The pitter-patter of heavily pouring rain clashed with the comforting silence of her childhood home as Diana sat in her usual spot at the dining table, absently chewing on some cornflakes with milk while her mind constantly flew off to other places, bound by the worries no young woman of her age should ever have.
Her large green eyes glazed over, absently staring at the small rivulets of water trailing down the window as the prospect of another day of non-stop working hung so heavy on her slender shoulders, chased away over and over again by that sole thought; the wellbeing of her mother.
She had to, she had to keep going, for the sake of her mother’s healthcare and both their day-by-day lives since there was no one else; they had no one else to take care of them, after her father’s untimely and completely unexpected demise.
It was only the second year since she’s been forcefully pushed in charge, settled at the reins of their household as her beloved mother fell ill with one of the world’s most dangerous sicknesses, yet it felt like so much longer...
Such long time since she’d firstly started working, struggling so hard to keep up with the bills and the costs for her mother’s treatments, barely managing to survive day after day as the small pension her mother received as help for her illness barely covered anything at all, leaving her to fight by herself, even making her take a two-year break from her college classes as she obviously couldn’t even pay for them anymore...
So with one last spoon of her cornflakes, she then rose from her chair and walked around the table to place the bowl into the sink, checking the time on her phone before she hurried to the front door and took her raincoat from the hanging post, bidding her mom goodbye in a shout as her mom was still upstairs as usual, resting in her bed.
Taking the keys of her father’s old beat-up Honda, she then rushed outside on their driveway and quickly got in the car as the rain was still pouring, taking off straight to her working place right after.
Crossing her arms over her chest in order to preserve some heat since it was still cold outside -despite the month currently displayed in the calendar- she then hurried to get to the employee’s entrance of the coffee shop, feeling her teeth slightly chattering as well, even though it was only a two-minute walk from her parking spot.
Once inside, she made sure to remove the excessive wetness from her boots in a simple wipe against the mat then walked to the staff’s tiny changing room, the said space rather fitting for a broom closet as it barely contained two average-sized people.
Trying to spend as less time as possible, she didn’t waste a second longer and took off her coat and purse, nicely hanging them before putting on her pastel pink apron, choosing to put up her long caramel tresses into a ponytail as they were still wet after her quick walks to and from the car.
The amazing smell of freshly brewed coffee hit her nostrils as soon as she exited the changing room, greeted by the presence of her fellow colleague.
“Hey Di,” The lanky brunette smiled as he approached her, giving her a quick hug with only one arm as the other was already holding onto a silvery tray.
“Hi Dan,” She smiled back at her best friend and co-worker, together walking to the serving counter.
“How’s mom?” He asked, as usual since he was obviously familiar with Diana’s situation, the two of them being used to talk and hang out quite often, work or not.
“Good. She’s hanging in there,” She blurted out, seemingly rather trying to convince herself as her slightly wobbling lips struggled to mantain that nice smile whilst her mind kept reminiscing all those sleepless nights and every single time she had ended up in an ER with her mom after one of her truly frightening coughing fits.
The male only gave her another warm smile, comfortingly touching her shoulder before he filled his tray with the next order and made his way to the serving area.
Finishing to dry up the last porcelain cup, her weary eyes shifted to the pink cup-shaped clock on the wall, a tired sigh escaping her lips as she realized it was time to go to her second job.
“Dan, I’m done!” She shouted to her friend who was busy arranging some frozen cakes in the freezer for the next day.
“Okay hun you can go now, I’ll finish up here!” She heard him shout back from the storage room as he obviously knew all about Diana’s second job and how she had to be in time there everyday since her other employer, Anya wasn’t as understanding or lenient as Mr. Andrew, the owner of the coffee shop was.
So without wasting a second more, she hurried to the changing room to take off her apron and gather her coat and purse, shouting a quick “bye” to her friend Dan once she’d finished and was already at the back door, ready to go.
“Bye hun!” She heard him respond right before she stepped outside into the cool evening air, noticing the last few sunrays shily peeking from behind a grey building.
Stiffling a yawn, she lightly stretched her back as she was already feeling a little tired since she’d had a busy day at the coffee shop with the heavy rain and all that, the strong coffee she had for herself earlier not exactly helping either.
Quickly scanning her access card at the main entrance, she then rushed to the elevator and pushed the button for the top floor.
As soon as the elevator doors closed, she sighed and pressed her back against the cool metal wall behind her, allowing herself to take a few calming breaths and gather whatever was left of her energy, preparing herself for all the cleaning and scrubbing she’ll have to go through for a whole freaking floor.
Her eyelids fluttered closed, losing herself in some of the beautiful memories she had with her mom and dad, almost failing to even hear the “ding” signalling that the elevator doors had opened, her brief daydreaming now completely crushed by the harshness of her cruel reality.
Straightening herself up, she then crossed the whole floor and all the way towards the staircase and into the cleaning supplies room, leaving her coat and purse but shoving her phone into one of her jeans’ back pockets -just in case her mother would call- then took everything she needed into a wheeling cart.
Heading to the bathroom area first, she then took her gloves and started cleaning up, going for the stalls first.
She was halfway through with the scrubbing of a toilet seat when her phone suddenly rang, her heart jumping at the thought that her mom might be having yet another one of her episodes.
Throwing the scrubbing brush and one of her protection gloves away, she fished out the phone from her pocket, surprised to see her employer’s name lighting up the screen instead.
“Miss Anya? Is-”
“Starting from tomorrow, we will need you to come in the mornings as well,” The nasal voice quickly said from the other end before she could even finish her sentence, effectively cutting her off.
The whole bathroom fell silent for a few seconds as she firstly struggled to process what she just heard, her green eyes quickly widening right after.
“What? But I-I can’t! You know I have another job I have to go to!” She explained, almost crying at the thought of leaving her job at the coffee shop for this one. Even if Mr. Andrew didn’t pay her too much, she loved working there and her co-workers as well. They were all like a big family to her.
“Oh...Well then, I guess we’ll have to let you go then, darling. We can’t be keeping around staff that can’t even grace us with their presence whenever we need them...”
The line went dead as soon as she heard that last sentence, her shoulders slumping in defeat as she began to quietly sob.