(Love in circles)
BY BLESSING SILVER
Work ended at Food and fries after successfully passing through series of questions like..
“Are you okay Jackie?”
“You look gloomy”
“Guess who got up on a bad side?..You”
“Hah! Now you’re walking like a chicken” this one came from Noel and in response I gave him a knock. We sometimes get pretty close and I find him interesting and annoying at the same time but we’re good friends too even though work sometime disallows us from behaving like one.
Just like me Noel’s a student and a worker, but he’s a part-time college student doing what he could to assist his father who works as a gardener in a big house. We sometimes talk about the pros and con of school life and college life experience..
When he’s on his shift are over he sometimes stay to assist me while I do some school works or go on an errand.. I never told him about Allan or anything close to what I’m passing through he only knows I do three part-time Jobs in a goal, which he of course he teased me about but I see him as a really great down-to-earth guy.
We got our payment and after saying my byes, I journeyed to my next work.
I started the day work. Not being able to properly sit on the delivery bicycle, I took to trekking to close distance and using a cab to farther ones and paying with my money.. It was pretty tough.
After working for the required hours, I collected my payment and went to the next.. While working I felt my stomach grumble and that was when I realized I hadn’t eaten anything good all day, after work I grabbed a wrapped up hamburger and ate it on the outside bench with a cup of coffee, after taking permission from miss Ariana, the old lady who’s an assistant to the head of the shop.. I closed for the day and since Mr Jerome, our boss wasn’t around ; we were assured to get paid the next day and that information didn’t go well with most people.. I can’t say the same for myself though but I knew I wasn’t too glad neither was I too sad over it.
Few times my shifts and work had changes.. I could work at the chicken shop, coffee shop and the at food and fries today and tomorrow it’d be vice versa.. It happens but not everyday and today happens to be one of those days.
On my way home, I branched the mall and got few groceries that I felt was urgently needed at home.. Allan would do the rest. Gosh, that name seem to churn my stomach.. Thinking about it alone gave me chills. I spent an hour in the store, not because I purchased lot of things but because the queue at the payment stand was pretty long. I took a taxi home because of the time I had spent at the queue after getting the groceries.. I got up after using the staircase and opened the door, getting in, I dusted my feet on the doormat.
I moved into the house and turned to go to my room.. “Jackie” I froze at his voice and I felt the hair on my skin rising. I turned and looked at him and with two of his fingers pointed forward, he signaled for me to come over. Gulping, I walked to him.. He had his feet stretched out of the table and a coffee cup beside it.
“Did you realize you came in late?” He asked, putting his legs down and grabbing the cup of coffee before drawing it to his lips and taking a long sip and dropping it back. “It’s 11:30. Any explanations? cos we both know you arrive before it hits 11 so what makes today an exception?” He asked, giving me an expressionless look.
“I-I got a few groceries on my way back” I replied, trying fruitfully to speak out and I succeeded.
“Or went for a quickie and used the groceries as an excuse to pass off?”
“No. I only did shopping, there was a long queue at the cashier stand and I had to wait till it got to my turn” I said and he chuckled hysterically.
“You know, sometimes I wonder how you got so great at your lying skills.. The little girl I grew up with was pretty timid and stupid” he smirked.
“I-I’m not lying” I said, not so he could believe me because I know he wouldn’t, but because I was sure it’s the truth. Once Allan starts driving this way, I know he’s looking for a good way to trap me up and punish me.. Cos it’s fun to him. I always try not to argue too much because it triggers his hatred towards me, one thing he hates is being corrected and proved wrong… So I just stayed my cool.
“Liars say that a lot” he said and stood up..
“I swear Allan I only did the grocery, you can check the bag if you still doubt me and here’s the receipt.. My arrival and departure time’s right here. You can take a look at it” I said, trying not to break down. I took out the receipt and stretched it out to him, sniffing back to hold the tears in.
Don’t blame me if you think I get too emotional over everything that goes wrong and cry, that’s because I’m still trying to get used to this life. My parent trained me in a way that I could say was flamboyant. I was one of those born with a silver spoon but disciplined at certain aspect of life, my parent, my mom especially did literally everything for me, well, except those that couldn’t be done by anyone else except yourself.. Stuffs like sleeping, eating, going to school, brushing and feeling the fabrics of clothes on my body. My dad also partook in it but his came with a bit of discipline.
Just like Allan, I got the best clothes, attended a really big school, had friends that I could say were like my kind, had the latest barbie dolls, game figures and toy house. Mom also made sure I visited the mall and changed my wardrobe at least every two months.. I had what I could say was a perfect life but everything crumbled at my feet and got buried alongside my parents.
Allan snatched the receipt and tore it Into shreds. “You think I’m gonna believe some stupid paper!” He fired and I shook. “Do you think I’m a fool! you think I won’t figure out that you’re whoring around?”
“Yes.. I mean no. Please just believe me Allan I’m saying the truth” I shrieked. He grabbed the shopping bag from me and emptied the content on the tiled floor, a jar of jam shattered on the floor, the content spilling all over and messing up the floor. “You spent over an hour and twenty minutes buying a jam, cookies and these petty stuffs..?” He scoffed, giving me a glare “Really?, really Jackie?!”
“No.. I mean yes, there was a long queue and I had to wait for my turn to pay” I said. My chest rising and falling rapidly. With his feet he pulled out a chair from the dinning. “Sit!” he ordered.
“What? scared of chairs now?” He cut me off “sit”
I hurriedly sat on the chair, my workbag still on me. He walked away and came back seconds later with a rope.. He squat and started tying the rope around the chair and holding it on me. “Allan please.. ” I sobbed but they fell on deaf ears, as usual, as always.
He finished tying me to the chair and he stood up. He went back to the kitchen and when he came back, he had a pack of blade and a bowl which had smoke steaming from it. He set it on the table and pushed the seat I was tied on closer to it.
“Now if you behave yourself, this mightn’t hurt the way you’re imagining it to” he said and I sniffed. “Place your palms on the table” he said and with difficulty I placed them. He grabbed the pack of blade and took it out, he walked behind me and after a moment I felt a sharp slice at my neck and the excruciating pain caused me to shriek. I felt liquid running down the cut. He walked to the table, grabbed the bowl of hot water and poured a small quantity on my palm, the hotness pricked my skin and with my upper teeth I bit my lower lip to prevent me from crying out at the striking pain.
“You’re not permitted to make any sound until I’m done with the blade and if you disobey me; You’ll get more of this steaming water on your palm and much more if you keep disobeying” he said. “Do you understand?” He asked and I nodded hurriedly. “Answer me!”
He went to my back again and almost immediately I felt another cut on my neck, a different spot. I bit in my lower lip and suppressed my cry. He walked to my shoulder and took that side of my cloth down, a bit of my cleavage getting exposed with it. A bit below my shoulder came another cut accompanied by a pricking pain and ignorantly I gasped a cry. He came forward and release hot droplets of water on my back palm, more this time and I hissed in pain.. Earning me more drops on my palm back that was getting red and itchy. I held in a cry and a streak of sweat strolled to my forehead. Tears gushed out more from my eyes and the pains from the cuts aggravated. He moved back behind me and sunk the blade at my upper back, a little deep this time, I bit harder on my lower lips, holding in my cry and letting the tears roll out more. He did another one opposite it and I nearly cried out but cautiously I successfully took it in. He did another cut on my right shoulder, I flinched, letting a hiss sound in the process and getting half of the hot water on my palm.. I shut my eyes, enduring the pain silently. My hands trembled at the ferocity of the hot liquid.. My palm got extremely red, soft and soggy.
After a final cut at the front of my cleavage, I felt him untying me and I caught my breath, he emptied the rest of the hot water on me, from my head down to the top of my clothes, I cried out. He grabbed the cup of coffee and was walking away but he stopped and turn
“Make sure to clear that up” he said, referring to the scattered groceries and the broken bottle of jam; he left after that and I sobbed more.
The pains I felt couldn’t be described.
I got up after sulking and crying for more minutes and walked to my room, I took off my bag and quickly tend to my injuries, I treated the reachable ones and pulled my jacket on. I went to the kitchen and took the vacuum cleaner before walking back to the living room.
The next morning I got up early enough with my arms feeling like jelly and my body badly in pains. I took some painkillers and carefully got ready for school, dressed in a baggy trouser and long sleeved shirt. I had a light quick breakfast and hit the road to school; getting to school, I walked straight to homeroom.
I grabbed my phone from my pant pocket when it buzzed.. I checked the caller and swiped to the receiver.
“Dad?” I said “You know it’s against the school rule to take calls right”
“Oops.. I almost forgot you should be in school. Sorry Nik” he said and I rolled my eyes.
“It’s lunchtime, that’s the reason I answered this. Why did you call?”
“Oh.. We’ll just talk about it when you get home”
“That won’t be necessary dad.. Just spill it and besides aren’t you too busy to have another time to call?” I said.
“Yeah right.. So I called to inform you that I’ve called the cleaning department in NY and they’ve agreed to send someone”
“Okay, first will you explain to me what you’re talking about and why you called a cleaning service here in NY when you’re in Seoul?” I asked, confused and from the speaker I heard dad sigh.
“Sometimes son the way you easily forget things dazzle me” he said.
“And that forgetfulness only happens when the thing in question isn’t vital” I said.
“Well this one is. It’s about your health and a little reminder.. We talked about getting you a help to keep the house clean”
“Wait what? You’re really serious about this maid thing?”
“We talked about this Nik”
“Yes but I didn’t know you really mean it. I already told you I’m managing”
“And that’s not enough son, we’re talking about your health here” he said.
“My health has never been normal right from the start dad and you know it” I said.
“Alright, but we can’t take any chances and why are you so hyped up about this whole thing?”
“My life’s at stake dad.. We can’t get anymore person finding out about me” I whispered to him.
“True but she’ll only be doing the cleanings.. It’s not like she’ll live with you” he said.
“Jason didn’t have to live with me before he found out dad. Just like you said we can’t take chances and this one’s a big risk” he said and for a while there was quietness.
“Alright son but I’m not taking no for an answer.. We can’t have pests living with you and endangering your health any further so why don’t you find a help yourself.. Someone you can at least trust a little, I’ll handle the bills”
“You won’t stop dad, will you?”
“I won’t son. Call me when you find someone. Love you” he said and ended the call.
I sighed wryly and stood up from the cafe, grabbed my cup of smoothie and walked to class.
I rinsed my hand carefully after changing the bandage on my neck and wrist, I threw the used one in the waste basket, I pulled into my jacket and walked out of the restroom. I checked the burns and sighed softly. I got to the stairs and ran up it, I was getting to the second when I bumped into someone and staggered back. A book fell.
“Watch it pipsqueak!” The person said
I tucked my hair behind my ears and looked up to see who I had hit and when I did a scoff passed my lips.
“You should watch it too jerk” I said, “It was you who bumped into me anyways” I said to Nik.
“Oh really and can you explain how?”
“Unfortunately, unlike you I have other better things to do than explain something that’s obvious” I said and he scoffed.
“You’re one crazy girl” he said.
“And you’re one jerky dude”I replied.
“Aren’t you forgetting that you still owe me?”he asked, “I’m willing to let this go if you pick up my note, it fell when you hit me”
“We both hit each other and if you need a favor you should add a magic word” I said and he smirked.
“I hope you get this same guts after you’ve paid off your debt” he said. I eyed him and walked past him to the stairs.. I stopped, walked back and took up the note then threw it at him and he caught it “That doesn’t mean I’m scared.. I did it because I want to” I said and started moving to the stairs but he dragged my wrist and pulled me back. With wide eyes I stared at him.. He took my wrist and I quietly hiss in pain, he examined it.. “It’s there” he said talking about his stupid writings, for a while I noticed he was still checking my hand and when I looked at it I noticed he was staring at my burns.. He looked up at me questioningly and I jerked my hand from his grip; ignoring the pain, I climbed up the stairs.
School ended for the day and I walked out of the school building with Martha and at the gate, we said our byes and parted.. I jog-walked home and used the stairs to our floor, I opened the door and moved in.. Allan was on a couch, backing me.
“Good afternoon” I greeted him and from behind he nodded, I walked to my room and the first thing my sight caught when I entered my room was my workbag laying carelessly on the floor and opened. I quickly picked it up and looked into it but it was empty..
I searched thoroughly but found nothing, my instinct led me to my closet and when I searched it I couldn’t find my piggy.
My breath hitched as I silently hoped what happened shouldn’t be what my mind was telling me even though there was a 100% possibility.
I grabbed my bag and head to the sitting room, I moved to Allan side on the couch and my eyes caught it.. My piggy bank! Broken and completely shattered on the floor. My eyes got misty and when I raised them to look at Allan I saw him staring at me and on his hand were dollar bills.. My money, my whole savings for two years!
T. B. C
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