“I'm sorry to say this, but we have to fire you,” says the manager of a clothing store where I'm working. Taking in a deep breath, I say, hoping I just misheard her. “I might have heard you wrong, Mrs. Perez. May you please repeat it?”
She announces it again and I pale. No. I can't be fired. She must be pranking me. My mind drifts to my three-year-old son—the fruit of the night of bliss I shared with the man four years ago.
“You're joking, right?” I ask as sweat starts to ooze out of the pores on my forehead. She has done this before on my birthday, but the thing is, it's not my birthday today. And the look on her face says nothing but helplessness; she, too, is helpless in the situation that the company is facing.
She shakes her head.
I go home, unable to process the fact that I just got fired—that my plan to save up for my sonʼs future has been robbed away just like that. Where am I going to find a job again? There's no way I'm going to rely on my parents. I was a burden for months when I resigned two years ago. Am I going to spiral back to that situation again?
My parents told me to contact the man who impregnated me and my response to them is always: that's not going to happen. And even if I want to, I don't have his number, I don't even know his name. I haven't heard a word from him since I left him in that room, which has me wondering sometimes; did he even find me? What if I stayed there? What if I let him kiss me? What if I didn't cower? When I found out I was pregnant, I didn't know how to react, but I remember I was excited but mostly afraid and nervous. When I told my parents about my pregnancy, they all jumped with excitement and happiness, but not until I told them it was a one-night stand but later on, they just learnt to accept it.
My parents live next door, so every time I went to work, I left my son to them. They treat my son like it's my younger brother, they even teach him to call them dad and mom and I know the reason why: they don't want my son to feel the feeling of not having his father beside him while he's growing up.
Sometimes, I even think about swallowing my pride and finding his dad because I know in the future he's going to ask me about him. And when that happens, what am I going to tell him? But for now, I opt to not think about it.
I enter my house. It's a brick house and it's tiny; there's only a small living room, open kitchen, and two bedrooms. It was built during the course of my pregnancy. It was my parentsʼ idea to build a house right beside their house because they didn't want me away from them while I was carrying a child in me. I had planned to just rent an apartment and I would just find a job but they got mad at me so I didn't have a choice but to live with them while waiting for the house to be finished.
I head straight to my bedroom and sit on the edge of my bed while I think about what I'm going to do and how I'm going to tell my parents that the company I was working for is in bankruptcy. That's why they had to fire me. I stand up and head toward the back of the door to sling my bag on a hook before I head back to the bed and open my laptop. There must be jobs I can find on the internet. I open my social media account , but when almost an hour has passed and I still can't find an appropriate job, I close my laptop and put it away from me. I heave a deep breath before I stand up and make my way out of the room to get a pitcher of water. I come back minutes later and try looking for jobs again.
I'm not going to show up to my parents and my child jobless. After about two hours of my eyes exposed to the screen of my laptop, a job finally piques my interest; a maid. I click it and read its description. It says that they are looking for a handmaid between the ages of twenty-five and thirty. I'm already twenty-eight. If I let this chance slip away, I might regret it in the future. I read the location indicated below the description, it's six miles away, which is great. It's actually nearer than my previous job, and the salary has me immediately calling the number provided in the description. Fifteen thousand dollars a month? Damn. Just how wealthy are they?
It rings for about three seconds before a voice of a man greets my ear.
“Who is this?” he asks with an accent which I think is an Italian accent if not french. He sounded annoyed, like I just interrupted him with something important.
I actually dated a french guy before, but it didn't work. He was drunk almost every day, and he even almost hit me when I didn't agree to have s*x with him. At first, he was a girl's dream come true for a guy, but then later on, he became a nightmare. I left him before he really had the chance to hit me. If I stayed with him, perhaps, I would become his punching bag now, and it would be difficult for me to leave him, as I foresee that I would be a masochist.
I clear my throat. “Good day, sir, may I know if the job is still available?” I ask as I subconsciously nibble my lower lip, hoping they're still hiring.
He's silent for a moment before he says, as though he's in a hurry, or maybe it's just his accent, “Yes. Come here tomorrow at one in the afternoon. You don't have to bring your resume.”
I feel my eyes gleam in happiness at what I just heard.
“Okay, sir. Thank you.”
He hangs up the call after I said that. I take a picture of the location before I close my laptop and put it away. I charge my phone before I leave my room and head to my parentsʼ house.
Since I caught Lev cheating, I haven't heard a word from him. But my parents told me that he showed up at their house, looking for me. He actually showed up three times, but every time he came I was always at work. My parents told me that he hadn't shown up again since the last time he turned up. I didn't ask my parents about it, they just shared it with me.
They don't know Lev cheated on me, but they knew that we broke up. Perhaps, they thought we broke up because I cheated on lev since I got pregnant with someone else.
I talk to my parents and have my son eat cereal with milk. When they ask me why I'm early, I lie to them. I tell them that they are redesigning the interior of the building. That's why we're closed temporarily, and they seem to have fallen for it. I plan to tell them the truth once I get hired for this job I'm eyeing right now.
They're going to visit my aunt, my mom's sister. They ask me if I'm going to tag along but I say no because I have something important to do. I linger in the house for about an hour and half before I go back to my house with my son. I put my son in his crib in the living room so that I can cook my dinner. I usually eat with my parents but since they're going to my Aunt, I'll be eating in solitary with my son. When I'm done, I let the food get a little bit cold on the dining table as I check my son. He's currently playing with his toys. My son only inherited the color of eyes. He must have gotten the rest of his features from his dad: his hair, lips, nose, and long eyelashes. I can already tell that a lot of women are going to fight just to be with him in the future.
After I eat my dinner in the living area, I make my way to my room to check my phone, and I knit my brows when I see there are missed calls from the number I called earlier. I hastily plug my phone out, leaving the charger still plugged into the outlet. Why did they call me? I dial the number. It rings a bit longer before someone finally answers it.
“Glad that you called back. I just want you to inform that you're not going tomorrow—”
“Wait—What?” Have they hired someone else already? I notice, it is not the man I talked with earlier. This one, I can still hear an accent, but it's barely audible and he doesn't sound annoyed and in a rush.
“Calmati. Let me finish, okay?” I nibble my lower lip.
“Come here on Monday at one o'clock as we're not available tomorrow.”
I let out a sigh of relief before I respond, “Okay.”
“All right. See you on Monday, ciao.”