My classes got over at 12:30 pm so I drove back to my apartment so that I can go to work. I usually worked at a book store/handicrafts/ art supplies store as a cashier or a helper from 1 pm t0 4:30 pm and from 5 pm to 11 pm as a waitress at Gillis.
I dropped my folders and my study material on my table, changed my outfit into something more comfortable, washed my face, moisturised it and grabbed a bagel as I dashed out of my apartment and rode to the store.
“Good afternoon Mrs. Smith,” I say to the lady who owns the shop. She was such a lovely lady who was about 55-60 years old and she was a mother figure to me.
“Raven dear, how lovely to see you so cheerful,” she says hugging me and I hugged her back. She smelled like vanilla and her hug was so warm. She was not too fat or too thin. She had brown hair which was slowly greying and she was shorter than me.
“So Ms. Smith how is everything going now?” I ask because she didn’t have anyone else. Her husband had died few years back because of heart attack and she had no kids.
“Everything’s fine dear. I just have to check for my sugar level today,” she said and I go over to her and take the device from her hand and check it for her. It was usually my routine to do so.
“It’s normal Mrs. Smith,” I say and I go back to my place as the cashier. It was a pretty huge and successful store and I enjoyed working here. Mrs. Smith didn’t trust anyone here, so she usually did the entire job herself or trusted me with it. She had employed other people too but she didn’t trust them.
I billed some books and art supplies and helped people around as someone else took my place as a cashier.
“Umm, can you tell me if the new book I ordered is available?” a boy asked and I nod handing him the book he had wanted for so long. He smiles and walks away. I start re-arranging all the books and get down.
“Hey,” I heard someone behind me and I turned around. I saw a man probably in his mid 20s or early 30s, with brown hair, brown eyes and very tall man smiling at me.
“How can I help you?” I ask because it was my job to help customers.
“I need direction to the oil painting category,” he said and I nod leading him to the aisle. He smiles and I recognised him as a regular customer.
“Miss...,” he drifted off and I look at him.
“Call me Raven,” I say and he nods.
“Raven, I am Dan Hardy, a local artist. I am a regular customer here and I have seen you work. I am so sorry but you looked so beautiful and graceful that I had to make this for you,” he said handing out a medium sized canvas board and I take it from him.
I tear the paper covering it and look at a portrait of me in a candid shot while working here. I looked lost in my own thoughts and I was smiling in this.
“This is beautiful,” I say and he smiles. He takes his art supplies and I bill his amount.
“Thank you so much Mr. Hardy,” I say and he walks out of the store smiling.
“That is a beautiful piece of art dear,” Mrs. Smith said looking at the portrait I was holding and I let her have it.
“Mrs. Smith,” I say as she looked so lost in her thoughts while looking at my portrait.
“You know dear, you are such a young and beautiful girl. This piece of art captured that moment. You fill out the space in my life as a daughter,” she said and I hugged her. I was in tears.
I had not felt welcomed in any one’s life after the incident which took place in my life about 2 years ago. No one wanted me and Mrs. Smith knows all about it.
“Mrs. Smith, since I am like your daughter can I call you Mum?” I ask and she nods and I hug her again. It has been so long since I have called someone like that even though my mother is alive.
“So, I am willing to give you this portrait because I do not know what to do with this and I think it is better off with you,” I say and she nods walking in to her house, which is right next door with my portrait and I smile.
I heard something fall and break so I rushed to see what it was. I saw a nice porcelain figure broken and was lying on the ground. This was such a beautiful one, I always loved it. This figure wasn’t even on sale. This was put on the desk next to the computer where we bill items because I spent most of my time here and it reminded me of home.
“I am so sorry, I will replace it. I will pay for it,” someone said and I looked up to find Chris. So he was the one who dropped it.
“This is not about money,” I say kneeling down to pick it up. Tears formed in my eyes because this was the only thing I had to remind myself of home and I decided to keep it here because I loved working here.
“I am so sorry Raven,” he said bending down to pick it up too and I snatched it away from him.
“Why do you keep following me? I asked you to leave me alone,” I say trying to fix the porcelain figure.
“I-I just want to help you. You look so sad-,” he said and I stood up staring at him.
“You cannot fix something that is broken just like this figure. You cannot help me or fix me just like you can’t fix this,” I say walking away from him leaving the figure behind because I didn’t know what to do with it anymore. I cried for a few minutes because I was broken like that figure.
I was broken and no one can fix me.