the short story project


Draven Barber


The day was unrelenting to her. She felt it on her way to work. That sudden numb feeling that your mind gets before you slowly begin to have a silent mental breakdown. She knew it was coming too. First with the car breaking down and dying on her in the middle of the freeway, forcing her to pull over on the wrong side of the road no less, then the boy she swooned over-knocking her on her ass and giving a slight bruise to her emotions… Only to cover it up with the laughter of a band-aid.

Next came the uncovering of a child’s falsehoods, finding a rather charming and wholesome home, rather than the controlling abusive environment she so handsomely told. All this before a mornings cup of tea, and a finished destination. Her body heaved at the thought of even having to get up and out the door where she’d have to willfully and happily slave herself away to a “give me more I’m still not satisfied” kind of boss; and the same customers to boot.

        But never-the-less, she clocked herself in, put on the apron and hairnet, and got to work. The smiling faces, and given concern gave light to her dim felt morning and everything started to get just a little better. The day moved on quicker than she expected, but as dim felt mornings happen and eventually begin to turn, the anger kicked in as she was forced to  listen to the wants and laughter of her co-workers as she ran her arms across her hands, then her hands into each other. Only to realize that her burns and scars turned her skin into rough sandpaper that only she could feel. And as she stared off into the distance she noticed all of the life around her, she couldn’t help but wonder where her time went throughout the day and where her all of a sudden tiredness came from. Coffee and tea ran their course as she rolled up her sleeves and sighed with the persistence of the customers. With their needless wants and rants over chicken dipped in oil and cranked to high heat, only then to be laid out under a hot lightbulb to sit and dry itself out. It sits there for hours, and they gobble it up as if it was their last meal on earth, all the while she gets covered in burns from the excitement of the oil and cut from the frozen boxes. Everyday she leaves with more sand to cover the softness of her hands and a further disgust for people and their obsession with food designed to clog their arteries. Not a single one of them makes any sort of sense. But the days roll all into one and the cycle continues until a days rest begins, where you can press the restart button and start all over.

       She had three hours left, as she saw someone that she used to know. This girl used to be one of her closest friends, as she watched her hastily grab the peaches without properly picking them. Trying her best to not look noticeable- and epically failing at the task. She felt bad, not because her and the girl didn’t know each other anymore- but because the girl was under the impression that by trying to avoid her; she would actually hurt her feelings. That girl was dead to her. But that was just the boost she needed to smile. She was reminded of hard times and how she surpassed it and she’ll do it again. This was far less than her past encounters.
       Time passed by and the clock was five ’till getting the fuck outa here, and low and behold; she’s called up to the office and given a days suspension. Apparently she was late more times than she’d thought. And home she went. She pulled the typical stereotype of a sad/frustrated girl with a spoon full of ice cream in her mouth paired with a Hershey’s chocolate bar, watching some chick flick show- but then she got bored of her self pity and decided to work out. She was in the prime age of 25 and running across a room back and forth for a minute felt like a marathon. She, to make matters seem tedious, was also out of shape, and did yoga as an attempt to feel somewhat better. Yoga she found was not her friend. The stretch was that of a pulled muscle, which she could bear but the tears. The tears of the pent up emotion from the past two weeks of hurt, stress, and exhaustion- came crawling out with forceful sobs as she breathed herself in and out of harmony with her body. Her shower relaxed her and she returned to the chick flicks, made some boohoo phone calls, all to which helped relieve her- friends, you see, are a wonderful thing. And the right and true ones, should always be cherished, it didn’t stop her from curling into a ball and crying a little more, but it or they reminded her that she would be okay.

       Her roommate came home and gifted her with sweets and lovely stories of his day at work, while she waited for the lightning storm to be captured by her shitty ass camera, she got some good pictures. None were to her satisfaction, but they were good pictures none-the-less. Her day, numbed out in the beginning and she stretched herself through her breakdown, cried and wrote it off
before the nights end.

Now she just had four more days left to get to that restart button.


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