The last assignment of the semester for my creative writing class was another picture based story. I couldn’t find the prints online to post here but they were abstract sunrises/sets. Now I kind of cheated on this one because it didn’t really come from the pictures as much as I used the pictures to fit it – I actually wrote it from the Inkwell prompt at Monday’s meeting (if my memory serves me correctly I found it at http://www.writingprompts.com number 299) stating, “I deserve a _________” Go (my addition).
So here I went …
I deserve a raise. I’ve been working at the same place for seven whole years and not once has my salary spiked. Is a little praise too much to ask for? But praise isn’t really what I’m after. When it comes down to it I just want the cash. How am I supposed to feed my toddler if I can’t even pay the heating bill? Where’s the extra money for treats like Blowpops when there’s not even enough money for running water?
“Well, ask your damn boss for a raise then,” says my mother as she lights a cigarette and puffs out smoke like Thomas the Tank Engine playing on the TV. My son sits on the couch, humming the theme to himself. He’s not old enough to be angry with me for my lack of breadwinning skills yet.
“I did ask, Mom. Do you have to smoke in my house?”
“This dump is not in good enough condition to be considered a house. Well it’s simple what you have to do now.”
“And what’s that?”
“Use your sexual prowess to convince the lousy bastard to shell out more doe.”
“What’s your husband doing to help you out?”
“He’s convinced his music career will take off any day now.”
“Ah. He’s one of those.”
“You’ve known him for eight years, why do you sound surprised?”
“I’m not. It’s time to leave him.”
“You seriously slept with the bum again after all the help he hasn’t given you?”
“I really would appreciate you not talking about my sex life anymore.”
“Well someone has to tell you to get your act together. Why not your mother?”
“Because I refuse to listen to anyone who smokes in my house.”
“Fine.” She takes one last drag and grinds the butt in the ashtray like I wish I could do to my husband who refused to get a real job. At least at a record story or something!
“I told you I can’t. I’m pregnant.”
“All the more reason. He shouldn’t even be responsible for one kid never mind two.”
“Mom, how can I raise two children on one McDonald’s salary?”
She shrugs. “Should have gone to college.”
“You and Dad wouldn’t pay for it!”
“Couldn’t pay for it.”
“And the cycle continues.”
“Of course. Blame the mother.”
“Don’t have a pity party.”
She flaps her hand dismissively and looks out the window at the sunset turning what was once a promising day into a shadowed night. I shake my head.
My mother sighs. “It’s all going to work out.”
“As long as you leave him.”
I’ve been hanging on for so long, hoping that he will surprise me and prove he’s worth something. I’ve been waiting for him to prove that my son and I are worth something to him. I’ve been waiting for him to show us that we are worth giving up his non-existent music career. I’ve been waiting for him to give up his unrealistic dream. Why can’t he realize that being with his son could be a better dream than any record deal?
He used to tell me he loved me. He used to sing to me. I can’t remember when exactly it stopped, but he hasn’t done it in a while. I used to be his perfect girl. He used to be my handsome prince. Somewhere along the way he decided trying to sing for big bucks – never mind the fact that we both knew it was never going to happen – was more important than singing to me.
It’s time to leave. The sun might be setting, but that only means it is resting up to rise again in the morning.
“And do me a favor.”
“What’s that, Mom?”
“Make sure your next baby daddy is rich.”
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