Excerpt from Love At Last

Chapter One

Danielle

Monday Is a Bitch

I hate early mornings, but I especially hate MONDAY mornings. But hey, I know that I am not alone in my hatred for the first day of the work week. You see, Monday mornings are incredibly hectic in my household; they are constant reminders as to why I should be single. My boyfriend of five years live together in a small one bedroom apartment in Los Angeles, and before I go any further, rent ain’t cheap ok? Which means that we BOTH have to work. Unfortunately, I am the only one who does (and has been since the first of last year when he lost his job as an account manager for a mid-sized security company) and I will most assuredly get to that later. So, for over a year I have found myself having to go in TWO hours early just to squeeze in some overtime. As a matter of fact last week I had to beg, plead and borrow just to scrape up the money to turn our lights back on AND buy some food for the house. Any who, back to the reason why Mondays are a bitch: I have to get up at four, attempt to do some housekeeping before I leave (even though I will have to do it again when I come home) and then beat feet out the door before “his majesty” wakes up and asks me a million questions which when dealing with him has the potential to make me late. And God forbid he rolls over and decides that he wants some early morning “cookie”. But thankfully, today is the day that period has decided to grace me with its presence, so just as I am grabbing my bag and my jacket, I hear nothing but loud snoring coming from the bedroom.

I hate driving, especially downtown Los Angeles so I usually just park my car (a 2000 all white Honda Accord) in the Green-line parking structure and ride the train to work and today is no exception. I park my car between a beat up forest green Sudan and a 1995 funny colored BMW, slip on my flip-flops (yes I wear them on my way to work. You try walking in five inch heels all day riding public transportation and walking to and fro and you will quickly find out that before the end of the day, your feet will hate you.), load my “work shoes” and my lunch in my favorite tote bag, do a once over in my mirror to make sure I at least do not have any food stuck in my teeth and make my way to the train. I say a little prayer that even at 5:15 in the morning, my ride to work is uneventful and that instead of laying in the bed all day and eating us out of house and home, the man with the title “boyfriend” is in front of the computer screen and making use of the resume I put together for him. I hate Mondays. I really do.

I work for a small law firm on 5th and Wilshire as a legal assistant. The pay is ok, all things considered but being the go-getter that I am I am working on my paralegal certification. And before you say anything Paralegals make good money, at least in my case good enough for me to move on from my living situation. Don’t get me wrong, I am sure somewhere in the pit of my stomach I do love King (again don’t. say. Anything. I am not the one who named him) BUUUUUUUUUUT he has done quite a bit of damage not only to me but to our relationship and as I have gotten older and much more mature I have realized that I don’t have to take that shit. Excuse the ghetto that just came out of me but it is the truth.

Moving on, I already have my Bachelors of Arts in Liberal Studies from Cal-State Dominguez but what the hell am I going to do with that? Now that the job market is messed up I need to do something that is practical and that I will not have to worry about the field coming to an end. And it is painstakingly clear that people with legal problems are never going to go away and there is such a wide range of law to work around in, I figured why not? I did at one time want to be a lawyer, which is still a dream that I may pursue, and I already work at a law firm so again, why not?

So, where was I? Oh yes, so I work as a legal assistant at a Disability law firm. I have been there for a little over two years and I feel that it is time for some advancement. Between being the sole provider for my household AND paying off my student loans, I most definitely need to upgrade. It is unfortunate that I am the only African American, black person, Negro, whatever the politically correct term for a person of African descent is that works at the firm. Everyone else is either Mexican, or white and there is that lone Asian that ironically works in accounting. I have good report with everyone, or in laymen’s terms, it is pretty chill. I actually enjoy working in a professional environment. My pay is salary based and not hourly; I know that everyone here has some formal degree of education or training and my benefits package is nothing to complain about: full medical and dental coverage, 401K, a free gym membership to 24 Hour Fitness (which I have yet to use) and access to a company owned time share in Lake Tahoe.

Stepping off of my last train, it is now almost six in the morning and my REAL shift does not begin until 9, but I have to do what I have to do so I guess I should not complain. The walk is a long 15 minutes and I say long because each block is a stretch. The sun has yet to fully peek over the horizon; the early shades of blue are barely breaking through the still darkened sky. The air is crisp, clean and ridiculously chilly. Granted, it is still in the middle of winter (early January) and I do prefer the cold but as I expressed earlier, it is Monday and I would have still loved to lay in the bed for an extra hour. My toes have lost all feeling due to the freezing temperature, but once I am inside the building and can relax and enjoy the warmth and comfort of the heater, my toes will be just fine.

Throughout the course of my walk, I realized nothing has changed in this area. I see the same old abandoned buildings that squatters have taken control of; the streets are littered with trash and last night’s festivities; I see the same drunkard passed out on his favorite bus bench snoring peacefully; and the same homeless woman who has been on the streets for so long she has forgotten who she is. She reeks of a combination of smells; smells that are from her lack of care in her personal hygiene and just from living in the streets. She holds what appears to be meaningful conversations with herself as there is no one who is physically there to entertain her. There have been days where it was quite clear that whoever she was talking to had pissed her all the way off and as I am a couple of blocks away from her I could still hear her voice ranting and shouting at the top of her lungs at this invisible manifestation of her outrage. My heart goes out to her, and today is not any different.

As I finally approach the building where I work I quicken my pace because it is a little after six and I need as much overtime as I can get, but just as I open the door to enter the five story building my phone buzzes. It’s a text message from King. It read, “What time are u off?” It takes everything in me to not reply with something nasty but instead I swallow my anger and reply,” 6. Why?” He does not answer me back and at this point I could care less. It is a damn shame that at six in the morning I already have an attitude so I turn my Samsung Galaxy III off and toss it back in my bag. I acknowledge the overweight security guard who sits at his desk in the lobby with a quick,” Good morning” and make my way over to the ladies room to put on the black pumps that I purchased from Target. The shoes add an additional four inches to my already 5’7” height. My black slacks are slimming and my favorite white gold buttoned blouse makes me feel a bit better about myself. Here at work, I keep my black shoulder length black hair pulled back in a neat little bun and since I wear no make-up I take pride in keeping my cocoa brown skin healthy looking. I do one last once over in the mirror, apply some Chap stick and even though by no stretch of the imagination am I fat, I remind myself that maybe it is time that I use that free gym membership. Then I make my way to the elevator, press the button for the fifth floor and prepare to start my day. Monday mornings are truly a bitch. Let’s hope that the rest of the day is not.

If you are interested in the rest of the story download it on Smashwords. Here is the link to my profile: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/465611

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