It had been such an odd year, so much had happened to bring this heavy, sudden conclusion. A new year to remember. But I have to go back to the summer, the wettest on record
My mother was dead; I was barely twenty five and attending a humid funeral, a discomfort for all the attendees, and a sickening loss for me. An only child, my father murdered when I was just a three, and I could barely remember a memory with him. Alone in a world where loneliness hit like a bitter winter, enclosing around you, all I wanted was a warm fire to reassure me, to reinstate some faith in humanity.
A Southern England girl, growing up in a small country town, we wanted to see the world, me and my mother. We had just recently decided to move to America, moving to a small town a couple of hours from New York. After a holiday here, we wanted to live a new way of life, and I hardly had any friends back home anyway, most of them had moved on without me. After College they all did, so I was up for the change. We'd decided on summer visits home to see everyone once a year, well of course that never happened, mother was too ill by then.
I'm just a writer, I just wanted my big break, and I didn't want to believe that my mother, my guide, my friend was dead and gone. I buried her under American soil, miles from my father's resting place, another reason that I would return to England again…someday.
I wanted to see them again, so badly, my heart yearned for the reassuring hug, her voice, her laugh, me making her laugh. She was so strong, about everything, my father's mysterious murder, raising me alone, every trouble a teen faces growing up.
I went home, there was no gathering party after the funeral, I couldn't afford to cater for anyone, let alone myself. Curled up on my sofa, I was not crying, not moving just thinking. I needed to get out, this town, this place, I was trapped and I knew it, I had enough money to move on perhaps, get a bed sit in the city perhaps…
How could I make any money if I couldn't write, if I couldn't get published? That was when I knew, I needed to leave
And I did.
Within the space of a month I was out of my home, it was scooped up pretty quickly, all my belongings in the back of my car, a battered grey 1990 ford escort, puffing and panting along the highway, the pointless, unimportant items were sold off leaving me a bit more in my pocket.
I'd found a tiny apartment in downtown Manhattan, perhaps not the safest of places but it was top floor apartment, 5b, of a 5 story house and to me, being high up, in the dark streets of the city felt oddly safer. There was parking to the east of the building, round the back but I kept nothing valuable in my car and it was highly unlikely anyone would want to steal the old thing; its scrap metal would hardly be worth a penny.
My landlady looked at me and shook my hand; her old face seemed friendly enough.
"Kimberly Harlington?" Her voice was sweet, she smiled at me.
"I'm Marsha Jackson, my husband isn't here right now, his name's Donnie."
"It's a pleasure to meet you, this building is huge, and you've kept it looking great." I took the keys she offered to me.
"Oh yeah, me and my husband have ran this for thirty years, kept it looking nice because, well, I assume you noticed the rest of the street." I nodded and smiled.
"But how do you keep it so clean and neat?"
"I did have help, she used to take care of the halls, me and my husband aren't as able as we once were."
"What happened to her?"
"She left." Her face fell, annoyance radiated from her and I felt bad for bringing it out.
"Oh I'm sorry."
There was a brief pause between us and then, I saw the change in her expression.
"What brought you to Manhattan, you're English I assume…the accent?" she looked me up and down, prying in her posture.
"Errm, I'm a writer, I want to try and get published, me and my mother moved here earlier this year."
"You got a job?"
"Well, are you counting writing?"
"Not if you're not published, how are you gonna pay for the rent?"
I considered this, realising that she had a perfect point, I wouldn't get published instantly, I had enough money to pay for a couple of months but what then. My need to leave had over-come my common sense and had somehow left me stranded in the city, oh god-
"Do you want a job?" Marsha asked. I looked at her in disbelief, doing what?
"Housekeeper, I need someone to do a job, you need a job. It works out perfectly, and your rent will then go paid for. Simple sweetie, I'm sure you can clean, and help out me and Mr Jackson.
"Thank you so much." I said nodding; I shook her hand, my eyes wide with surprise, confusion and happiness.
"Get yourself moved in, you start tomorrow, weekends off, eight to five weekdays and leaving you time to write. Thank you for accepting. My luck just turned for the better honey." She turned into her room, shutting the door behind herself, not knowing how she just rescued me from the hole I'd gotten myself into before I'd even started.
I moved myself in, going back and forth from my car, I was quick about it. Everything was in my apartment, boxed up and piled by the door, two apartments per floor, small but cosy.
There was one main room with the kitchen, with a breakfast bar separating the kitchen from the sitting area. A door leading off to a small bathroom and on either side of that door was two others, the one to the left was the bedroom, and the other was a cupboard.
My bedroom was nice, there was a cheap pine bed-frame with a newish mattress there, a couple of sheets over it and I'd be fine. The huge windows to the left of the room opened out onto a small roof terrace, climbing through, I sat out and watched the purple sky as the sun set over the city. There, towering high above was the Stark tower, the home of the famous, billionaire scientist Tony Stark. Also housed there were The Avengers, the world famous superhero team.
NYC sure had a lot of heroes…
I felt pride when I saw the tower, knowing that I was just a few blocks away from heroes, who saved the earth not long ago.
I spent all night unpacking; I wanted a nice welcoming home to come back to after tomorrow work. I wanted to sit at my laptop and write the story of a lifetime, the tale all wanted to read. I just wanted to have a published copy of my book sitting on my shelf at home and being able to look at it and say that I was published. I wanted to make my parents proud.