I sit Indian style on the plush white sofa, swirling my mocha colored coffee and looking into the sunrise. The view from the living room is breathtaking. Ten floor - to - ceiling windows span the length of the room, offering a one - of - a kind view of the blurred sun rising over skyscrapers. This room is undoubtedly my favorite out of the whole penthouse apartment. The couch I am perched on is supposed to face the west wall, loosely sandwiching the starkly contrasting ebony coffee table between itself and the media cabinet. The rest of the vast room lies empty, achieving, as Mother says, a “modernly minimalistic” theme. However, whenever she is not here, which is most days, I push the couch to face the windows. Nothing makes me feel as happy as the sunrise. It’s one of the few constantly present aspects of my life - a reminder that every day is a chance for things to get better, for things to change.
I lift the white cup to my pink lips, tipping the warm liquid into my mouth. The beverage instantly warms me, chasing away the coldness of an empty house. After a couple of swigs, I nestle the cup in the space between my bare thighs and adjust my pajama tank top. I wiggle my bare toes as the heat diffuses in my body, warming every inch of my newly awake body. A contented sigh escapes my throat and I attempt to pull my shorts a bit further down to cover my goose bumped skin.
Today’s the first day of summer. My first year of high school ended yesterday. Most people would be excited to escape the overcrowded hallways and stiff uniforms, but all summer break offers me is the harsh reality of being alone. Granted, I was always alone, but the dull roar of students allowed me to trick myself into believing that I wasn’t. In all fifteen plus years of my life, I have only ever made one actual friend. Everyone else is either too afraid of Mother to consider getting to know me or too busy trying to impress her.
Maria, the daughter of the head maid, is the only exception. She’s a couple of years older than me and comes over every time her mother does her weekly cleaning. For five hours on Saturday, I can let loose and spend time with my best friend. But every other day I stay in this too - white, too - empty house.
Mother hardly ever comes home. She spends most nights asleep on the futon in her office or in some hotel in a foreign country. As the CEO of a booming company, she barely has time to eat, let alone spend time with her only daughter.
I pick up my cup again and down the rest of the coffee in a single swig, chasing those thoughts away. I decided to ignore my mother’s negligence years ago. There’s no point in dwelling on something I can’t change.
The sun has mostly risen at this point and I decide to get another cup of coffee. I begrudgingly get up from the couch and pad into the connected kitchen, cringing slightly when the soles of my feet connect with the white tile. The chill urges me to work faster. I pour the French roast into the cup, snatch the creamer from the stainless steel fridge and pour a generous amount into the cup until the coffee turns the same color as my mocha skin. I also add two packets of sugar. One good stir and the coffee is ready to go. I lift the cup into the microwave. It beeps seconds later, but before I can grab it, I hear the familiar tune of my ringtone.
I let out an annoyed sigh and head into my room, the only place in this house with color. I unplug my Samsung from the wall and answer it, knowing it’s her by the ringtone.
“Hello?” I ask, attempting to sound jolly.
“Venus. What have I told you time and time again? You know how busy I am! I don’t have time to wait for you to pick up the phone!”
“I apologize, Mother. What can I help you with?” I ask, used to her fussing.
“Your principal called, explaining that you received some award for something or another, I don’t remember what. Anyway, it sounded important, so I thought we’d celebrate.”
For a moment, I let myself have hope. Maybe my academic award made her proud enough to make time for me.
“However, I don’t have time for a dinner. So that band you mentioned, the Japanese one? I bought a ticket for you and the head maid’s daughter you seem fond of. I’ll email them. I have to go.” She said in one breath, nearly cutting herself off by hanging up the phone.
I stare at my phone, trying to figure out if what I heard was actually what she said. The only “Japanese band” she could mean would be Eclipse, the K-pop group I have recently gotten into. I had mentioned them to her a couple of times, but I doubt she was paying any attention. However, moments later I receive an email from Shelly, Mother’s assistant. Attached are two tickets for Eclipse’s concert next Saturday, seven days from now.
I quickly text Maria, my coffee instantly forgotten.