The Hard Awakening
I weep my tears over my swollen eyes, sobbing for more and try to get up from the ground. I wave the grave in front of me then more tears fall down. I spent the night here last night and I don’t even wanna move and get out of this grave yard. I look down to see my dad’s graves once again before I leave and take one heavy step to walk to my real life.
It’s early November and the weather starts to chill, the tree has fallen their leaves and only left the branches which starts covered by the snow. As I walk by, the wind breeze through my ears, it’s weird that I didn’t feel really cold last night because of sleeping outdoor like that. For the North Sea weather, today’s temperature is quite warm. This is the perfect day to go out and have fun when the sun comes out pretty bright today.
I walk to the nearest train station to go home and have some real sleep at my flat. I sit and waited in the between two train lines and see some tourist ask the local guy about a restaurant by the harbor. Rotterdam is located in the south-east side of Netherlands and it’s connected right through the North Sea, and the restaurant they’re asking for located not too far from my district.
I hear the train from distance, as I get up and get ready to step behind the yellow line, a friend of mine called my name.
“Hello, Tobby.” Says my friend, a guy who works in a newspaper store near the train station. He’s opening the railing door.
“Staying up late again?”
“Yeah, I fell asleep last night.” I walk away from my spot and came to him.
“Do you have any plan today?” He asks.
“Mmm... I must work tonight but for now no. why?”
“So you have time to come by for a cup of coffee, then.” He smiles.
I grin to him instead of nodding.
“Come inside.” Invite him.
When I enter his store the smell of new newspaper spread the whole room and I love the smell of it.
“As usual?” Timon breaks my day dreaming.
“Umm, yeah. Less sugar, please.”
“Okay, you can wait in my room, then.”
“Where’s your uncle?” I ask.
“Went out to harbor to pick up my granny, and won’t return until noon.”
I go to the back side of the store and go up to the second floor where he usually lives. I go straight to open the porch’s window and inhale the freezing wind. I take my favorite bean bag and sit on it. Timon’s room is a very tidy room with full capacity, and it’s a nice room for a guy. It’s not huge, but it’s not small either. His furniture is not too many but all his things has it’s own storage, makes a great room to hang out or to study together—we used to study together in here.
I turn on the TV and listen to the morning news as Timon walk in bring the coffee and its lovely smell that spread across the room.
Timon is one of my closest friends here in Netherlands, I’m not the native. I got transferred here from America four years ago. That time I was a very intelligent student so that my school wanted me to represent it for a student exchange. I was only 16 that time.
“Hey, you know what; I got a ticket from Riley to watch Jammie Cullum.” I grab my coffee from him.
“You don’t have to tell me if you only got one ticket.” He says, cynically. He sits on the wooden floor and relaxes his back.
“Riley has to go to Berlin so she gave me her ticket, and now I have two tickets, and I wonder, to whom I’m gonna share this ticket.” I raise my eyebrow.
“Well, you always have me.”
I smile. Timon is the only guy who could make me smile from my heart. He knows what I’ve been through and he understands. When I quitted school for being dropped out he was there for me. He and I share few similar things in our life. We are orphans, we never went to collage, we work alone to make a living, we just know what kind of real life we have.
“It’s next Saturday at Ajax Stadium. 8 p.m. You don’t have to pick me up, I’ll finish working on 6 and I’ll go straight ahead here, okay?”
“Sure.” He takes a sip of coffee. “By the way Tobb, I have a friend who needs a lady to be waitress in his wedding; do you wanna fill the spot?”
“How about the payment, and what kind of waitress??” I ask.
“I see. Not an ordinary waitress then.”
“I think so. But, I’d prefer you don’t take the job.” Says him quick.
“Didn’t you say you wanna stop being a pub worker?”
“Well, yeah, but I need the money, okay. Sometimes you just don’t have a choice.”
“Money for what? You can live enough just being a newspaper girl, trust me. What is it that you’re trying to achieve?”
“Things that are worth a lot of money.”
“Well, let’s say that’s outta your business.” I raised my eyebrows.
“So, you have a secret with me now??” Threat him.
“Just not the right time yet to tell you, but I promise I’ll tell you one day.” I wink.
Timon nods. “But I prefer you don’t have to take this job. I know that I’m nobody for you, but I really do want you to quit that kinda job. You know why? Our friends see you as a hooker, but I know you aren’t, and I just feel insecure with that title taped on your forehead. Please quit.” Beg him.
“Look, I’ll take it. No matter what, I never really cared about what other people say about me. I’m not a hooker and I don’t have to stick a ‘post-it’ that says “I’M A VIRGIN WHO NEEDS MONEY” to let them know that I’m not that kinda girl.” I say, a bit tempered.
“Excuse me, you’re a virgin??” Tease him.
“Why don’t you put it as a headline in the newspaper?” I say cynically.
“No. really?” He shows me a curious face like he doesn’t believe what he just heard.
“Well, you heard me.” I show him an angelic face.
“Swear to God?”
“Swear on my life.”
“Where did you learn those moves you made on the bar if you never had any experience of ‘serving’ a man?”
“Porn.” I say quickly.
“You’re unbelievable.” He grins.
“I’m real… And yeah, that’s the fact! If you tell anybody about that—especially those guys at the bar—then I’m gonna have to kill you.” I raise my eyebrows to let him know that I’m serious.
“What is it with them?”
“They’re always looking for a virgin Mary for God’s sake! And I don’t wanna lose that precious thing to one of those animals.”
Timon opens his mouth to try to say something but then he closes it again. I can see a strange shine in his eyes and I don’t know what that is.
Timon shakes his head.
“C’mon, say it! What is it? I know you have something to say.” I push.
“I just feel insecure if you working like that.”
“Hey, you know me. I can take care of myself, okay? Don’t worry.”
He forced himself to nod.
“And about that job you just offered me, I’m in.”
“Okay, I’ll tell him that you’re in.”
“Thanks.” I spend my last gulp and intended to say good bye to him.
“Tobby, do you mind if I tell you the truth?” he asked. His voice lowered and he starts to hold his hands one another—things he does when he’s nervous.
“Truth about what?” I ask curiously.
“Yeah? What is it?? C’mon! Don’t make me curious.” I push his shoulder.
“I… need your help today with these newspapers. I will be delighted if you wanna help me take it to the residents near your flat. It’s your fault. You wasted my time this morning.” He says. I know that; that wasn’t the thing he wanted to say to me, but I didn’t wanna push him to say it. Maybe he needs time.
“Okay, I’ll help you. Give me those newspapers.”
“I’ll get it first.”
My entire morning was spent by spreading newspapers among my flats and after I delivered the last one, I went straight to my flat to take shower and nap.
My place. Don’t imagine it as a cozy little sweet place for a princess to live. IT’S NOT. The room that I rent can only fit for one person. It has one bed, with my TV—which I never watched since it’s broken—hang on the wall. Next to my bed there’s a side table with an energy saving lamp on it. If I wanna go to the bathroom, all I need to do is take no more than three steps from the bed, same as if I want to get outta my room because the bathroom door and the front door place side by side and I can see my wardrobe which place opposite. How about my kitchen? I cook INSIDE my bathroom—thank God the water heater’s still running, since my heater has the same condition as my TV—now, one can imagine how tiny my room is.
I work at night and I sleep at day time. Absolutely not a morning person. If my parents know what I’m doing for money maybe they’ll be very disappointed and ashamed by me, but I have no choice, since they’re no longer exist in this world, I have to do something to keep myself alive. Being a pub girl is the only answer I had. I started this job two years ago, after I dropped out from school and realize that I will never get into the college I want to study Industrial Design as I always wanted, I knew that I had to do something to forget my disappointment of myself. Turned out I’m ashamed of myself even more, but there’s no turning back, so here I am, stranded in Netherlands away from home, doing anything to get some money to live and if possible collect the money to bring me back home. I wish I can share this painful story with somebody, but I can’t trust anybody anymore since what happened to my dad, not even Timon.
I’m awake at 5 P.M, when I played the answering machine I already got 5 messages. The first one came from the gas company, reminds me to pay my latest two-month bill or my gas will be cut off. Next came from my friends asking me to hang out with them, the other two aren’t too important and the last one came from Timon. It says: “Got you the job at the wedding. It’s a week from now and my friend wants to see everybody three days before the D-day.”
I exhaled, now what? Honestly, I’m tired of working like this. Some cynical asshole will say that I’m a whore and I don’t blame them for what they saw. I shake my booty almost every night at the bar, and sometimes I had these drunk men spank my butt, but believe me, I know my limits. The other job I have is working three times a week at starbucks as a barista. I pretty enjoy this job; I love coffee more than anything in the world, so working in this company absolutely completes my life.
Back to my life.
The question is why did I decide to work like this and don’t go to college like anybody else? Why I instead dropped out from high school? The story goes; I transferred here in Netherlands right after I lost my dad. There was no turning back to cancel the scholarship—yup! A scholarship. I was a great student back then—so I went away. I had trouble adjusting my new life in here. At first I got this beautiful apartment in the central of Rotterdam and every facility one could ever imagine, just a year later I broke it all apart.
One of the strict teachers caught me smoking pot during the free time. She took me to the principal’s office and the three of us discussed what kind of punishment I should have. The principal checked my data in his computer and he saw it all—since I got here, I had trouble understanding their language and it effected to my grades. How could I get a good score if I didn’t even know the lessons—and my grades never more than D average. He decided at that moment to take all facility I had—apartment, car, and a promising ticket to university—but he gave me another chance.
Fool me, I only kept his trust with me for a month. He found me using drugs in the lavatory and that was the end of my academic career.
Once I’m out, I gotta live all by myself. I was aware that time, that if I keep doing all of my bad habits—smoking pot, using drug, getting drunk—I will be dead within a year without someone even noticing, so I tried to make a better life.
Now if one asks me how do I feel, all I can say is that I wanna shout out loud and cry. I don’t wanna be like this. I feel so low for letting men enjoying my body or being paid for shaking my boobies and anything close to that. I feel dirty and the most problem of all is that I’m absolutely not that slut I told before. I even never had a real sex in my whole life—funny for my kinda job. The worst thing of this situation is that I have to sacrifice the only love I had left in my heart.
When I left America, I had a boyfriend there. He’s really mature and he said he could stand the long distance relationship so we’re on. The moment I dropped out from school I didn’t tell him. I couldn’t stand it if I had to have him feel sorry for me, until finally, I got this job I’m working right now from my friend, Riley. My boyfriend was a very sweet, nice guy and he’s really innocent if I may add, so tell me how am I supposed to be dared to lie to him every day? He’s so precious while I’m such a bitch; clear enough to show that he doesn’t deserve a girl like me. On the phone I said I couldn’t stand the long distance relationship any longer because sometimes I might need him beside me while he couldn’t be there, he understood and said that’s okay as long as I’m happy with it. He said he would do anything for the sake of my happiness. If he’d only know that he’s the only happiness I had.
TO BE CONTINUED..