There are two kinds of people in this world.
One who is living their lives, and the other who is just trying to survive.
Well, I fall in the latter category.
But I am not complaining because life is good.
Only I wish there was just a little bit less struggling. But it’s okay. I will manage, just like I have been managing for almost all my life.
Rubbing my hands over my tired face, I try to shake off the sleep from my eyes. Covering my mouth with the back of my hand, I yawn and then momentarily close my eyes.
I almost bang my head against the door when I slightly doze off. Shaking my head, I open my eyes wide and blink furiously to wake myself.
When I am sure that I am fully awake, I enter the room and switch on the lights.
“Rise and shine, chipmunk.” Smiling widely, I walk towards the bed.
“Good morning, Juju.” Ivan gives me a sleepy smile and lifts his arm in my direction.
Removing washed-out Bob the builder covers, I pick him up and settle him on my hip.
“Did you sleep well?” Kissing his cheek, I comb his messy hair with my fingers.
“Yes, I dreamed of mama and papa.” Nodding his head, he smiles happily. However, his smile breaks my heart a little because no matter how much I try, I will never be able to fulfill their absence.
“Yeah, that’s so great, bud.” Forcing a smile on my face, I hug him tightly.
A slight whimpering sound turns my attention to the source of this sound. And instinctually, my smile turns natural as my eyes land on the angelic face of my Lily.
“Good morning, darling.” Sitting on the bed, I open my other arm as Lily crawls into my lap.
Ivan and Lily are my elder sister Amanda’s children. Two years back, she and her husband died in the house fire when Ivan was four and Lily was two years old.
Amanda and Henry were high school sweethearts. When they found out Amanda was pregnant with Ivan, they both got married.
Henry took up a job at construction, while Amanda worked as a waitress at a local cafe. They had a beautiful life, and I was truly happy for Amanda that she found the happiness which she deserved.
Unfortunately, a fire that was caused by a short circuit ruined a perfect little family by taking two lives and leaving two small children without their parents.
After their death, I got custody of Ivan and Lily because Henry was an orphan, and after our mother’s death, we didn’t have anyone else other than each other.
Even though we have lost our mom to cancer, I feel it’s not cancer but our poverty that took her life. If we could afford a good treatment, then maybe she would have been alive, or at least her death would have been a little peaceful.
She had surrendered herself to fate because she knew there was nothing that could have been done for her. Losing the only parent was devasting, and no matter how much she had prepared us for her death, it never lessened the pain.
Amanda and I have been each other's support since mom's death. We have been tossed here and there in different homes. But we were glad that no one separated us. Amanda was the first one to leave, being the older one by two years. But she promised me that she would come back for me, and she fulfilled her promise.
She got my custody and soon freed me from that hell. Henry took the place of an older brother in my life and supported us in every way he could.
Their sudden death shattered me, but for the sake of these kids, I put myself together and learned to live again.
Since then, I have been trying my best to give these children a good life.
I never want them to go through the hardships my sister, and I faced, especially during our childhood.
That’s why I have made a promise to myself that I will do everything in my power to make sure their life is filled with happiness and love.
Huffing out a breath, I push the pile of bills away and place my head on the wooden table feeling exhausted. The budget is extremely tight this month, and I don't know how I am going to manage the rest of the month because after paying these bills, there will hardly be any money left. But thankfully, at least, I don't have to worry about paying rent.