Short Stories

One For The Money: The Mission

Chapter 1

“I had every intention of being a good person. Maybe.
But I’m tired of trying.
Trying to help rake in enough cash to settle the bills.
Trying not to fail everyone.
Trying not to sink the family ship with everything I represent.
So I choose to unburden you.
Samee dear, in your hand is my exit note.
I don’t know where I am going.
Meaning, you would be wasting your time trying to look for me.
I have all the information I need to offer assistance if at all,
in any way I can.
But it would be easier if you considered me gone for good.
Oh, and I am very happy. Trust me I am.”

She capped the pen and tagged it on the notebook. The newest in her list of many. An A6 spiral-bound notebook wearing a bright orange plastic cover; hard to miss. She bought it with the intention of writing the most important message she would ever write. Her exit note.

It was Thursday at 8 a.m. and her husband of 23 years had just left the house for work, never suspecting he would return to a rude welcome later that evening. The actualization of a plan she sang for two years straight. One she was sure he would remember in detail if he had been listening that is.

Ceria had an expressive personality. If she was mad at you, she phrased it; with commas, exclamation marks and full stops in their rightful places, followed by a melancholic cloud over her head in search of sobriety. But in her default settings, her cuddly-cat nature reigned infectiously laughing,  tagging and clinging with every intention of transmitting waves of euphoria far, deep and wide. She was just the right measure of joy in her world.

She turned once more to inspect the sitting room she had known since September 2018 when she moved into the 2-bedroom apartment. A large rectangular space that now felt empty despite the ageing furniture and memories of endless sleepovers her daughters had made sure to host. Four years down the line, everything in it felt like a miscarriage of the happiness she had hoped for.

At the farthest section of the room was a large window facing East allowing what was meant to be light in all its purity onto the white plastic dining table. But it had failed and instead created an escape route to the attention she so badly longed for. She cursed the dining table under her breath for illegally bathing in the natural light and overlooking the canopies of palm trees adorning the distant blue sky. In mockery of its existence, she had placed the bright orange notebook on it. A spot Samee wouldn’t miss it.

Next to the table sat two small couches, one after the other. Then came the two-sitter couch with a torn arm that always reminded Ceria of who she really was. Beaten. Torn. And effectively useless. Unworthy and undeserving of life. Or whatever the ticking of the clock hanging on the Western wall represented.

A tear ran down her left cheek unrestricted. She would soon be free from all the nonsense she had gathered around herself in a stupid attempt to live a normal married life. Whatever normal was supposed to mean. She would never have to endure the shame of being the family let-down. The family’s blood-sucking leech that had to be carried along in all plans.

She had concocted the exit plan way before her brother, her most loving brother, committed suicide. The kind of death she had long desired. But he had beaten her to it and at the same time denied her the right to rightfully mourn him. Worse still, it would be too foolish of her to go down the same path without the risk of crushing her ageing parents and causing multiple funerals.

So she chose the next most sensible path, a smooth exit. At least in her eyes.

End of Chapter 1

Go To “The Market”: Chapter 2

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