Help and Hopelessness

superherogirl By superherogirl, 14th Jun 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Short Stories

A story about a young woman whose life is falling apart due in no small part to her own belligerent and self destructive behavior. Warning: this story contains a lot of swearing.

Homeless

Aster juggled her grocery bags from hand to hand as she pulled out her keys. She was never the type that liked to make two trips to the car, so she was laden down with one jug of milk, one light bag and three heavy ones. Her pinky finger screamed in pain as the tightened plastic loop cut into it unkindly, but her key was fit into the lock and soon she could set her load down. She turned the key and it didn’t budge. She tried five more times before letting out a frustrated groan and setting everything down on the cold ground. It’s not cold enough for the lock to be frozen. She extracted the key, reinserted it and tried again. Again the lock resisted her key. She looked at the apartment door to the right side of hers, two was definitely the one. She kicked the door; she hadn’t really expected that to do anything, but she liked it enough to do it again. She finally rummaged in her backpack to retrieve her phone. She called her roommate’s number only to get the voicemail. “So I’m at the apartment and my key doesn’t work have any idea why that would be?” She scrolled through her contacts list until she found the number of the only mutual friend they had and called her. “Hey do you know any reason why my key doesn’t work?...What! She can’t…I don’t care!...I don’t buy it because she’s the one that eats it all!...She’s insane…I know that, but…All my stuff is in there…fine, fuck you too!” Aster clipped her phone shut harder than was necessary and threw it back in her bag.
She kicked the door again wondering if it was worth it to break in. Deciding against it she put her backpack on picked up her milk and bags, and went back to her car. Once she had deposited her things and herself back in the car she hit the steering wheel and screamed out loud. She ran a hand through her hair, before putting the key in the ignition and driving away. She didn’t know where to go, and when she didn’t know where to go she went to see Luke. When she knocked on the door she was greeted by Angie.
“You weren’t supposed to come over today.” Angie didn’t like her and she knew that if it were solely up to her, she wouldn’t get to see Luke at all, but luckily his caseworker thought she was a good influence on him.
“Just go get him, will you?” The older woman stood there for a moment as if she was going to deny the request before going back into the living room and yelling, ‘Luke!’ Aster stayed on the front stoop, she didn’t like going into the house. Luke rounded the corner and looked surprised, but happy to see her. “Hey pip-squeak,” She looked behind him to make sure Angie wasn’t in sight, “go get a bowl from the kitchen for me.”
“What?”
“Just one of the little plastic kiddy bowls.” Luke rolled his eyes, but obediently disappeared back into the house, he returned with a primary blue bowl with a little lion on the front. Aster folded it under her arm. “Ok, let’s go.”
“What do you need the bowl for?”
“Well I’m not going to just pour my milk in the cereal box am I?” Luke rolled his eyes.
“Why are we at the park? Can’t we go to your place?” The overly perceptive twelve year old got out of the car any way and took a seat on one of the overturned picnic tables.
“Hey…shut up.” Aster got out her cereal, milk, and newly acquired bowl and made up her meal. She sat the milk in a small snow bank that was still hanging on to winter so it wouldn’t spoil. “So, how’s school? You nosy little shit.”
“Same got an A on my algebra test.”
“Of course you did you have the best math teacher ever as your tutor.” She was using a measuring spoon she had bought for baking to eat her cereal.
“Yeah, the best unemployed math teacher who apparently got kicked out of her house.”
“Hey, I still have a job.”
“Then why did Tina kick you out?”
“She’s been mad at me for a while. Passive aggressive bitch.”
“So what are you going to do now? Where are you going to go?” Luke was digging in his toe into the dirt.
“Think Angie would let me stay with you guys? Lost children and all that.” Luke merely snorted. “I don’t know, I’ll figure something out. Worst comes to worst I can always park her somewhere.” Aster finished the bowl in record time and pointed at her sedan with the measuring spoon.
“Your car? Isn’t that dangerous?”
“No more than trying to sleep on a futon at a 24 hour Walmart. Any way it’s not like we live in the inner city, or anywhere near what could be constituted a ‘city’.”
“I guess, but it gets really cold at night.”
“I’ll see Sarah, will that make you feel better?”
“She won’t let you stay there.” Aster shrugged.
“Come on swing with me!”
“Ugh, I’m not six.”
“No, but I’m having a shit day, so you’re swinging with me, whether you like it or not.” The boy begrudgingly allowed himself to be led to the swing set and the pair swung in silence for a few minutes. “I probably shouldn’t keep you long. Angie seemed pissed.”
“Yeah, Noah’s pissing the bed again. I wish I could stay with you.”
“Hey we’re lucky I get to see you at all. If you haven’t figured it out yet I don’t offer the stable environment the government looks to place kids in.” Luke rolled his eyes the ‘duh’ going unsaid. “Anyway I don’t need a troubled youth weighing me down.” Aster bumped his shoulder with hers. She was working at his school as a student teacher when she noticed how strange he was acting. She tracked him to a Walmart where some kid with acne was kicking him out for loitering a.k.a. sleeping on a display futon. She got him to tell her about his mother moving to Florida and leaving him with an old ‘uncle’. It’s still unclear as to whether this ‘uncle’ was ever really related to Luke. She worked with the social worker to get him removed from the house and into foster care. Aster wasn’t sure if it was better, but at least he got a state mandated three meals a day and now more sleeping on furniture in big box stores. Luke was smart and with her help he pulled his grades back up. Now she just liked talking to the kid, comparing miserable notes seemed to make both feel a little better.
“I don’t want to go back yet.”
“Well you can’t stay out all night again they might finally get the idea that I’m a terrible influence on you.”
“Wait, how am I supposed to come over to your place to study if you don’t have a place?”
“That’s alright we can just meet at the library or something. Just don’t tell Angie or Brenda that I got kicked out. That will really put us up shit creek.”
“Duh, I’m not an idiot.”
“I know you’re not. I’ve got to get you home so I can go see Sarah.” Luke looked at his watch.
“Its dinner time, she’s not going to be happy about that.”
“Thank you, captain obvious, please get in the car.” Aster watched Luke go inside before pulling away from the curb. 6:07 stared at her from the dashboard. Luke was right she’d have to wait so she didn’t disturb the happy family, and possibly text her before coming over; fair warning and all. At that moment, her phone decided to ring. The display read Mom, shit, she sighed to herself.
“Hi. Mom…no you’re not interrupting anything…Scott and I broke up three weeks ago…um yeah work was fine…what?...no sorry I’m not going to be able to…well yeah I get it off but… I know that but I have loan payments to make…I’m sorry too…yeah I heard…no mom, I just told you I can’t make the trip for Easter why would I be able to…teachers don’t get paid that much…yes…I don’t know…who’s that?...it’s up to you….I know that’s why I…you know what just don’t, I’m really busy this time of year anyway…you’re the one who…fine it’s all my fault…you know what I can’t do this right now mom I have papers to grade…I know…I love you too…bye.” It was always a battle between them and most of what

Aster said was a lie. She still had to figure out something to do for an hour. She parked down town and walked to Shawn’s. She was met with the acrid smell of weed and dude when he opened the door which is one of the reasons she was reluctant to ask to stay there.
“Hey Aster, I was just thinkin’ about you come in.” Shawn sat down on the broken lazy boy and Aster took a seat on the old sofa, “Sooo, what can I do for you today?”
“Just hoping to kill some time.”
“This is a great place to kill time.” It was truly.
“Want to play some video games.”
“Yeah.” Shawn got up to get the PS3 around to play some Star Wars game. “Tina kicked me out.”
“Bitch.”
“Right?”
“So you need a place to stay?”
“I don’t know yet, maybe.”
“My door is always open.”
“You do realize she kicked me out because I couldn’t cough up the rent right?”
“Yeah, but you’ll get another job, it’s a bitch, but it’s easier with two.”
“Yeah you’re right.” They sat and played for over an hour. Only speaking when talking smack or commenting on other games.
“Where are you going, you’re homeless?”
“Sarah’s.”
“Should have made an appointment.”
“I know, but I’m desperate.”
“Isn’t she your sister?”
“No she’s Brenda’s sister.”
“Brenda?”
“Luke’s case worker they’re the only responsible adults I know.”
“Being a responsible adult is overrated.”
“I guess you’re right. I have to go.” Sarah probably wouldn’t like her coming by so late, so she texted her to tell her she was outside. Aster knew that Sarah wouldn’t deny her to come in if she was already here. She was too polite, but she wouldn’t like it.
“Aster, I didn’t know you were coming over today.”
“I didn’t know I was. Hey John, Mindy, Cal!” Cal was gurgling and clapping his pudgy hands together, Mindy waved happily from her drawing desk.
“Aster, how are you?” John looked up from the TV.
“Fine, just hoping I could talk to Sarah.”
“I was just cleaning up.” She walked them through and started picking up dishes. “What’s up?” She was friendly enough, but Aster could tell she was putting on a nice face.
“Tina kicked me out, well, she changed the locks, and most of my stuff is still in there, and she just sucks.”
“Well can you blame her?”
“Yes! No, but I’m going to anyway.” Sarah let out a long suffering sigh.
“That’s very mature of you. Do you have any idea what you’re going to do now?”
“Well priority one is somewhere to sleep.” Aster was beyond hinting, but that was the whole reason that she decided to come here in the first place.
“You have places you can go.”
“A resounding no then. Way to kick ‘em while they’re down.” Sarah sighed. Aster helped her dry dishes in hopes that the small gesture would be rewarded with a more positive answer.
“You can’t just show up like this Aster. You’re the one who put Tina out on the rent. You knew she wouldn’t be happy about it, but you did it anyway. You have other options, none the least of which would be to go home and live with your mother for a while.”
“Same song different verse.”
“A lot of people your age are doing that these days.”
“That’s not what I meant.” Sarah gave her a hard look at that, what she was questing for was unclear, but Aster was getting more and more ok with not staying the night here.
“What happened to you? When Brenda introduced us, you were so driven you knew what you wanted.”
“I grew the fuck up. Or grew into a fuck up.” Another hard look this time for the swearing.
“So you just gave up?”
“What the hell was I supposed to do? I worked toward the wrong thing. I… I don’t know, I’ll figure it out. Jesus, it’s not even been that long I’m still in mourning.”
“Of what?”
“Unfulfilled dreams of youth?”
“See you still have talent.”
“So did Van Gogh, he still died a penniless drunk. Look I shouldn’t have come here.”
“Hey I don’t mean to harsh your buzz or whatever…” Aster held up a hand.
“Ok glossing over the ‘what decade are you from’ question, I’m not some stoner. I worked hard, I got screwed and you know what? Now I’m not mourning, I’m pissed. I like it being angry and mean gives me both purpose and amusement.”
“And gets you thrown out of you apartment.”
“Now your harshing my buzz. Anyway I didn’t say it was a good personality, I just said it makes me happy. It’s like ice cream.” Sarah rolled her eyes and let out a long suffering sigh. “Well, I should go its bed time isn’t it?”
“Where you going to go?”
“Do you know where the nearest house of ill repute is?”
“You’re funny.”
“Comedy is tragedy over time.”
“Time?”
“Five hours is an allotment of time.”
“Don’t you mean seven months?” Aster and Sarah shared a chuckle at that.
“See comedy.”
“Be safe.”
“Aren’t I always?”
“No.” The safest place was in her car, ok, the only place was in her car. It wasn’t hard to find a secluded place to park, so she sat and read her copy of the grapes of wrath that was in her car because she meant to loan it to Luke.

Tags

Anger Problems, Dark Comedy

Meet the author

author avatar superherogirl
I've been writing as long as I can remember, I do mostly short stories or poems,

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