Adam and Eve. Part I (Short Story)
Part I (of 3)
The world came to its end. Not literally, because the earth is still spinning, but the world as we knew it, would never be the same. The vicious disease has taken root so deeply, that only a few of us managed to survive.
Apocalypse. Actually many of us should be relieved, since we have been waiting for it, almost expecting it for a very long time. So many movies have been filmed, so many books written, so many theories published... Some of us should almost feel a relief... "Yes, it finally happened! We can breath now!" As if, bored of our everyday lives, we couldn't wait for some tragic, irreversible change.
1. The Beginning.
I left Poland as a twenty-something year old. I went to a language camp in Mexico, and then broke through the American border, together with a wonderful Hispanic family, who, just like me, dreamed of a brighter future for their children. Wonderful people, so helpful and loving. From the time we met, they treated me like one of their own. Not returning to Poland was the most difficult decision of my life. I left everything behind. A relationship, my family, everything I knew, and everything I felt safe with. I left the language I was born to speak, my home, my friends…
However, in Poland I have always felt like I didn't fit in. I was surrounded by unhappy people, always complaining, with no hope for a better tomorrow. My new friends infected me with their fired up souls and desire to fight for a future filled with light and happiness. They welcomed me to their home with open arms, and very soon I was involved in their secretive plan of crossing the border to our exciting new existence.
In the U.S. I rather quickly found a job as a maid at a motel, along with Rosalinda, the woman who helped me survive the last few months back in Mexico, after the language camp wrapped up. I truly earned pennies, but after less than a year I received a receptionist position, when my manager noticed how rapidly I learned English, and how much passion I put into my work. I already studied some English from high school, so it was always way for me, than for my Mexican family.
Weeks and months passed ridiculously fast, and most of my time I spent at work, and learning the language. I had so much fire in me, and I felt that now I could achieve anything in life, because God gave me a second chance - to start a new life in a country where anything could happen. The only person, for whom I longed in Poland, was my mother. We wrote long letters and talked on the phone for hours. I felt terrible leaving her in all alone. My father died a few years ago, and my brother lived across of the country, and very rarely visited mom. I felt a weight of remorse, but I convinced myself that I had the right to choose where and how I am going to live.
From now on my life and my future were in my own hands. Or so I thought.
2. An Ordinary Kid.
In Poland, after graduating from high school, I tried to find a job, but without much luck or effect. I was able to earn casual cash "here and there" to put it away for my dream trip to Mexico. I lived with my mom, and spent my free time with my friend, Angelica. Both of us were dreaming of a prince from a fairy tale, who would take us away from the bleak hopelessness, and our lives could finally become colorful and meaningful. We sat together recalling old times, our peers, and how their lives unfolded. We were killing time sharing memories from the school benches. I especially remembered Adam. We met in kindergarten. In first grade teacher sat us together. When I told my mom about it, she told me to immediately go to the teacher and ask for replanting. According to her, the boy had head lice. Mom didn't know him, but she apparently knew a lot about his family. Of course mainly from rumors, because Gronowice was a very small town, where everyone knew everything about you. That was why I always wanted to get out - to be able to finally be myself, and not the person basically invented by others, purely based on small town gossip, and the reputation of your family. I wanted to start to live, without continuously looking back over my shoulder. In places like Gronowice everybody from the day they were born has an attached label, and that label for the majority of us had nothing to do with who we really were. If your father was a drunk, everyone saw you as a child from a poor, decaying family. If you were not doing well in school, you were always going to be a kid with no future - even when you grew up, you were always be remembered there that way.
And that sort of infamous label has been pinned on Adam from the time he was just a little boy. He came from a family, where there was no father, and his mother drank a lot, did not take care of her children, and had a new boyfriend every other month. At least that was what I heard. Adam appeared in school dirty, his clothes were worn out, unkempt, which lead to an opinion that he certainly had lice, and other kids needed to keep away from him as far as possible, That was the way small minded people took care of things in a small, uptight town.
Of course, the teacher allowed me to change my seat in the classroom, and after that I didn't really have much to do with Adam. We talked maybe a couple of times. I thought he was a nice, but very ordinary kid. He didn't have many friends, but I always attributed it to his situation at home. Suddenly I remembered that when I was just a few years old, I kept wondering what could be done in order to make Adam look more approachable and "normal", like most of boys in the class, so he could fit in. I imagined that I could run him a bath, ordered him to wash his hair, bought him some clean clothes, fed ... If I only could! In my childish innocence I wanted to be his friend, because for some reason he seemed like we could become close, but it was just easier not to worry about it, and concentrate on the cooler kids. People made fun of him, but most of the time everybody just treated him like air. He was invisible...
I never knew why actually that boy got stuck so much in my memory. Probably because I felt sorry for him, and that he deserved a better treatment. I was sure that his innocent little soul has suffered a lot in his childhood, just because he was born into this kind of family, in this sort of arrogant, phony town.
3. Everyday Life.
My life in the U.S. started slowing down, became colorless, even a bit dull. But in love with the idea of "the land of unlimited opportunities", and I felt that I could grow to be "somebody", to make my life count, when in Poland, most of young people could not find any work for years, and entire generations lived crowded in tiny apartments. I was not particularly happy, but I couldn't complain. I got used to the American reality and my daily routine. actually felt that I belonged to that world, and I should have been born there. I spent my time off with my Mexican friends, until the family has decided to move, because of Carlos, Rosalinda’s husband, who got involved in some obscure feud at work. Pour Rosalinda had to beg him to move away, fearing for his safety. I was incredibly sad to see them leave. For the first time in my life I felt totally alone, and I didn’t have anybody to rely on, but myself. Strange feeling, especially that as a child I was always "a mama’s little girl"...
Thankfully soon my loneliness turned into an everyday life, and didn't bother me too much. I usually spent my holidays at work. My co-workers loved it very much! I also saved most of my earnings and rented a small, but nice and cozy apartment, and I even began to think of visiting Poland. The problem was that I didn't have a green card, so it was absolutely impossible. The lack of driver’s license also bothered me terribly. Thank God Colorado is known for its public transportation!
The only way to get a green card would be through marriage ...
4. Christopher. Part 1.
I met Chris at work. It definitely wasn't love at first sight. Neither at second. To be honest he was not my type. An ordinary guy, a little too thin, a little too tall. He was hired to be the new manager of the motel, after his predecessor was fired for theft. Chris was very quiet, he didn’t even try to gain any sympathy or friendships from his subordinates. His days looked all very much alike. He came to work and immediately divided orders and extra assignments. Then he would bury himself in his office for hours, spending time talking on the phone with superiors and clients, and working on reports and promotions - leaving his office only to help us solve a problem.
Our relations were limited to daily life of the motel. I tried to do my work as best as I could. I did not want to step on anybody’s toes, especially that I was working illegally. Chris did not ask questions, just paid me my weekly earnings in cash, when no one was around, which was an order from the motel owner. I was beyond grateful, and kept quiet.
I was often worried, how long he would let me work there, and what would I do, if I was let go. Where could I find another job without documents? Fortunately the owner of the motel, Grant, also owned several other businesses in town, so he didn't have a problem with paying a few of his employees under the table. He even helped me to open a bank account, when I didn’t think it was possible, and for a while kept my money in a shoe box under the bed. Grant had lots of friends and contacts, and apparently some power. He said that I reminded him of his daughter, whom he had lost a few years ago to cancer. I think Grant, by helping me, felt in some way as he had a tiny piece of his daughter, close to his heart.
I was thankful to fate for everything – and mostly for the amazing people I met on my way. I tried to live every single day like it was my last, not worrying too much about what would happen next. However it bothered me a lot, that I was living in this generous country illegally, that I created a life for myself in the place that I loved so much, but my existence was pretty much in the hiding.
Life went on in colors of gray, when all of the sudden Chris asked me if I would go with him to grab some lunch. It was his birthday.
His parents and brother lived on the East Coast and Chris said that he hated to celebrate in solitude. I felt a little uneasy about this invitation, but it didn’t seem right to refuse, especially with Chris knowing that I had no reason to hurry home after work. I finished my morning shift, and we went for lunch. I didn't want anybody at work to see me getting into Chris’s car, since I didn’t want to become a manager’s pet in my coworkers' eyes. I figured if someone asked tomorrow, I would have said that Chris simply gave me a ride home, because I didn't feel well, and I preferred not to wait for the bus.
I was starving, but I felt too shy to eat. Our lunch passed by in a very strange, awkward atmosphere. I was actually mad, that I ever agreed on it. Chris drove me home, and that was it. For the next few weeks he didn’t even mention the time we spent together. I wondered what was that all about? I thought about him a lot, he sort of started to fascinate me. I imagined he had to feel alone, away from his family, just like me. He moved to Colorado because of his new job, he didn’t know anybody there, and his family and friends had their own lives in New Jersey. Suddenly it appeared to me that we had more in common with each other, than I would have ever expected - day after day, I started to see him in a different light. I hoped he would invite me again to lunch so we could talk, I wanted to get to know him better. He, however, did not show the slightest interest. Apparently, he discovered the real “me”, or rather, I looked in his eyes like a heartless fool, looking at his birthday lunch so uncomfortable, like I was waiting for a conviction, stirring around like a spy, hoping that we wouldn’t meet anyone from work.
5. Christopher. Part 2
Finally I decided to take matters into my own hands, and invited several people, including Chris, for a traditional polish Easter breakfast. Americans don't celebrate holidays the same way as Poles do, so I thought that's a good enough reason for a small party to "show off my Polish heritage." I put a lot of work into preparing a traditional polish meal, and it seemed like the event was going to be successful. Chris actually did not RSVP, but knowing his ways of being reticence, I didn't worry about it much. I prepared boiled eggs in mayo, baked an Easter cake, I bought polish smoked sausage. A few people showed up, but Chris didn't come. I was disappointed. I was wondering why all of the sudden I felt so attracted to this man? A guy who I actually didn't even know, and who was never before the object of my interest... I was deeply disappointed, even shed a few tears, but I decided to shape up and let go.
"It wasn't written in the stars for us."
...TO BE CONTINUED...
Part 2 (of 3)
Part 3 (of 3)
All names, events and places described in this story are fictitious, and any convergence is absolutely random.
© 2012 Agnes