FLORENCE'S POINT OF VIEW
They said life is a roller coaster ride, that it's a series of sadness and happiness. We all faced challenges at some point in our life- challenges that we did not create and are beyond our control. They also said that those struggles are significant fragments of our lives, and they were bound to end. There is always a rainbow after the storm.
In my twenty-four years of existence, I've been wondering when will I see that rainbow. When will I have a taste of euphoria?
"You're fifteen minutes late today, Rence."
I look at Ali and sighed. "Sorry, I need to run some errands before going here," I responded and wear the apron hanging on the rack.
The wind chimes suddenly made a white noise, indicating that someone just entered the shop. I get a notebook before walking towards the table.
I smiled at the customer. "Welcome to City Roasters. What would you like to order, Ma'am?"
She smiled back. "I would like to have a cup of Ice cream Affogato and a Mini Cranberry Holiday Quickbread."
I wrote her order on the notebook. "That would be a total amount of 15$." She handed me her payment. "I will serve your order in less than five minutes. Enjoy your stay!"
I'm working as a part time waitress in one of the most visited cafe shop in the town.
I need to do this in order to provide my basic necessities. My parents are already dead- at least for me. The moment that I stepped outside that atrocious place, I cut all the strings connecting us. I don't want to be affiliated with them anymore.
I shook my head to drive those thoughts away. I don't want to ruin my day by reminiscing those direful and unpleasant memories.
"Florence, serve this to table eight." I turned my attention to Elyse, one of my colleague, and nodded.
When the clock's hand hits eight, we became extremely busy. Several customers poured successively. Just like what I mentioned earlier, this place is really famous to students and employees. This vintage style place is an ideal place for them to relax, with the brilliant lighting and the solemn ambiance. There is also a book corner in the left hand side of the shop where they can read books.
We almost had no rest. It's honestly exhausting, but I'm used to it. I've been doing this for five years already.
I slump wearily on the couch when my shift ended. I wipe the beads of sweat on my forehead and let out a heavy sigh.
"Damn, what a rough day," I whispered to myself.
I knead my throbbing head and momentarily closed my eyes. After resting for a bit, I change my clothes to a more comfortable one.
"Rence, Cleo invited us to a sleepover," Ali suddenly said beside me.
I shake my head. "I'll pass. Tell Cleo that I need to do something important.",
She rolled her eyes at me. "That's the exact same thing that you told me last time."
I chuckled. "I want to come but I can't. I need to visit Archer."
She sighed, understanding my situation. "Fine. But promise me that you will come with us next time!"
Ali Eicyer Vryserio, one of the people that helped me during the lowest point of my life. The woman who lends a hand when I can't even lift myself anymore. I am beyond grateful that I have her as my friend. She may look intimidating, but she has a kind heart. Of course, I won't tell her that because it will only boosts her ego.
When I step outside the place, the late afternoon sun over the horizon seemed to brushed upon an artist's canvas, as if those rays were destined to create a great work of art- bathing the surrounding on its warm, golden light. The sky is currently lit on the beautiful shades of orange and red as the tiny specks of dust dances in the shaft of the dying glow of the sun.
I look at my wrist watch, it's almost five in the afternoon. I saw a cart of fruits on the side walk, so I decided to buy some.
Thank heavens that a cab immediately stops in front of me. Unlike other people, I don't go straight at home after my work neither spend the rest of the day luxuriating.
"Lorenzo Hospital," I told the driver.
I'm listening to a solemn song the whole ride. While staring outside, I reflected on my current situation. The sufferings that I endured for the past few years forced me to confront life in a different way. I learned how cruel this world could be, and how ruthless the people around us are. I learned how to be tough in this ferocious jungle called life where only the resilient and red-blooded can survive.
After paying the driver, I immediately went inside the hospital. The painful shriek of a woman greeted me when I walk through the hallway. Some nurses are trying to calm her down, but she continue weeping. They have no choice but to inject her a tranquilizer.
I averted my gaze from the mournful scenario and continue walking. The grip on the paper bag I'm holding tightened when I stopped in front of a door.
Come on, Florence. It's been several months since you're doing this. You need to get a hold of yourself!
I plastered a warm smile before opening the door. "Archer!"
He dropped the book that he's reading and looks at me. Despite the paleness of his lips, he smiled at me.
My eyes brimmed with tears while I'm staring at the pitiful state of my brother, but I immediately hold it. I don't want to look weak in front of him. I don't want him to see me cry or get discouraged. I'm one of his source of strength, I should be strong for him.
I walk towards him and placed the bag of fruits on the side table. I planted a soft kiss on his forehead before sitting beside his bed. "How's your day, Arch?"
He played with my fingers, a habit that he always does every time I visit him. "Just the usual. I spent my entire day reading the books that you bought for me."
"That's good. Next time, I will buy the John Green book that you really want."
He looks at me with wide eyes. "R-Really?"
I chuckled and pinch his cheeks. "Of course! I have one condition though." He arched a brow. "Promise me that you will always listen to your nurse."
He nodded fervently. "I promise!"
I smiled. "Good."
My brother was diagnosed with leukemia four months ago. My world seemed to collapsed when the doctor told me about his illness. I felt so vulnerable and helpless that time. Archer is the only family that I have. I can't lose him. I can't lose the only person who keeps me going.
That's the reason why I'm working my fingers to the bone. I need money to pay the hospital bills and his everyday medications. It was hard, but I will do everything for my brother.
Besides, this is nothing compared to the hell that we experienced from the hands of the people who are supposed to be our safest haven.
I turned to my brother. "Yes, Arch?"
He looks at me and forced a smile. "Do you think Mom and Dad miss us?"
I stiffened. I didn't expect his question. My heart pounded. He may not tell it to me directly, but I know he's still clamoring for the solace of a mother. He's still looking for a father who will guide him through his journey.
I breathed deep and smiled subtly at him. "Finish your foods. You still need to drink your medicines later."
I can't answer his question because I don't want to hurt him.
After he finished his meal, we talked for a while. I just listen to him narrating the book that he's currently reading. Archer is really fond of reading. He can literally spend his day with his favorite books. When the night falls, I tucked him to sleep.
"I love you, Arch. I will do everything for you," I whispered and gently kiss his forehead.
The door suddenly opens. His nurse comes in.
I bowed my head. "Good evening, Nurse Emma."
She smiled and greeted me back. After checking Archer, she turned to me. "Your brother's condition is getting better. He's a strong child."
I beamed. "Archer is still young to experience this. He has been through a lot despite his age, but I know that he will overcome this."
She pats my shoulder. "You know what? Your brother is really proud of you. He always talks about how strong of a person you are and how much he admires you. He even told me that when the right time comes, he will find a girl that has the same heart as yours."
A lump obstructed my throat. Tears started to fall from my eyes.
She turned to me. "Everything will fall into places, Florence."
In the midst of my tears, I smiled. "Thank you, Nurse Emma."
Though I still want to stay and look after my brother, I can't. I still have more things to do. Besides, I know I can trust Nurse Emma with him.
Despite the exhaustion I'm feeling, I dragged myself outside the hospital. I looked up at the blanket of stars that seemed to stretched to infinity. The pale crescent moon shone like a silver claw in the night sky. The immense coldness made me exhale foggy breathe.
I decided not to pass by the apartment where I'm currently staying because my work is about to start. I badly want to rest and sleep even for a bit, but I can't.
For someone like me who's a victim of the cruel reality, time is a form of luxury. Every single moment is important because our lives depend on it. Time equates money.