of this and I bought cigarettes and alcohol for me and my mates. Now I wouldn't go near the stuff. Why shorten your life and let your body fall into disrepair?
I quickly take the stairs three at a time in my rush to get outside. The trepidation chills my heart and makes me feel as if I'm made of stone, but it's better to start the night early with more chance of more money.
As soon as I get onto the street bordering the motorway, I feel as if I change. I'm no longer Roxy, the scared sixteen year old with a dying mother. I must become Sandy, a code name as such I took up in case the police come across me and question me, the nineteen year old who wants nothing more than to please the lonesome guy. In all honesty, I hate Sandy.
I cross onto the intersection to the motorway, my usual hot spot for a thriving business night. After standing in the chilling air in only shorts and a string top, a car rolls to a stop in front of me. I swallow a lump and head to the drivers blacked out window. Mostly I don't even need to ask people if they want me, they know themselves why I'm there.
As the window rolls down with the purr that accompanies automatic windows, I'm shocked to see an elderly man sitting in the drivers seat. He grips the steering wheel loosely and looks at me with a pitying glance in his grey eyes, the same color as the hair that barely sits on his head. I almost frown to myself. I've dealt with all sorts, but never anyone on the older end of the spectrum.
"Are you ok honey? Not lost, are you?" he asks in a faltering voice. I resist the urge to wrap my arms around my body and only shake my head in reply.
"Waiting for your parents?" he tries instead. Again I shake my head and shift uncomfortably from foot to foot. I'm itching to feel the weight of my purse grow, which is now as light as air. Can't this guy drive on? He's too nice to pick me up, but if anyone see's me with him it's almost guranteed they won't be stopping for me.
"Do you live in the estate?"
I feel my legs shake from his kind tone. My mind is in knots as I seek a way out. Before I can decide anything, the old man reaches out through the window and presses something into my hand. I unclench my hand and find myself staring at notes. Loads of them. About twenty of the things. He gave me money. Why? So he does want something...
"Go home honey. Get off the streets, people here won't be thinking nice things when they see a nice girl like you standing out all alone." And with that the window rolls up and the car drives off, leaving me to figure out what happened. That man knew instantly why I was out here, but saying that everyone does. It's not too hard. A slim girl dressing provocatively in the middle of the road can only want one thing. Money. And everyone knows a girl like that will do anything to get it.
I slip the money into my purse and look at it for a minute. I love the look of the notes sitting almost snuggly between the weak red matertial. It looks like hope and it is the most beautiful thing. I wish it could look like that with every car that passes me.
As the night rolls into early morning and the odd car streams past me, I feel something in me long for someone else to want nothing better than to help me, just like that old man. Maybe that's why my heart soars almost dillusionaly as a broken down truck grinds to a stop in front of me.
If only I'd be that lucky.
The window rolls down halfway, by man power judging by the grunts of the guy inside, and I see a drunken man assesing me. He looks like he's been in a fight, with half his face turning about a hundred different shades of purple. He looks me up and down and I have to force myself to unnoticeably stick out my chest rather than slouch in on myself.
"How much ya goin' for?" the guy asks, his voice heavily slurred. I watch in almost disgust as he checks his wallet, probably to make sure he didn't drink it all. Even from here I can smell the alcohol that seems to waft from his whole body. My god, I wish I didn't have to do this. I take a deep breath to steady myself. I have to, money is the sustanance of life.
"Twenty," I whisper, my voice hiding in some place I can't follow. I wish I could.
"Twenny? I ain't rich girl! Tell ya what, I'll pay ya a tenner. Ya can even 'av it now."
I want to run, I want to hide. Instead I let some silent, unseen tears run down my face.
"Fine," I sigh as I walk around the car to the passenger side and pull myself in. The man hands the money to me and laughs.
"I'm givin' you a free ride, 'parantly you're not as cheap."
My god people are vile. I bite my lip and slip the money into my purse, which I make an effort to keep hidden. I close my eyes as the truck starts to move and wish for another life. Just for a day, no, a moment.
Can't I have a day to be a normal sixteen year old? Please, just one day....