October 12, 2011

Good Things Happen To Good People 1

“Get up!, get up!, you lazy tramp!,” an angry voice shouted. “I have some work for you to do.”

A foot kicked Heidi in the leg. Heidi woke up, still sleepy and tired from the day before. She had gone to bed very late, because she had so many chores to do.

“Clean up the bedroom, the kitchen, the bathroom, and it better be done when I get home!” With that said, the door was slammed shut.

“Good morning to you too, Ivan,” Heidi said.

Another day had begun for Heidi. Another day of hard work. That is how her life had been since she had left the country she was born as a twelve-year-old to come live with her half-brother, Ivan, and his wife, Mary, in the United States. Her situation had become a lot worse for her. But things weren’t always that way.

Heidi’s was well off when she still lived with her parents. Both of them cared for her and did all they could to make sure she was happy. Heidi was thus born in relative comfort and that lasted for a number of years.

Then, on a terrible Sunday, Heidi’s parents were killed in a tragic car accident. Heidi was now left alone and would not have been able to take care of herself. She had to stay with relatives. Her only relatives left were Ivan and Mary, who had migrated to the U.S. many years before. Needless to say, she was glad and grateful for the kind gesture when they invited her to come and stay with them. Unfortunately, as she would soon find out, the kindness was not going to last.

From the very first day she arrived in the US and set foot in their apartment, Ivan The Terrible, as Heidi called him, made it clear that she would have to work if she wanted to have a roof on top of her head.

“Look, you need this place to stay,” Ivan said harshly. “So from now on, you will do what we tell you to do.” “And if you don’t like it, get out!” he barked, well aware that there was nowhere else she could go.

Heidi got up and realized how cold it was. “It’s freezing!” she thought. She wished that Ivan would also warm up the kitchen, where she had to sleep on the floor, and not only their own room. But he and that evil witch, Mary, were too selfish to think of anyone else. They really fooled her. They never wanted to help her. All they wanted was a slave.

She picked up all the trash on the floor. As usual, they had deliberately made a complete mess for her to clean up. She noticed the foul smell in their bedroom. “There’s rotten food under their bed!” Heidi shouted. “That’s disgusting!” She had the feeling that she was about to throw up, so she rushed to the bathroom. But that was a mistake. Ivan had left a large, smelly deposit in the toilet for her to clean up. Heidi looked disgusted and wished from the bottom of her heart that she didn’t have to do Ivan’s filthy work. But, at the same time, she realized that if she didn’t, she would have no place to stay and she didn’t have the money to rent a place.

“If I could just get a college degree, then I could get a good job,” she mumbled, while cleaning the floor from the stinking garbage. “I could pay for my own room and I wouldn’t have to put up with all the abuse.” Unfortunately, she had to drop out of college. She just could not afford to work and go to school at the same time. The recent tuition increases and higher standards set by the Board of Education had also forced her out. Heidi sighed, life looked very bleak. Worst of all, she saw no hope of things getting better.

It was now six o’clock. Heidi left the apartment and went to Andy’s grocery store. She got a loaf of bread and went to the cash register to pay. An old lady was just about to leave, when Heidi noticed that she had dropped her purse.

“Excuse me,” she said. “I think this belongs to you.” The old lady was charmed by her honesty.

“Thank you, my child!” the old lady said. “I don’t know what I would do without a month’s pension.” The old lady offered Heidi money for her good deed, but she refused.

“I can’t accept this,” she said. “I only did what was right.” The old lady accepted her decision and left. Heidi then bought a lottery ticket from Andy.

“Why didn’t you take the money?” he said, while waiting for the printout. “Don’t you need the money?”

“Yes, I do; but not at the expense of someone else,” Heidi said. “No, I couldn’t have taken  her money.”

“You know, you’re very nice person,” Andy said as he handed her the ticket. “I know that life is very hard for you and Ivan and Mary are not exactly the best of people. You deserve better. Maybe someday, things will turn around.”

“So do I,” Heidi sighed. “So do I.”


Click on Part 2 for what happens next in this series.

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