She has always been very religious. Not in the common way of going to church every Sunday, but alone in her room she prays often and always relies on the direction god has pushed her in by fate. She gazes out her 23rd floor window to the city streets below. Cars buzz on by. People stream by like cattle being driven to the slaughterhouse. That’s how she sees them. They always follow the known path, living senseless lives without feeling or purpose besides monetary gain that will only last them for this lifetime. She pities them and at the same time looks down upon them ruthlessly. She looks down at her home made clothes and hugs them closely to her body. She refuses to wear anything name brand because she will not have her life controlled by society’s rules. She begins to pace. Back and forth along the narrow studio room which is all her own. The walls are barren and an ugly shade of yellow covers their surface. She thinks to herself I need to paint them, maybe I will make them black. Then again no, that reminds her too much of her home. Well, it was never her home really. She pulls out a small framed picture from her desk, which is one of the few pieces of furniture in the room. It is of her father and mother. They stand next to each other smiling. It causes her to reminisce of the time when they lived together.
She exits her small black painted room and sits down at the table for dinner with her prim and proper parents. Her father is dressed smartly in an expensive suit and red silk tie.
He stares disapprovingly at Sadie. He is a renowned lawyer, but his cases are defending murderers, rapists, and con-artists. He always smiles when asked why he does it and says that’s where the money is. Her mother enters the room drawn and tired looking. This is the first time in weeks she has made it to eat at the same time as her husband. Her navy blue skirt is wrinkled and her white blouse stained from quickly throwing together a meal for her family. She smiles kindly at Sadie and sits down. Then the typical shallow questions are asked. How was school? How was work? How was your day? Answers are short and give little insight into anyone’s day. Then the stress on her mother’s face really shows and she looks at Sadie’s father in embarrassment.
She shakily says “I was……….laid off today.” Her father looks up quickly from his plate with an angry frown.
“How can we ever get the luxuries we deserve if you can’t even hold onto a steady job? I’m bringing in all the cash and you sit around on your lazy arse creating a black hole sucking off my talents!”
He yells across the table. Tears streak her mother’s face. It’s the third job she has been laid off from in the last six months.
Sadie stares at him in disbelief and attempts to defend her mother.
“She is trying dad. Why does the money matter so much anyways?”
“Oh, you want a say in the matter little miss rebel, goth, non-conformer, or whatever you are trying to be? You are an embarrassment to this family walking around like you know how to live better than all of us.
Money is what makes this world go around and makes you someone in it. Money matters not individuality.” He replies scathingly to her. Her mother is now crying hysterically.
Her father stands and looks down on them as if they were scum beneath his feet. He then turns away with a scowl and walks out of the front door. He never came back and the divorce papers were filed the next month. After recieving them her mother committed suicide by jumping off a window ledge. Sadie lived with an aunt until she was 18 and then moved out on her own.
It was the anniversary of her mother’s death. Seven years later and not much had changed.
The refusal to fit in and conform to society had just been a phase when she was in high school, but now it was a statement to the world and her. She didn’t want to follow the pathetic path that led her mother to such desperation and made her father help criminals stay on the streets. There was no part of this place she wanted to belong to. No reason to exist. She felt purposeless and did not want to have the same shallow goal as the rest of the atrocity of the world. She throws the picture hard against the wall and it shatters all over the plain wood floor. She rips off her socks and walks across the glass strewn floor. She watches as the blood leaves stains on the wood floor.
The pain and bleeding usually brings her release, but is not helping. In frustration she picks up a handful of the shards and pummels the wall with her fist closed tightly around them. Now blood streams out from between her clenched fingers and runs down her arm.
She stares at it blankly and then laughs bitterly at the ridiculousness of it all. Then she sees the diploma hanging on the wall. She paces over to it and reads it to remind herself again that she did attend college.
She had dreams even after the loss of her mother. She went to a local college to major in psychology. She wanted to help abused, confused, and suicidal children. She completed her schooling and was ranked in the top of her class. Her teachers all enjoyed her soft-spoken, but confident opinions. She was passionate in her cause and wanted to save innocent beings from harmful futures. After graduation she took part in a practice and then to get closer to the children she worked in a city high school. That’s where she met April.
April was an amazingly intelligent young girl. She was only a freshman, but she was in every advanced course offered and always completed her work. Her dark secret however was an abusive father. She had weekly meetings with Sadie to talk over her issues and tried to hide the fact that the bruises covering her body were from her father instead of from soccer games and falling off of her bike. Sadie knew better and one day finally got her to admit to the problem. April agreed to call the necessary organizations to get help when she got home that night. However, she didn’t plan for her father to over hear her.
That night as she was speaking to an administrator her father had arrived home from work early. He must have listened to the call and then realized what was going on. The next morning April was found brutally beaten to death behind her apartment building. Her father was no where to be found.
Sadie had realized then that her dream to save the helpless children she encountered had shattered before her eyes. She had failed April and would fail again. She immediatly resigned from her position and now was not working anywhere. All she could picture now was her father defending a murderer like April’s father and in this world how he could get off scott-free.
She walks to the window again to look out. It was dark now. She lets the glass shards gently tumble from her grasp to the floor. What was the fairness in this world? What was the purpose? She couldn’t find one. A society surrounded around money, wealth, and the power that affords you made no sense to her. She wouldn’t dare and try to conform to a world that worshipped such ideals and gave value to such a life successful in accomplishing them. She begins to feel light-headed from the slow leak of her blood.
She leans against the window sill and barely pries the window open to feel the peace of the cold wind. It rushes into her face making her eyes water or is she crying? She doesn’t remember what it feels like to cry anymore so the answer remains unknown. Cars rush back and forth from below, but her ears are deaf to the noise. She hears nothing, but the crashing crescendo of a world without hope and her alone in it. She drags her numb body out onto the fire escape, precariously balancing herself against the bricks of the building wall. Snow begins to fall silently like a blanket around her.
It envelopes her in its icy grasp. She stares at the world around her and this time she does not feel an inch of any condescending feeling in her. There is no anger anymore only remorse and a true pity she has never felt before. Then a real tear runs down her pale, white cheek. She smiles as she knows she has begun to cry. Then her balance slowly fades away and her body gracefully falls off of the edge.
About the Author
Nikhil Sharda is a writer/filmmaker based at the moment in Delhi. Nikhil is a graduate from University of Sunderland (UK) with Film Studies as his major. Nikhil has written many articles for various online journals and periodicals not to mention a book called Sans Destination. And in his career Nikhil has made over 20 short films most of which have featured in National and International Film Festivals.