Niki Vignettes: The Other Side For Hope

1)
Strike: Then and now

When people say strike, the only thing that comes to my mind is a blade at my father’s neck. Did they know him? No. They didn’t. None of those greedy eyed bastards knew who he was. I could almost smell his blood, the dark amber taste sent that stung my nose. My arms and lefts felt as though they had been chained, likewise my spirit. My voice didn’t sound like my own, nor did the words that flew out of my mouth. “Please! Stop! He didn’t do anything wrong!” I had heard the thump. His head rested at my feet, guilt pouring out, scarlet in color. And just like that the chains are broken and I was free to cry. But no tears form.

So when the girls at the mill told me they were going on strike, I lost my temper. My job is to help my family-even if it means working 14 hours a day- cotton dust haunting each of us. I didn’t want to lose my money just because things were unfair. Even if it means rejecting 200 girls who I’ve read books with about fairies, princes and a better world. Even if it means walking away from the girls who I would huddle around and wonder about what’s on the other side of the mountain. About the other life. Even if it means saying no to my best friends, family. They are were my family. The mill girls glared at me, pushed me and beat me. Coward, they would yell. I knew I was a coward but all I could say to them was I’m sorry.

2)
All That Glitters Is Gold:

More money. More money. More money. I need more of it. I need the raw copper at my disposal; silver plastered around every inch of my walking space. The satisfying soothing money stuck in the grips of my greedy fingers. I want the churning sense of gratification that I get when they hand me over the crisp pieces of paper.

Shaking hands with men in suits, who I will soon make into nothing. My avaricious dreams of a house. Not the wretched worthless houses which the poor worship, but a house made of money. My bed would be made of money, flooding my thoughts as I would sink into every night. My food would taste like raw copper, enlightening, or perhaps darkening my soul. The frames on my wall wouldn’t show off joyful pictures, but dark secrets.

I would have a black tall hat, towering over everyone, resting on my head representing where I stand in society. Right at the top. Money, to me, is not just paper, but sparks of validation.

I used to smile when my family would come to visit, but now I would coldly stare at my father disappointedly and display my wealth to him. I would glare at my sisters, as they explained how they helped the poor filthy street rats the other day. I would throw away the clothes my mother made for me by her own hands and buy business suits instead.

My wealth proved I wasn’t worthless. There was no limit, and I would keep hoping for more and more money and never stop. My hand would keep reaching in space, through the stars and planets, on and on, until a black hole swallows me up. That day is still yet to come. For now all I can say is that in this world, all that glitters is gold. And that gold will be mine.

3)
A Dream On Paper

The yellow ball of fire would change to hues of orange, and then almost tangerine. It would merge with the sky, like juice-mix dissolving in a glass of water. The clouds would seem like cotton-candy as they blushed at the warm touch of the sun. As the sun would sink lower in the sky, light of day draining away, giving way to the velvety dark of night, crickets chirping, dusky, colors mixed in the fading light, first buzz of mosquitoes, first star in the night sky, air became cooler, evening landscape and twilight had fallen. If I would tried to speak, the wind would have stolen my words, and taken them to the sea. The wind would have placed them gently, as the waves would first come in as deep aquamarine and turn heavy gold as the crash against the shore. The brilliant white crests along with each wave would scintillate under the stars. The soft sand would embrace my worn out feet, after a long day of dreaming. I would taste the sweet thick air, almost like honey, dancing around. I would smell the fresh breeze that would fill my lungs up so I would finally breathe, not money, but actual air again. I would hear the cheerful voices of children along with their families. I would want to stand there forever and ever. There is no place I would rather be.

That’s a poem written by a teenager. Her name is Annie Green and she’s 13 years old, like me. I held on to this poem because everything Annie wrote is everything I want one day. Even though every time I look down at the perfect cursive handwriting I bubble with jealousy, I still am thankful that someone, even if rich, understands me. Everyone tells me that it’s impossible because Annie is rich but I am not. But according to me, there is not reason I deserve less than her.

But that day has not come yet. As for now, I am rocking back and forth in a boat, filled with darkness and screaming. My father were murdered while working in a factory, and my mom had a heart attack. The cold macabre water made my spine shiver. I could taste the sticky guilty blood form in my mouth. I could smell the fading pride and hope of the immigrants seated besides me. I could hear their voices whisper, like scared puppies. The air was full with the thirst of money and wealth. I could hear the blood curdling screams of the children getting thrown off the boat to make it lighter. As light and hope tries to enter the boat, darkness would confront it. They would fight in front of us and we would stare with our mouths open. Light would explain how we need her, and Darkness would counter with how we’re useless. Light would drift away. It hardly comes back anymore.

I’m heading to America. My blood rushed into my head as I thought about being near my dream. Only forty six more days.

I have a relatively small dream. I mean it’s small enough to fit on a piece of paper, why is it impossible?

Even though they say I am heading closer and closer to a better life, my dream of standing on a regular beach just like Annie Green slowly fades away in the midst of the ocean.

I guess I don’t deserve as much as her.

That’s not fair. It’s just the way it is.

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