I was running towards the place where I shared with my friend, Carol. And I could feel the pounding of my heart as I neared the building where we were renting a room suitable for two. I felt nervous since she paid for our monthly rental for this month, including the payment for the electricity and water bill, and I promised to pay her this week.
I understand she needed money too, but I begged her to give me more time, but still, I couldn't find the money until today, and I didn't have the face to tell her I couldn't pay her yet. I was late for my part-time job, and I was hoping Carol was not in our room so I would not feel guilty since I needed to change my clothes.
My steps staggered when I found boys and girls on our floor gathered in front of our room, and I suddenly felt worried if something happened to my roommate. And I felt glad I heard laughter, and it meant she was okay, and then my eyes widened when I saw Nolan, one of the occupants of the room across from us, raising my underwear in the air, and I felt my blood drain in my veins.
"Hey! What are you doing with my stuff?" I asked as I jumped on my feet and tried to get my bra from his hand, and I felt glad it was the new bra given to me by my best friend, Valerie, on my birthday.
"Oh, so these are your things?" He asked, and when I looked around, I found my worn-out clothes, sandals, shoes, and books in the hallway. It dawned on me, Carol threw my things outside our room, and I felt my entire body shiver as I picked up my things one by one and put them back on my old suitcase, and I knew they would never fit, and I wanted to cry, but I hold back my tears since I can't cry.
After my dad died, I realized I would never shed a tear no matter how tough life could be. People will pity me, and worse, they will ridicule me if I show some weakness, and I couldn't afford to cry now that I don't have a place to stay.
I stood up, and I tried to open our room with my key, but I realized she had already changed the lock, and I got back on the floor and continued stashing my things.
"I think you could use this, Ella," One of the girls handed me a trash bag roll, and I hesitated, but I didn't have any more suitcase where I could put the rest of my things, and I realized I should not have bought extra clothes from the thrift store. But I never expected this would happen to me.
"Thanks," I mumbled as I got the roll from her hand. And I am just glad the students are now started to move away from me, and get back to their rooms.
"Hey, I am sorry, Ella, I didn't know these were your things, I could have recognized your clothes, and I think you can use my bag," Cody said as he handed me his basketball duffle bag, and then he helped me pick up some of my books.
Cody has always been friendly with me every time we see each other on campus since he was a varsity and one of the famous basketball players in our university. And I couldn't deny he is good-looking and tall, and since he is an athlete, he has a toned body, and I know girls would always come to his room now and then.
"Thank you, Cody, but I think I am good; the trash bags will do," I responded, and he smiled at me.
"Trust me, Ella, you need this; you are too beautiful to carry trash bags." He said, and I gave him a weak smile, and I could tell I blushed.
"Thank you, and I promised I would bring it back to you," I responded as I started to put some of my things in his bag, and I never expected of all the students here in our building he would be the one to help me.
"Don't bother, just tell me the address of your new place, and I will go there one of these days." He said, and I felt my face pale as I realized I didn't know where to go. I only have a few friends here in the city since I couldn't afford to have a social life when I am busy studying during the day and working during the night.
"Are you okay, Ella?" Cody asked me when I didn't reply.
"Yeah, I am fine," I responded.
"Can I ask a favor?" I asked him.
"Sure!" Cody replied.
"Can I change in your room? I need to go to work tonight, and I am already late." I said.
"Of course, I will show you to my room." He said, and he helped me carry my things. I changed my jeans and BB-tee to my black skirt and white blouse with three-fourth sleeves, and I wear my black shoes, and I felt so glad I am tall compared to most of the girls my age since I stand five feet and seven inches tall, and my boss allowed me to wear flat shoes.
I know it was too much, but I asked Cody again if it would be okay if I left some of my stuff in his room, and I would get back once I had already settled in my new place, and I didn't tell him I have nowhere to go. And I felt grateful he said yes.
I ran through the hallways and took the staircase since I was very late for work, and I couldn't wait for the elevator. I was panting the moment I arrived at the bus stop, and I grunted under my breath when I didn't catch the bus, and I needed to wait another fifteen minutes. I sighed as I realized today was one of my unlucky days.
I was holding the pendant of my necklace, and I didn't have a choice but to look for a pawnshop before going to my workplace, even if I was so late. I needed money to find a new place, and I should have done it before Carol got so pissed with me, but it was my father's last gift for me before he died. And this necklace is my only piece of jewelry, and this is not an ordinary treasure since it holds a sentimental value that couldn't be measured by money.
I was shocked when someone handed me a scratch paper, and I didn't even know why I accepted the paper in the first place, and I shook my head when I realized I was so stupid for receiving a trash. I released a heavy sigh as I walked towards the trash bin, and before I threw the paper, something caught my eye. And I couldn't believe my luck; it seemed like I was still lucky after all.
I almost screamed when I read what was written on the paper in bold letters, and I couldn't believe someone was looking for a roommate at this time. And I was hoping this person hadn't found a roommate yet. I fished out my phone and dialed the number, and I realized I didn't have enough load to make a call.
I got so frustrated with my current situation as I quickly typed that I am interested in sharing a room, and I know my future roommate is still a stranger to me. Still, I told her a lie regarding Carol, which is why I needed a place to stay. And I told her I would come to her place the moment I was off from my work. And I begged her to reserve the space for me.
"Okay, see you later then, and I can't wait to see you." She responded with a heart emoji, and I felt so happy that I could find a place to stay, and maybe this was meant to happen. It is about time I leave Carol since she had done nothing but bring her friends now and then, and sometimes I ended up studying outside our room since I couldn't stop them from being so noisy.
"Mariela! Earth to Ella!" I heard my boss calling my name, but I spaced out again, and when I turned my head and looked at her, I could see the anger on her face she was trying to hide while her hands were on her hips.
"Good evening, Ms. Ramirez," I greeted her.
"Good evening, please follow me to my office, please." She said in an assertive tone, and I could see the seriousness on her face, and I knew I would be in big trouble. I walked behind her while I could see the worried look on my best friend's face as she watched me get inside my boss's office, and this was not the first time she called my attention.
"Sit," She ordered, and I could no longer see the tenderness on her face every time she saw me.
"Ella, do you still remember the day I hired you?" She asked, and I slowly nodded my head.
"I am so disappointed with you, Mariela; what happened to you? I hire you because of what I have seen in you. You are well driven, dependable, and most of all, hardworking. You are no longer the Ella I used to know. You always come to work late, and lately, I have seen in your DTR you always have an undertime." She said, and I could see the frustrations on her face.
"I am sorry, Ms. Ramirez, I," She cut me off before I could defend myself.
"I don't want to hear any more excuses, Ella, and this would be your last chance. I don't want to give up on you yet because I know you. Please, Ella, don't allow personal matters to ruin your performance at work, try to separate your personal life from your job, or else I don't have a choice but to fire you." My boss said, and before I could even say thank you, she had already left me, and I am so thankful I was given another chance to work at her Resto Bar.
I took a deep sigh of relief as I realized I couldn't afford to lose my job now that my sister's condition had worsened. I walked out of my boss's office and strode towards the main dining area, trying to mask my emotion that everything was fine.