As I stretch, I roll onto my side and feel myself begin to fall. I slide over the edge of sofa and catch myself just before I face plant onto the polished wood floor. If there’s one thing I miss about my old life it’s a bed. It’s sad because I should miss my parents but I’ll never see either of them again unless it’s on the news.
I sit up on the floor and sigh. I keep falling off the couch and I’m pretty sure my luck will run out and I’ll end up with a bloody nose. But it won’t be anything compared to the way my life has fallen apart.
The feds stormed our penthouse high-rise and took my mother just as the door on my father’s cell slammed shut. Everything about my dad was a sham. He was one of the biggest frauds of all time and I’ve heard whispers of a movie being made about it. Yippie for me. Reporters will come climbing out of the woodwork to find me and ask me questions. They’ll be disappointed to find out I knew nothing.
I wasn’t shocked by the news because I knew from a very young age that even if you wore a fancy suit you could still be a criminal. You’re just a thug that knows how to dress well. If you ask me that’s scarier than how easily my father could slip into one person then another. I’m still not sure who he really is.
Luckily neither parent wanted me around much. If I had to guess I’d been a mistake but I never asked. It was clear my parents might have been in love at one point but were really only together in the end because it benefited the both of them.
The local boarding school was a dream for all of us even if I hated the place. At least there I felt I was left alone for the most part. I played the part while I was there and did all the things that would make me fit in. I never truly felt like I belonged, so maybe I’m more like my father than I realize.
When my parents were arrested, I had everything pulled out from under me and I was left standing there alone. I’d always thought of myself as a loner, but it wasn’t until everyone was really gone that I began to understand the reality of what that truly meant. Even if I wasn’t close to my parents, they were a safety net. A boarding school wasn’t a place you could stay if there was no one paying the bill.
I saw parents who were close with their children, but I saw a large majority that were like mine. I didn’t know which way was normal but I was glad that I wasn’t close to mine when all was said and done. Maybe it made it easier to pick up the pieces they left behind, but considering I’m still doing it, what do I know.
I rub the sleep out of my eyes knowing it’s going to be a long day. I worked late, but every time I tried to call it a night my alert would go off letting me know someone else needed a ride. To me each ride meant more money. I knew I shouldn’t be picking up people so late in the area I was at, but it’s hard to turn down the money when I need it. The one thing I never realized was how much it cost to live.
I was put into the state’s foster system for six months until my eighteenth birthday. There was nothing left from my family and all their assets has been frozen. The government kept it to try and pay back whatever damage my father had done.
No one would take me in because I’d become Nicholas Martinez’s tainted daughter. Most of the friends I had were gone since their parents told them to have nothing to do with me. Others had gone on with their lives when they left to go to college. I got lucky when my one friend, Cara, had taken me in. She let me crash on her sofa and use her car, which was my only way of making a living. We’d never been close in school, but when I ran into her and she made the offer I couldn’t turn it down. I’d just gotten let go from the foster system and had no idea what I was going to do next. All those years at a fancy private school didn’t prepare me for poverty.
Cara and I made a deal when I moved in. I agreed to do her college homework and she takes a part of my earnings each night. In exchange I get to sleep on her couch and use her car for free. What choice do I have? I’m trying to get enough money together to get my own place, but that would leave me without a car. I get it. Thankfully she doesn’t need her car and she’s on break from school. But at the rate I’m going, I’ll never be able to get out from under myself.