The rainbow shining in all its glory across the harbour was a sign: they were doing the right thing. Reaching across the iron-wrought table, she pressed his hand and nodded her agreement.
The email pinged its arrival on the laptop of the one who had started the Movement. It was one of many and reflected the full compliance of those whom his group had approached.
The following week was the beginning of the end. The catalyst was the capture and beheading of the wealthy and powerful men in major cities around the world. The intelligentsia had begun their revolution.
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.
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?
The day dawned to the sound of birdsong and with a clear blue sky. Mandy stepped out of the house filled with hope. This was the day! Nothing could stop her from achieving her goals. The brisk walk to the subway energised her and she smiled at the strangers around her, positive energy glowing in her eyes.
Descending into the subterranean space, she saw the neon lights flicker. She pushed ahead regardless, knowing that the ride to her destination would be crowded and airless. As always, she hoped it would be quick. The morning transit experience was not one she enjoyed: the pushing. the smells, the crush of bodies packed into the car like glassy-eyed sardines. The soulless journey was endured, not relished, every workday.
Then her worst nightmare!
The train ground to halt, the lights flickered and died. Crushed within the sea of humans, Mandy heard a woman scream. An echoing scream lay dormant in her throat. Forcing herself to breathe, Mandy tried hard not to panic. Closing her eyes against the dark, she focused on what the day was to bring. Positivity. Good news. A chance at promotion.
The ten minutes until the generator kicked in felt the longest she had experienced in her life. And then the wait and the escalating body odours of her forced companions. She really needed to find another way to get to work!
Finally arriving at her destination, Mandy shoved open the door to her office building. She was late and her smile had slowly drowned under the tapping irritation of her foot. Entering the sales floor, her manager cheerily greeted her with the information that she had lost the opportunity she had hoped would be hers. Her hard work had been ignored because she’d been late for the presentation. No one cared about accidents on train tracks or fatal injuries of other humans. After all, leaders are never late.
The day had started with blue skies and birdsong. It ended with darkness and a sense of surrender to the Fates.
They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.
I say the way to my heart is for the man to cook.
They say if you want to win a man’s affections, cook for him. Daily.
I say if he wants to please me, he should spend the time in the kitchen.
They say women are cooks, men are chefs.
I say I am tired of daily meal planning. Let him have a turn.
Why is it that women are expected to be the ones who shop for groceries, plan the week’s menu, cook the meals. In modern society, women are also working at full-time jobs and bringing in the money. Our second job (raising children, running a home, and cooking) should be shared with the husband/partner.
I say the way to a women’s heart is through her stomach.
I say women are the true chefs, putting together meals on a budget and what is found in the fridge.
I say our reign of the home kitchen is over. We want to pass the sceptre to someone else.
The living room couch was like Grand Central Station: a flurry of daytime activity surrounded it.
Quick early morning cups of coffee were spilt on on the sofa before resting purses and briefcases were hurriedly grabbed from its centre. Once the early morning bustle was over, a sigh was heard and feet were placed on the overstuffed cushions. The lull in activity was welcomed before the beige couch was surrounded by the whoosh of the vacuum and the scent of polish.
Around noon either the twitter of book-club ladies, the rowdiness of the bingo group, or the tranquil chatter of the knitting club as preemie blankets were created was heard. Even though the space was busy, there was a calmness in the activity.
The afternoon lull was short before the plump seats were jumped on by energetic feet happy to be home. Snacks were eaten in the deep recesses of the cushions while in the next room the unmistakable sound of oil sizzled in a pan.
The couch was unused, but the sounds nearby did not bring serenity.
Then a favourite part of the day: storytime and the snuggles between parents and children.
The lull before the quiet.
Parent time while the television buzzes softly in the background.
Then the living room turns dark and the sounds of the night encroach.
The house sleeps as does the couch; resting fully and preparing itself for the repetition of the early morning routine mayhem.