Eliza: Cockroach Dinner


Choices considered; Eliza picked an apartment that would work with her limited budget. Rent control meant undesirable apartments, the one she rented came with a host of unwelcome guests. Emilie offered to find another apartment, make regular payments to help cover the rent, but Eliza declined, determined to prove she could survive alone. She preferred the Arts district with its varied cultures, as she visited the museums and galleries, feeding the soul. Her mother’s suggestion would move her to the spice district, while she may gain space, it would bring her back under her parent’s control, where she lived may mean she has to share her apartment with rats, but she could live freely.

Eliza prepared dinner: her thoughts wandered; the school encouraged future consideration, would she go to university, take an apprenticeship, or apply to the bottom of any career ladder. As a child she thought she would become a doctor or a vet; having a love for animals, Eliza had really believed in the latter. The changes in her life altered her perspective; a future career seemed rooted in a manual labour job; the supervisor offered her a position after high school, which may start her on the road to becoming a botanist. She cringed, spiky shrubs, and getting the dirt from out her hair and nails, a permanent state of uncleanliness made her shudder. Charlotte enjoyed her reflection, proud acceptance of her vanity; Eliza knew her sister had a point when it came to self-care, her current regime made her skin dry, despite the lotions.  Water bubbled furious, awaiting the pasta; above this, she heard a noise, as though someone was tapping the wall, except quieter. On the wall, a half dozen cockroaches were circling, shrieking; Eliza dialled the landlord, praying they could visit, unconcerned, he agreed to “fit her in” the following week.

Grabbing her rucksack, she needed space from noisy neighbours and the addition of rats chewing her shoes. Eliza made her way to the park, hoping fresh air and quiet would soothe her mood; the hot dog smell did nothing to help as her stomach growled. She tried remaining polite with her neighbours, appealing for reason, or understanding for a young woman’s education needs, but they were rude, telling her to “Get a Life”, which they failed to see was what she was trying to do. What added to her stress was starting a new school late in her academic life; they insisted on makeup exams. Her grades slipped, concerned, the teachers threatened to hold her back from graduating, the syllabus and teaching were different, which impacted her understanding. It was another price to pay in order to seize a life free of her oppressive father. Finishing the essay, Eliza hoped for change, that settling here would include a night partying, this was the city and she needed to embrace what it offered.

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