story of a working girl This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

February 5, 2011
My eyes open instantly. No alarm clock goes off, no one shakes me awake. It's like my internal alarm system just went off—except it's a little late. There's no clock in my room so I can't know for sure, but it's maybe around nine or ten. It's the Friday of Spring Break, I should already roaming the streets for parties to crash, in search of potential customers.

Customers. That's what they are. And I am the salesgirl as well as the product.

There's no point in stalling, but I'm reluctant to get up. I throw off the thin sheet and roll out of bed. Literally roll. The mattress is barely six inches off the ground, so my impact with the floor is painless.

The room is pitch black, but I know the lay-out so well, I don't need light. I side-step cracks and splinters in the floor, making my way to the small laundry basket that serves as my closet. “Work clothes” are always on top, so I pull out the first things my hands touch and pull them on. I can't see what I'm wearing, but I don't really care. All I know is that the jeans are too tight and the shirt barely has enough fabric to qualify as such.

I leave my room, closing the door behind me. I flip on the hallway light, treating myself only because there might still be shards of a broken bottle from last night on the floor. The wooden floor creaks a little every time I take a step, reminding me of how empty the house is.

I cross the hall to the living room. Fast forward three hours from now and my father will be passed out on the couch, decorating it with beer stains, the glow from the TV illuminating his bloodshot face.

For a moment, the image of my dad lying wasted on the couch is so vivid that I almost believe he's really there. And suddenly, red-hot anger courses through my body, through my arms, down my legs, right to my fingers and toes. I want to take a beer bottle and smash it over his head. I want to slap him until he gets his butt off the couch and starts acting like an adult.

Get over yourself already. Just because Mom left you doesn't give you an excuse to turn into an alcoholic. People divorce all the time—that's life. Just because you lost your job doesn't mean you can't pay the bills. Get a job, pay the rent. Find a wife, get a life.

Grow up. Because at sixteen, I shouldn't have to.

Why should I be the one fixing the leaky sink because we're too poor to hire a plumber? Why should I have to steal food from my day job because every cent I make goes toward the bills you don't pay. I work two jobs just to keep up, on top of school. Speaking of school! Do you know the kind of reputation one gets when she's no longer a virgin? Do you know what abuse I go through—every—single—day.

No, you don't. Neither do they.

And they care just about as much as you do.

I squeeze my eyes shut to stop the tears I can feel burning under my eyelids. You will not cry, I tell myself. Whatever feelings I have bottled up inside have to stay that way, at least for tonight. When I come home, I can lock myself in my room and cry and scream my throat raw. But right now, there's work to do and a stack of bills that isn't getting smaller.

One foot in front of the other, that's how I make my way across the living room. My feet have been traded for cinder-blocks. My arm feels like lead as I open the door. A cool breeze sends goosebumps down my bare arms, making me wish I had a jacket. I step outside, like I have many times before, on my way to another day at work.

Join the Discussion

This article has 8 comments. Post your own now!

Aderes18 said...
May 30, 2011 at 5:22 am

I really like this story!! :)

I really like this piece. It's written very well. :) 

I have a question: Is the girl supposed to be a prostitute? 

Jsweetness replied...
May 30, 2011 at 8:50 am
Thx=)...and yes she is a prostitute
EmilyGram said...
Mar. 19, 2011 at 1:25 am
Wow!  Very interesting!  The introduction of the narrator's character is really well done, because the reader gets to piece it together instead of being told outright.  Towards the end we don't really have the same luxury because it does read a little like a rant, but your final conclusion is really descriptive.  Also, some of your phrasing is really nice, such as "Get a job, pay the rent. Find a wife, get a life," and "barely has enough fabric to qualify as such."  Thos... (more »)
lilmartz This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 19, 2011 at 2:11 pm
This is pretty good! However, the last sentence in the first paragraph is missing a "be" between "already" and "roaming." I have to agree with Just.A.Dream, while I did enjoy the story, I do feel like there isn't a whole lot to it. Detail, action, and maybe specific events (other than her just getting ready for work) would help make this more wholesome. Don't worry, though, this is really good. Keep Writing :)
Just.A.Dream said...
Feb. 17, 2011 at 4:51 pm

This is a good start, but it feels like the story isn't completed. I'd add more action to it. Right now, it seems more like a rant than a story. But it's a good start. :)

I like the way you talk about the mom and dad. The way she expresses how she feels about her parents is amazing. I love it.

And when you talk about her crying at the end, it tugged at my heart strings. It was so sad and sweet! I loved that part!

You have a great talent for writing, so keep up the good wo... (more »)

nisirocks said...
Feb. 16, 2011 at 4:17 pm
I love this! It was put together perfectly :) I hope to see alot more stories like this. :)
Jsweetness replied...
Feb. 16, 2011 at 4:48 pm
thanks=). i don't know if i have any other stories quite like this one, but i have written another article (it's pretty short so don't worry=P) called invisible girl, if your interested. if there's anything you'd like me to comment on i'd be happy too=)
EmilyGram replied...
Mar. 19, 2011 at 1:26 am
Could you please comment on my sci-fi novel White Ribbon?
bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback