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The Day Before Yesterday
Blackness… that’s all I saw. Complete and utter nothingness, until I heard a knock on a door coming from some unknown place. Suddenly, everything was clear. I was in my small, empty apartment again like nothing had changed. I slowly and cautiously walked over to the front door. Peering out the window to ketch a glimpse of the person on the other side of the door, I saw a man and I instantly felt drawn to him. I opened the door and automatically fell into his arms.
That’s all that’s clear to me now. Everything else is a bit blurry.
A friendly looking nurse had been standing anxiously next to me, reading something held on a clipboard in her hand. I opened my eyes and was immensely confused.
“Don’t worry, sweetie. Everything is fine. We’re gonna get you dressed and in to a psychologist as soon as possible to explain all of this to you,” the nurse told be gently . “Can you sit up?” she asked me. I slowly moved my upper body upward in an attempt to sit up, but the attempt quickly turned into a failure. my head was spinning so fast it was hard for me to focus on one point for more than a few seconds.
“No rush, dear. I’ll call the doctor to come talk to you. You just rest your head for now and know that everything is okay,” the nurse swiftly walked out the door of the small room I was in. I hadn’t really taken notice of where I was. From the looks of it, I was in a hospital. The walls around me were an unappetizing puke green type color. There was a shiny flat screen TV on the wall but the volume was so low I couldn’t hear anything.I tried not to look at the TV because it was making me very dizzy again. My eye lids slowly closed and I had a few minutes of tranquil silence until the nurse’s kind voice filled my ears and my eyes opened to see a tall, benevolent looking, fair skinned man, wearing a cream colored coat and black pants, standing in front of me, his smile reaching all the way across his face.
“Hello, Samantha. I’m Doctor Brennan. How are you feeling today?” the man asked, staring down at me with large, curious eyes. It took all the force I had just to concentrate enough to make my lips move.
“I’m very dizzy and I have a huge head ache,” I finally said in a very shy and timid voice. I had no idea how my voice would sound, I wasn’t quite sure of anything at that moment.
“Well, Samantha, you just woke up from a coma so things might still be a little fuzzy. Do you remember your birthday?” Suddenly everything prior to my coma flooded back into my memory. I remembered a few days ago, my boyfriend and I had gotten into a huge fight. He shoved me into a bookshelf, I slammed my head really hard and I must have fallen unconscious.
“When Trent through me into the book shelf, I went into a coma?” I asked in a small voice, still trying to sort things out in my mind.
“Yes, that’s the story the police has gotten together through evidence and the little Trent was willing to tell them. He is being held in custody until his court case,” he answered. “He seems like a pretty abusive, formidable guy from what I’ve heard. Is that true?” Feelings of abandonment and abusiveness filled my head.
After my parents died in a car crash when I was 16, Trent was the only friend I had. At the time, I was in an orphanage and no one wanted to be around me, I was constantly in a very angry, melancholy mood and I was always hurting the ones who cared about me with my actions. Trent knew how I felt; his parents were alcoholics and never really cared about him. He dropped out of high school and tried not to get into too much trouble. But for Trent, trouble always seemed to find him. I confided in him, told him everything. By the time I was 18 and old enough to move out of the orphanage and live on my own, Trent and I were inseparable. We moved into a small apartment in the city and had a pretty nice life together. A few months later, I was pregnant. Trent didn’t want a baby. He thought it was too much responsibility to take care of a child. I on the other hand desperately wanted a child. I was ecstatic when I found out I was pregnant. Trent wanted to put our child up for adoption right away and this disagreement caused a lot of arguments which turned into violence. One day, about 4 or 5 months before the baby was due, I went to the doctor for a checkup and I found out my child had died. I suffered complete depression for about a month. Trent couldn't hide his happiness. I would cry for hours and he would tell me that it was a good thing that our baby died. I would be furious at him. He would hit me and hurt me constantly when i would tell him he was useless and i didn't want him around.
The last thing i remember was Trent shoving me into the book shelf yelling "we're through, i never wanna see you again!" slamming the door, and storming out of the apartment. Even though being in a coma clouded some of my memory of this situation, the hurt and betrayed feelings i felt after he left me were still abundantly clear.
"Samantha?" the doctor asked.
"Oh, sorry. Umm, yes. Trent was very abusive but I didn't want to leave him. Somehow, i still loved him even though he caused me pain,".
It was a year after I had woken up from my coma. I had landed a job as a waitress at the diner down the street. I couldn’t afford college tuition, so I was saving every penny I got in tips and the little salary I was paid. I had gotten my most recent pay check yesterday and decided I deserved a little fun in my life. I hadn’t been shopping in months, and it would feel good to switch things up a little with some new clothes. I caught the last bus of the night and took it to the local mall. Over the past few months, I hadn’t really done much. The first few weeks it took all my effort just to stop myself from going suicidal. Whenever I’d look around my musty, old, empty little apartment, memories of Trent and our past together would cloud my mind from any other thoughts.****I wouldn’t go out much either, only every other week when I went to work at the diner. I’d mostly stay in my room and watched the crappy shows I got with no cable.
I shuffled my feet along the shiny yet scuffed up floor, letting my mind take in all that surrounded me. It took some practice to not let the snobby rich people who shoved past me like I was invisible, bother me. While walking through the crowded mall, I happened to catch a glance at a calendar. The date didn’t register in my mind until a few seconds after.
“Today’s my birthday,” I whispered. The sound got lost in the buzz of the other shoppers around me. Today, I turned 22. What did this mean? Nothing. It was just another day, nothing special. When I was living in the orphanage, from age 16 to 18, my birthdays were always exciting. It was the only day of the whole year when I felt important, like I mattered. To keep myself from dwindling on the past, I sped up my pace until I reached the little ice cream shop in the corner on the 1st floor. I bought a chocolate ice cream and then proceeded to pull out my cell phone. This number had become so familiar, dialing it almost felt automatic.
“Chelsea, its Sam. Guess what?” I spoke into the phone. Chelsea also worked at the diner and she helped me a lot through my rough days. Every time I tried to repay her for her kindness, she’d always flash me her fabulous smile that warmed my heart and say. ‘don’t worry about it, hun. One day when I’m stuck, I know you’ll be there for me without a second thought. That’s repay enough.’ She was the only friend I had and I loved her to bits.
“What’s that?” she answered, her cheerful voice filling my ear. She always sounded hopeful, even in tough times. Her positive attitude was something I admired.
“Today's my birthday, how amazing is that? I had no idea until I glanced over at a calendar in the mall.”
“Happy birthday, Sam! Where are you? I’m coming over there right now and we’re gonna celebrate!”
“Hehe,” I giggled. “I’m in the mall, lets meet at Dylan’s on the second floor,”
“Sounds like a plan. I’ll be there in like 10 minutes. Love you Sammy,”
"Love you too Chels,” I replied as I hung up the phone. After finishing my ice cream, I headed upstairs to meet Chelsea. She wasn’t here yet, so I started looking around the store for anything I liked and was reasonably priced. About 5 minutes later, I found a sweater that I absolutely loved. I was hypnotized by the shiny buttons and exotic pattern it had.
“You want? I’ll buy it,” Chelsea said as she snuck in silently behind me.
“Happy birthday, Sam,” she said, cutting me off, embracing me in a gigantic bear hug. “Now, let’s go pay for this and then grab some dinner,”
We sat, looking through the menu in Café Yum Yum, a restaurant I’d never been to before. From what I’d heard, it wasn’t the cheapest place around. While my eyes slowly grazed the list of drinks, a thought came across my mind.
“How can you afford taking me here, Chels? I thought you were broke?”
“We’ll it's your special day so I’m willing to make sacrifices. And…. My great aunt just died and I got a large chunk of her money,” she answered, shooting me a smug smile.
“How much money are we talking about? Enough so you can quit working at the diner?”
“About $7000.00. I’m thinking I can quit. How bout you? She chuckled as she peered at me from over her menu. I was speechless.
“Wow, Chelsea. I’m really happy for you,” I finally answered. My upbeat tone was hiding the conflict I was dreading to think about.
“Um, so are you gonna quit? I asked nervously. If Chelsea left, I’d probably consider quitting myself, but I desperately needed the money. An even worse thought crossed my mind. What if Chelsea decided she was better than a poor, scraggly little dead beat like myself? If she quit, she might make new, richer friends who complimented her shiny new outfits better than I did. I thought of all the fun adventures she would go on without me. The thought of losing her made my head spin. I waited for an answer from her.
“I don’t know yet. I’m still thinking that through. But you know that even if I do quit, you’ll still be my best friend, forever and always,” she finally answered as she casually flipped her bouncy, brunette curls out of her face and shot me that fantastic smile, letting me know she really did care. Chelsea was a very pretty girl. She was tall with porcelain colored skin and just the right number of freckles on her rosy cheeks. Her teeth were white as pearls and sparkled in the sunlight. Her father had been a dentist until he went bankrupt and was forced to sell his dentistry practice about 5 years ago. Chelsea had had a hard time adjusting from upper middle class to just enough money to get by. Her father is now unemployed and she is doing everything she can to make sure her parents and 2 younger sisters, one age 14 and the other age 12, can have enough money to live comfortably. I guess now that their great aunt had died, their financial situation is at least a little better.
After our delicious meal, consisting of steak and lobster with potatoes and a nice salad, we headed back into the mall, stuffed, and ready to continue our shopping.
“Hey Sam, I um have a little something for you…” Chelsea said under her breath; facing the opposite direction from me while we were sitting on a long white bench in the middle of the mall, taking a little break to rest. I could tell she was somewhat embarrassed but whatever she had for me. I pretended not to notice how quietly she was speaking and replied:
“You really didn’t have to get me anything. You already bought me that sweater,”
“No, this is different, I’m sure you’ll love it!” she replied as she held out a piece of paper, holded about eight times, so it was tiny and square. I starred at it for a few seconds and then slowly unwrapped each layer until the whole thing was unwrapped. The page was filled with writing in different sized fonts. I read the first line over and over in my head at least 10 times before reading on. It read:
Are you thinking about adopting?
The number of orphaned children in the United States has increased drastically in the past few years. We need your generosity and love to start these young children on the right path to adulthood and make sure their lives are filled with happy moments. Please open your hearts and your homes and think about adopting a baby, toddler, pre teen, or teenager from any of the 50 states. For more information, please visit us on the web at www.adoptionfirst.com or give us a call at 1-800-555-3478. Your selflessness is greatly appreciated.
I just couldn’t get over the first line. All I’d wanted for the first couple of months after my baby died was to adopt. I knew I didn’t have the money so that hope sort of fell away. If there was any way I could adopt a baby, I would without a second thought. I would give anything to hold one in my arms and know I’m making a difference in that child’s life. I know how being an orphan feels. Thinking no one will ever adopt you, no one wants you in their home. Changing that one child’s life would mean more to me now at this moment in my life than anything else I could think of. A few tears slowly trickled down my hot cheeks. I swiped them away as I looked up at Chelsea and said:
“Is this some kind of joke? Chelsea you know I can’t afford to adopt a child,”
“No, you don’t understand, Sam. Your present is… well, if you decided to adopt, I will totally cover all of the fees. I know how much you want this and you’ll make a great mother to someone who needs one the most. Happy birthday,” she replied and at that moment, I knew things were gonna be okay.
It was Monday morning. I sat in one of the newly cleaned booths in the back of the diner, waiting for the breakfast rush to start trickling in. I was exhausted. Chelsea and I had been up all night, filling out adoption papers. It was okay for Chelsea because she didn’t have work today, but maybe staying up that late, doing such tedious work wasn’t the smartest choice for me.
“Sam, I hear you’re thinking of adopting,” a middle aged women wearing the black and white plaid shirt and stretchy black pants that was the diner’s uniform. Her cheeks were plump and rosy and her beach-blond hair was short and curly. She always seemed cheerful and happy, somewhat of a Mrs. Claus type character. She reminded me of Chelsea. I couldn’t even fathom having such a positive attitude every day, those two made it look so easy. I studied the women’s tone for awhile, trying to detect any signs of disgust or negativity towards my adopting. She seemed pretty genuine but I wasn’t quite sure so I simply nodded my head twice and looked down at the carpet. I hadn’t really noticed the carpet before but now that I did, I realized it was hideous, ugly patterns swirling into one another, very tacky. I heard footsteps approaching me. I slowly lifted my head, sifting my fingers through my hair, from front to back, in one swift motion. In front of me stood a tall man with a well -built body. Standing next to him was a skinny teenage girl, who looked about 16, wearing a pair of ripped jeans and a fitted, black v-neck with pick and red letters that read: Blood and Tears. I was guessing that that was the name of a band, probably of the rock/ heavy metal genre. The girl was chewing about 3 pieces of gum, her jaw chomping up and down like a cow chewing its cud. Just a typical, slightly gothic, teenager, I thought to myself as the tall man step forward slightly. This was the manager of the diner, who was also my boss.
“Sam, this is Tracy,” said Mr. Oliver as he gestured to the girl standing beside him. I looked her up and down once more, taking all of her in before hearing how she was involved in my life.
“Nice to meet you,” I said to Tracy, sticking my hand out awkwardly, ready for a handshake. Tracy completely ignored my hand. Instead she took out one of the two earphones stuck inside of her ears and gave me a quick nod, her stringy black hair pulled back in a messy side ponytail. her face was very pale, almost a transparent color.
“Tracy is going to be working here as a bus girl. Sam, I want you to train her on waitressing after hours. Tracy is Ms Greenfelt’s daughter and she wants nothing more than to see her daughter waitressing at my diner,” I could see Mr. Oliver’s face blush as he said ‘Ms Greenfelt.’ He had a huge crush on her and would do anything to make her happy, even if it meant hiring her extremely unpleasant daughter as a bus boy and turning her into a waitress. “You will enlighten her in the ways of waitressing. So, why don’t you too take this time before opening to get to know each other?” Mr. Oliver finished. Tracy’s negative vibe was not really something I wanted to be around. I wanted to attribute her melancholy attitude to her parents but considering I didn’t know them very well, I decided the only way to discover what her problem was, was to get to know her first.
“Sure thing, Mr. Oliver. C’mon Tracy, we can go in the back room and talk,” I said shyly as I motioned for her to follow me.
“Yeah, whateves,” I heard her whisper under her breathe. She reminded me a lot of myself when I was about her age, a little distraught, a little confused, and maybe even a little misunderstood.
Once inside the back room, Tracy and I sat in the wood peeling chairs. I really hated sitting back there because of the moldy smell and the feeling of gloom. The room was dimly lit and was frequently very chilly. Gathered around the small, wobbly table in the middle of the room, Tracy and I sat in silence.
“So, Tracy,” I started. “How old are you?”
“16. How old are you, 35?” she replied, her snotty tone hanging onto her words like the smell of alcohol hangs onto your breathe.
“Uh, no. actually, I just turned 22,”
“Could’ve fooled me,” Tracy said under her breathe.
“Listen, if you think that just because my boss is in love with your mom means that I will deal with your stuck up attitude and pretend like I don’t notice it, you’ve got another thing coming. The whole joyless teenager act is totally not cool anymore. So I suggest you get a serious attitude adjustment and respect me as your mentor,” a look of confusion, anger, and remorse crossed that young girls face as she looked down and pretended to change the song on her iPod. I could tell that under her hard exterior was a girl who’s heart had been hurt. I was very good at detecting emotions and hidden personalities in people. It came in handy quite often. Part of me wanted to apologize for being so hard on her and to let her know I wanted to help. But I also didn’t want to intervene in whatever drama she was going through. If she didn’t want to open up to me, I wasn’t going to force her. I decided to compromise with myself and try and dig a little deeper into Tracy’s background.
“Hey, I’m sorry for bagging on you li-,” I started to say before Tracy interrupted and said,
“Forget it. I don’t need more of that sympathy that everyone’s always trying to throw at me. Just stick to teaching me waitressing and cut the extra chit chat to a minimum, kay?” she retorted back. Well, at least I tried. If she wanted to keep to herself, it was fine by me.
“Look, the doors just opened and the morning rush should be coming in soon. Can we finish this later?”
“Fine,” she said and with that, Tracy was gone.