They entered the restaurant filled with excitement and wonder. The vacation was turning out to be one filled with first experiences and memorable moments. The light shining through the windows onto the neatly set tables suggested that they deserved to be among the people experiencing this luxury despite what many people back home said. Sitting at the table, they smiled at one another. They had worked long and hard to get here and now was the time to enjoy the grandeur of this place. Now was the time to sit back, relax, and enjoy the fruits of their labour.
The large print of Paris hanging over the mantle represented a happy time in her past: laughter, love, connection. Moments created in that magical city had led her to take a leap of faith and change the direction of her life; a direction she did not regret. Now the time had come to make another change, to replace the moments of Paris with a cause that she believed to be important.
Determinedly she took down the print and replaced it with the canopy of trees spread over the shrinking Amazon. The next stage of her life was to begin.
The bird tapping on the window reminded her that there was life outside of this room and these four walls. She had been so engrossed in her task for the last few days, that life had stood still. Eating crisps in front of her laptop had been the norm; and her exercise routine had been set aside. Her research was done! Attaching the documents to an email, she sent it off to her supervisor. Hopefully now they would make the decision to cancel the forthcoming policies. If they did not, the company would be the target of crippling lawsuits.
Lifting her face, Sara soaked in the absolute peace that surrounded her. The cooling breeze reminded her that the summer days were shortening as was her time here. The unfettered days of her vacation had been a respite from the drudgery of her daily routine and had led to a decision her family would not easily accept. Being the oldest child did not mean she should be the lifetime caregiver of their wheelchair-bound sibling. Either everyone take their turn looking after him; or each person contributes to his care. It was time Sara take back her life.
The empty shelves told their story: the poverty had spread, affecting even those who had once lived with plenty. No longer did the wealthy strut about the towns showing off their well-padded bodies clothed in fine materials. Now the middle class felt what the hungry knew intimately: stomach cramps and dreams of the next meal. They now knew what it was like to never be satisfied; to be focused on one thing only – survival.
Behind towering walls, those who had orchestrated the widespread poverty congratulated themselves while gorging themselves on mouth-watering dishes. Their plan to control everyone was bearing fruit.
I stood up, enthusiastically applauding those on stage. They had enchanted me with their skill and, for three hours, had held my attention and taken me away from my worries.
Exiting the theatre, I hurried along the street back to my home. An ailing parent was my mundane reality and this evening had been my escape for a few hours. My days would now follow the routine of caring for a woman that had once been the flame that drew many around her. Now I was the lone moth that lingered near her diminishing light. Alzheimer’s is a cruel master.
The sky rumbled, throwing ice-cold water against the window panes. Silvia shivered as she looked outside. It felt as if she were being reprimanded for her decision but she held firm. She wasn’t going to acquiesce to her siblings’ bullying! Mom deserved a chance and disconnecting her life support would take away a hope at life.
Tears running down her face, Sylvia gripped her mother’s hand tightly to the echo of beeping machines. She leaned forward to hear her mom’s final words. “Let me go Sylvie, my time has come.”
As the last beep faded, a life gently slipped away.
A new day was to begin. Pathways had been cleared during the night, the plough’s work breaking the night’s quiet. Once the sun had risen, the roads would be filled with the trudging footsteps of weary workers. The promised New Beginning had morphed into a living nightmare. Life had returned to the decades of hardship filled with mind-numbing labour. The exorcism of technology had benefited a few – those with power and money. The middle class had joined the working class and the habit of living from day to day. Would they ever have the energy and mindset to revolt?
Sitting in a plane seat for hours, inactive and restless, was difficult for Tate. It reminded her of high school and the ongoing drone of the teachers’ voices. The Haagen-Dazs, however, made her think of sunny days with her girlfriends. As each scoop melted in her mouth, thoughts of their antics and conversations swirled in her mind. Sighing, she savoured the last mouthful. She needed to get back together with them. They had been her rock and she had been drifting along aimlessly since her departure. The plane was taking her home and bringing her closer to her people.