The following entry was handwritten on a piece of paper, tucked away under pages of recipes in a cookbook. Undated.
A slice of cheese and a spoonful of peanut butter was all Sophie ate that morning. She was out of milk, out of bread and out of money. Unlike many people in this day and age, Sophie did not have a pay day to look forward to because she was not going to get paid, for she was jobless. Jobless, broke, single and annoyed at all her friends. All except Athena. She loved Athena because she always knew what to say to make her feel better.
“You’ll get a job, you’re a smart, educated woman”, Athena would say on a regular basis. “It’s the companies that are missing out by not hiring you”.
Sophie knew this to be true but rarely believed it. It was already two months and she was only invited to two job interviews. Government funding was scarce and the funds she received when she sold her mother’s jewellery were starting to dry out and so was her patience.
“Just sell a couple of my things. You know where they are, they’re in that little red bag I bought over from our travels in Turkey,” Harriot had offered, unknowing that Sophie would actually take her up on her offer.
Sophie’s shame grew heavier each day, hovering above her like the dark spirit that eventually consumed her. Selling her mother’s jewellery was her lowest point. What made it worse was Sophie, in her darkest hours, had blamed her mother for all that’s happened.
They harmoniously lived together in a tiny flat in the Western suburbs of Melbourne. The flat was small, old and not theirs. The bathroom had an usual smell coming out of the cupboard but no one could find the cause. Still, that was all they needed. Two bedrooms and a homely vibe. Five days a week, Sophie would come home from work, get a massive cuddle from her mother and start cooking whilst they chatted away. Never before was a stronger bond seen between a mother and daughter. People would look at the two of them together and ask if they were friends, but once they saw the colour of the eyes, the shape of the lips, the curves of the nose they knew they were related. Harriot was what Sophie would become and she was fine with that. All that changed after a visit to the doctor.
“She has dementia. You better get her into a home before she harms herself,” the doctor said as he studied his folder of notes, never looking up.
“Dementia? Is there anything we can do to help her?” a desperate Sophie had asked.
“No. But I’ll see you two again in six months. Here is the appointment slip, just take that out to the front desk and they’ll book you in.”
Cold, abrupt and heartless. Where was the empathy she desperately needed? Sophie’s life had started to spin even if she didn’t feel it straight away. She thought about how unlucky she was. Another parent to vanish due to an incurable disease.
Harriot was oblivious to the tears rushing down her daughter’s face, but then again, she was oblivious to most things those days. She was a lost soul, unknowing of what was happening and what was to come. Later on she lost the ability to speak and didn’t move around much. The day she went into the nursing home was like any other day. Craziness surrounded her yet she remained calm, empty eyed she looked at the shell of her daughter. That was all that was left of her, just the exterior. She obeyed her crying daughter’s commands. She said little and did nothing, except sit on a chair and stare into oblivion. Then, she was left alone.
Since that day, things did not go well for Sophie. She developed something didn’t think would be possible, not for at least another ten years. A nervous breakdown. The thing you see in films, where the person suffering the nervous breakdown runs down the traffic jammed street, tearing off their shirt and falling to their knees and shaking their fist at the unforgiving sky. Then they buy a sports car and all is well in the world. If only real life happened that way too. The nervous breakdown was the icing on the cake for Sophie. The one thing that needed to happen to her to push her onto the edge of the edge she was already on. Edges were starting to run low for Sophie.
Already in debt, struggling to pay rent and barely getting by, she did the unexplainable and quit her job. Her steady, 9-5 job. Just like that. Went in one day, didn’t go back the next. Did she feel remorseful? No, for at that moment she felt good, almost free. Free from the office, free from the ropes the corporate world had tied around her and free from the traffic jams she would in sit three hours of each day in. She was free, but now trapped in her own freedom. That day she learned freedom comes at a cost. This was her life.
After one of her weekly walks with Athena, Sophie decided she was going to take things to a whole new level. If people didn’t hire her, then screw them. If she goes a week without milk, then screw the world. Who needs milk anyway? In this world, you’re either screwed or you do the screwing. Sophie decided she would do that latter.
She sat down with a notebook, a pen and a cup of hot water (she had also run out of tea bags) and started to write down what would get her out of trouble.
She started to write out her destiny.