Cocoons & Butterflies

Chapter One 

 

I Slam my hand on the snooze button so hard it hurt. I wish that a bomb would hit my apartment. Not really. That's just what I felt like happening right now. I open one eye and peer out from within my deep slumber. No. No bomb. No bomb only means one thing. I've got to get up for work. It could be worse. I could be unemployed, living in a cardboard box under a bridge. This job's better than most I've had. I've kept it the longest, so that means something.  
 
I sit up, shimmy to the edge of the bed and sit. I need to start up, like an old car. I walk to the bathroom. Never am I able to make it to the bathroom without tripping over my three cats. I wasn't able to make it anywhere without tripping or falling over something. I'm the definition of a klutz. My picture is right next to the word in the dictionary. Working in a call centre isn't close to what I want to do. One day, I want to be a Psychiatrist. Dr. Nylah Diamond. With a name like Diamond, you've got to shine. Well, that day isn't today. So, I'm off to the call centre soon. I must go to shine where no one will see me sparkle. 
 
I grab my cell on the way to the bathroom and open the music app. NataOne was still open from the night before. I love his music. I scroll down the list of his many great songs, looking for my favourite one—Burnt Memories. Listening to him was part of my daily routine. Great music is rare these days. Fuck. Good music is rare these days. Music has gone down the shitter. I like old school music, but everybody has a different definition of what old school is. His lyrics have substance; there isn't much of that around lately regarding music or people. 
 
I get in the shower. I keep myself to a strict daily routine. I wouldn't get anything done otherwise. Most of the time, I don't eat breakfast. I'll chow down on the train. I know. Not proper. Whatever. Who says what's proper anyway? I eat my dinner on the train. I get stares from all the people who think it's not polite. Funny, they never say anything to the drunk guy pissing in the corner. I rush from one place to the other. I never have the time to sit down, relax and eat. That's probably the best time to relax; when you don't have the time. If you have the time to relax, you probably don't deserve the break. That's what my mother always says. If I'm not working, I'm usually visiting her, my dad, and my little sister, April. 
 
I finish my shower and make my way to the kitchen to start the coffee. I hear the phone. It never fails that someone always calls when I'm in a rush but never when I'm early. I look at my call display and know who it is. I hesitate. I've seen that same number show up on my call display for the last seven years. How could I possibly forget it? How could I not know it? Even though I want nothing more than to ignore it. Why can't I? Why am I even answering it? Listen to yourself even considering this. Someone's an ex for a good reason. If he'd wanted to talk this much when we were together, maybe we'd still be. What am I saying? Not a chance in hell. He has this coming. Fuck him. 
 
 
"Hello?" I said in a low grumble. "What do you want?" 
 
 
"Don't try to sound so enthusiastic." said the sarcastic voice on the other end. "Why so rude?" 
 
 
"Really? You want to talk to me about being rude?" I shoot back. 
 
 
"I want to talk. I miss you. I know I've made some big mistakes. I'm sorry. I still love you." 
 
 
"Some mistakes? Do you miss me? Do you still love me? I don't think you ever fucking loved me, John." I spit. 
 
 
I can't believe he thinks what he's done were just mistakes. Lies. Always with the lies. At what time do dudes stop lying? Anyone? Bueller?

Apologies are for when you step on someone's shoes or bump into them. You don't apologize to them for cheating on them. Or for hitting them. And when they confront you about it, try to turn it all around on them. You don't do it. Then, to have the nerve to call sixty times since then? It's insane—the definition, to a tee. Repeatedly doing the same but expecting different. 
 
 
"Goodbye. I have nothing left to say to you, John. It's over. I have to go to work." 
 
 
I Slam the phone down, hard, so hard I hurt my hand again. It still didn't hurt as much as John hurt me. As much as all the men I've dated have hurt me. They all stopped chasing me once they got me. Trusting anyone again is very unlikely. I'm hurt. Time and time again. Same stories. Same endings. Just different beginnings. No more, I tell you. Women say it all the time, and I laugh at those women, but I mean it—no more for me. 
 
I don't have time to think about this any longer. I'm running late now. There John goes again, fucking with my life. He's not even a part of it anymore. I jump in the shower. The water in my building sucks. Hot, cold, hot, cold; from frostbite to third-degree burn and back again, in seconds. Pressure high, pressure, low. Uggh!  
 
I dry off and run into my bedroom, naked. I try to hide. I run by the curtain. I don't have time to care if someone sees me. Enjoy the show. You freak. I pull on my underwear and jeans, snap up my bra clasp and throw on my shirt over my head. I put on my socks as I walk down my hallway. I hop on one foot as the sock gets stuck on my baby toe, almost making me fall. I put my long brown hair up into a loose ponytail. 
 
I run to the kitchen and pour another cup of coffee into a travel mug. I grab my keys and head for the door. Today is going to be a long day; I can feel it.

 

 

***

 

 

The subway. Yes. Shady Acres famous line of transportation. Something I loathe. It was never on time. If I rush and give it my all, you know what? It doesn't matter. If I'm on time? Well, fuck you. Now you're late. That should be their slogan for real. 'Fuck you; you're late!' It was always late. There's still someone who didn't shower as if they've forgotten how. Or someone who did shower in their perfume. Man, sometimes it's so bad I can taste it. I get it. You fucking like strawberries, lady. I know it says it smells like strawberries, but it damn sure doesn't taste like it. There's always someone chattering away to themselves in a corner seat, and you know they don't have Bluetooth in their ear. Sometimes their hand is in their pants, other times up in their nose. It's always a surprise on the subway. Yes. Shady Acres famous line of transportation. 
 
It also never fails that there's someone who wants to talk to everyone on the train but doesn't have anything to say. The guy or girl you see that you wish would start up a conversation? Never says a damn word to you, your whole fucking trip. The worst is hearing people on their cell phones, talking loudly. I try not to listen, but who can help it sometimes? They speak as though there's no one around. The other day I overheard someone say she did acid with Jesus because she couldn't find any coke; while sitting next to a toddler who was trying to wake his sleeping, exhausted mother up. One of the many who is asleep. Probably because they try and make a forty-hour week at a minimum wage job, only to get a phone call to come home early because her son wouldn't take a nap at daycare. I bet she'd love a rest. Want to trade, kid? You will need a nap someday. Oh, how I love the subway. The lives that cross. 
 
I start to pay more attention to my surroundings. There are so many creeps on this train. Some will just blatantly stare at you. They have no shame. They know they're freaks. Others just secretly stare, or so they think it's a secret. They stare from behind their newspapers, books or sunglasses. Those guys bug me the most because they're hiding what they are. At least I know what I'm getting with el creepo over there. The book guys, they creep me out the least; at least they're reading. They get points there. I feel a chill come over me as though someone has just walked over my grave. The hairs on my arms raise. 
 
Being caught up in my mind again, I almost miss my stop. I get off, and sure enough, the bus I need to catch is full, so the driver didn't stop. Same with the next two. Why am I always late?

 

I finally get on the bus. I'm squishing up against this warthog of a woman. She looks like she crawled up from the bowels of the abyss. I'm later than my usual late. My stop comes. A lady pushes me with her stroller in an attempt to get off first. Man, do I ever want to smash her head into the side of the bus; but I'm growing here. 
 
 
"Hey lady, I'm getting off, too!" I yell. "Chill out!" 
 
 
She doesn't even look at me and keeps pushing through. She doesn't speak English, so she has no clue what the fuck I've just said. Someone's going to give it to her and not be as lovely as I'm being. 
 
I get out my key card, and of course, I have to swipe it four times before it works. I rush in, grabbing my headset while speed walking. Hoping my supervisor doesn't see me. I sit down quickly. I didn't even have time to take a sip of my coffee the whole way to work. It was cold. Great. Now I would have to wait until my break before I'm able to get another one. Well, I can't finish work until I start.

 

 

***

 

 

If I have to repeat, 'thanks for calling The Advertising Store' one more time, my tongue is going to fall off. People are always complaining about random shit that you can't care any less about. Kind of like what I'm doing, but at least I do it quietly, in my head, to myself.

Of course, during our training, they tell us to understand and be sorry. It's no wonder why people lie so much. Half of the time, we get paid to do so. Whether it's in a call centre, 'sure I understand, and I am so sorry for the issues you are having.' No, I'm not, Susan. I don't give a fuck. Retail. That's a big one. 'You look great in that outfit, ma'am! It brings out the colour of your eyepatch'. Of course, car sales have to be on the list, too. 'There's never been anything wrong with this baby right here, ever. This beauty right here was only brought back because the people couldn't afford it any longer. Runs like heaven.' Wherever you work. Lies. It's all lies. Lies make money in so many industries. Cosmetic companies lie. They tell you to hate yourself and profit off of it. They tell you that you're ugly and that you need their shit. Then they inform you on where to purchase your beauty. Sad really. In my personal life, I never lie. You only lie when you're afraid.
    
I could never sell cosmetics for that reason. What do I sell? Advertising slots. I know, exciting. Don't jump out of your seat just yet. Most calls go something like this. 'I know you've paid for a ten-second spot, sir. And I know that it's super important to you to advertise your ultra shitty, salmonella cafe grill; however, we can't do anything about the other advertisements on the screen while yours is on the screen. It's beyond our control.' I'd explain. Explaining did nothing. They were right. Like all customers were. Right?
 
I sip my cold caffeine. Better than no caffeine. I look across the call centre—what a sight. One guy is sleeping or quite possibly dead? Not sure. An older lady is knitting. Another employee is reading. One guy is trying far too hard for what they pay him—standing up like he is selling a stock about to blow up. Some days I'm cheerier than others. Some days I do the bare minimum. It's all about balance.