Thank you to everyone who read last week’s story. I must have given something away in the story as everyone got it right! Yes…it was based on true events. I was working at a casino in Wisconsin at the time and the man really existed and the story of his murders and suicide are true. He was creepy and I always got bad vibes off of him but he insisted on standing at my cashier window every time he came in. He would just stare at me and never say a word.
So, when I heard of what he did, I was shocked. Not so much at what he did but because it came a bit too close to home as one of the men he killed was my brother-in-law’s brother. It was a strange experience in my life. Ok, another strange experience in my life. Seems I have had quite a few of them as my friend Marlene stated.
So, thank you again for participating last week and guessing correctly! Now, onto this weeks story.
Is it based on truth…or fiction? You tell me!
She sat at a small, scarred wooden table which wobbled if she didn’t stick a magazine under one leg. A dim flickering light shined down on the paper she so studiously copied from. A short stub of a pencil was wrapped in her hand as she tried to copy the flowing letters on the piece of paper.
The lettering itself was of the alphabet. Beautiful flowing cursive letters of the ABC’s done in black ink that was a bit smudged and dirty from constant use. Her mouth pursed in concentration, her black curly hair falling in disarray around her hunched shoulders. Her brown intense eyes, usually seen with a sense of sadness behind them were focused on the letters she so diligently copied.
Behind her lay in darkness, as the dull flickering bulb was not strong enough to penetrate the shadows of the small room. A single small bed sat neatly made next to her and an even smaller window sat above it. Curtainless, the glass clean with a tiny porcelain figure of a woman sitting on its tiny ledge. The figure had been broken at one time and one could hardly see the lines of glue holding her together. A broken beauty in a stark bare world.
The woman, girl really, should have been in bed. Her workday started early in the mornings. She was up at 4 am every morning but Sunday. That was her one day off a week. Tomorrow was only Saturday. She promised herself a few more minutes of work with the stub of pencil, then she would crawl into her bed and go to sleep.
Her maid uniform was neatly hanging in her tiny closet. Pressed earlier in the night so that any errant wrinkles were ironed out of existence. Her employer, Mrs. Hightower, hated an unironed uniform. She said it was a slight towards her if any wrinkles should be present. The young woman didn’t want to slight Mrs. Hightower. She had a lot of respect towards her employer, if not outright love.
Mrs. Hightower hired the young woman six months ago over her better judgment. She knew in her heart the woman was more a girl, at least two or three years younger than the eighteen she stated. She was small, young and vulnerable. She was also quick, smart and willing to learn, Mrs. Hightower found out within the first few weeks. They quietly settled down to a routine.
The girl was fascinated with the flowery, flowing handwriting of Mrs. Hightower. In her mind, it was a symbol of wealth and breeding. She wanted to learn to write like that, so secretly she started copying the beautiful penmanship of her employer. She already copied her speech, her walk, her posture of shoulders back, spine straight. Young women didn’t sit with their legs crossed either. They kept their persons clean and neat along with their surroundings. It was lessons learned that would stick with her for a lifetime.
By chance, Mrs. Hightower caught the young woman picking an example of her handwriting out of the trash and asked her what she was about. The girl stammered out an answer. Embarrassed that Mrs. Hightower caught her stealing a piece of trash, she thought for sure she would be fired. Once it was explained why the girl wanted the castaway, unfinished letter to a friend, she stood a moment in silence than smiled.
She turned, sat at her writing desk and pulled a clean sheet of paper out of a drawer. That’s when she started to write out the alphabet for the girl stating that if she wanted to learn she can’t have her learning only half the alphabet when she could learn it all. With that, she handed her the paper with the letters on it and several blank sheets of paper as well.
“Never stop trying to better yourself, my dear.”
The girl with the big brown sad eyes and dark curly hair turned off the dim bulb, crawled into the small bed and closed her eyes to sleep. Four in the morning came quickly for young girls who were far from home and trying to better oneself.
So, what do you think? Is it truth or fiction? Have you ever had an employer you really admired?