In response to the Daily Post writing prompt Reason To Believe.
In Reason to Believe, Bruce Springsteen sings, “At the end of every hard-earned day / people find some reason to believe.” What’s your reason to believe?
And in response to Blogging 101 Day 11 prompt ~ Make a Prompt Personal
Today’s assignment: publish a post based on your own, personalized take on a blogging prompt.
Today wasn’t a good day, Felicia thought as she counted the coins she had in her hands. It didn’t amount to as much as she would have liked, but it was better than nothing. Still, it would barely be enough. Not a good day indeed. It was cold and wet; few people lingered long enough to pay attention to her. She’d considered not staying but she couldn’t afford not to. And yet could she risk ruining her instrument? Not really. After three hours fighting the cold and the wind, Felicia had returned her violin to its case and walked away from her spot.
She shouldn’t have counted the pieces while in the street. She should know better. That was such a rookie mistake. And she was no rookie. But she’d been eager to know if she could buy food, pay the night at the shelter. Instead, she’d attracted the attention of a group of guys. In that neighbourhood, it might not have been an issue on any other day, but today wasn’t a good day. The streets were almost empty and a lonely girl was an easy target for a group. They approached her and soon she was surrounded.
“Seems to me you’ve got change to spare Miss.”
She knew she couldn’t show weakness; they’d take the money and the violin. She couldn’t really afford losing either, although if it came to that, she’d give up the cash before the instrument.
“Actually I can’t. But I wish you luck guys.”
She pushed through but one held her arm.
“Now, now lady. You could share with us. We’re down on our luck. We could do with some cash.”
“Look, that’s all the change I’ve got on me and I need to get home.”
She shook the guy’s hold and stepped away.
No cop around; not that she liked them much, but at least they could come in handy. But today wasn’t a good day. And the five guys weren’t going to leave her alone.
“That won’t do Miss. Give us the cash.”
One of them snarled. And she knew she’d be in trouble. She changed tactics. She kept two bills and extended her hand.
“Look take that, leave me the change so I can get home.”
“Oh no, no. You don’t get to choose. We’ll get our fee and we’ll decide if we’re satisfied enough to let you leave.”
She could scream but it would do no good. She knew what would happen; it almost happened once before. She’d been lucky that time, but today wasn’t a good day.
They pulled her to an alley. At least they handled the case carefully. She didn’t cry; she wouldn’t give them the pleasure. She no longer inhabited her body; she was gone to another place, another time, one that would never come back. There she couldn’t be hurt. There everything was perfect, life was happy, easy. It hadn’t been, not for a long time. When they were done, they let her fall on the cold concrete. She shivered there, as one of the guys left the money she’d made, while the others left.
“Next time, you’d better show some enthusiasm. Or we won’t be as nice. We’ll break the violin. And you’ll have no other options.”
So they knew… today wasn’t a good day. She would have to change spots. Or just give up. She could just remain here and die. But she couldn’t. They’d left her the money. Felicia stood and gathered cash and case. She put the bills and coins in her pocket, after buttoning her shorts. She’d need a shower. She walked to the bus stop, grateful that the bus arrived at the same time. She paid the tithe and sat behind the driver, fighting an urge to throw up, to cry, to jump out of the bus and die. Overwhelmed, beaten. Life was fucking unfair. She didn’t deserve this. What the hell had she done to God, to the universe, to fucking Karma? Had she committed murder in a previous life or something? Life sucked. She cried in the end, sobbing like a sissy that she couldn’t afford to be if she wanted to survive.
She took a deep breath when she reached her stop. She wiped her tears and snot on the sleeve of her jacket and got down. She knocked at the door of the house sitting by the bus stop. When it opened, Leonard jumped in her arms, pushing his nanny out of the way.
“Felicia! You’re here!”
She kissed his head holding him close and tight.
“You look dreadful kid,” Ms. Gibson said.
“I’ll be ok.”
She didn’t look convinced but Ms. Gibson knew that Felicia wouldn’t risk going to the cops and have them discover she and her brother were living pretty much on the streets since their father’s death. She was almost 18; she couldn’t be put in the system and they’d take Leo away. No fucking way! She’d keep the two of them together for as long as she could. He was her reason to hold on, her reason to believe that maybe someday, not today but someday, things would get better for the two of them.