AUSTERITY

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Editorial and Opinion  |  House: Booksie Classic
speaking for those that have lost everything because of austerity

Submitted: September 16, 2012

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Submitted: September 16, 2012

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AUSTERITY

 

Crisp crumbs of croissant rest on the kitchen table as we finish our breakfast together. Our last. Hard to swallow, hard to enjoy and harder again to hold back a tear. Each piece is savoured with reverence, smothered in comforting soft yellow butter and a taste-tingling raspberry jam. A treat, so long forgone as a gesture to the quest for hope, indulged today as a reminder of that hope, now lost. A homemade gift to them from me, staged and performed, a happy memory.

In joy and laughter, each bite both silences and nurtures them, while their action gnaws into my spirit, breaks pieces off my soul and steals me from my own self.

 

We walk to the front, their favourite toys stuffed into their schoolbags. I squeeze their hands, one after the other, trying to imprint the two different shapes, one slightly larger than the other, into mine, trying to form a mental mold in my palms, to capture how it feels, forever (a gift from them to me). We kiss and hug goodbye. They eagerly walk in through the wooden gates. I gaze and I wave. They do not look back. They do not know.

 

I am less, one third of my former self, dissolved. Some time ago, what seems like so long ago, I purchased these clothes to look for work, they fitted me well. They fitted me into society. But now they disguise me, a shape distorted by their bagginess, their shabbiness, I am barred from this first world, excluded by my appearance. I slink into darkened places, concealed and ignored, I merge into an invisible horizon. Disenfranchised.

I take my keys from my pocket, drop them through the letter box of the bank. With a jangle, they are delivered. Dispossessed, I have no place to go.

 

“What a beautiful day”. Their souls are magically fulfilled by its lightness, all around me they go about their business. They do not see me. They choose not to notice me and my kind, they always did so its easy for them now.

I, disconnected from their unreal reality, living in my own private and real truth, have left my soul behind.

 

I take the meagre coins from my pocket, the last of my storm tossed coins of collaboration. Spent, this euro, catalyst and perpetrator, exchanged for a bottle of cheap relief.

I chose today, Wednesday, as it's a half day. They get out early. Less time to wait. I should be far away, but I have no place to go. My head is pounding, my mind is crazed, congested and in conflict.

I lurk, watching, measuring time by parking cars. Now, with the car park full, parents are waiting and watching as the stream of chattering excitement runs out through the wooden gates. Families, rejoicing in reunion, head home. The car park returns to its emptiness and the sound of their joy becomes an ill fitting echo in my head.

Now, mine, they wait, they move closer together in their insecurity. Just the two of them, together and alone. They are confused, they walk back in through the wooden gates. Someone pops out and looks around, seemingly bewildered. I watch and start to drink my cheap liquor to numb the pain and to give me strength.

The van arrives, the doors open and the social welfare officers emerge. A child is deemed to be “abandoned” when left unclaimed. They are taken into care. A place to go, a better future. They walk once more through the wooden gates, to the van, to a warm meal and a bed. I have abandoned them to a better future. They reach for each others hands.

 

 

(I was moved to write this in response to the many articles about parents who have recently been driven to abandon their children to the Greek State in response to the economic crisis. )


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