By: Alexa Riley

Her sob story got to me, and plus, I needed the help with rent. I’ve lived in this apartment for as long as I can remember. My grandma raised me here, and I never knew my parents. Over the years, I finally got the story of my parents out of my grandma. She said she had no idea who my father was, and my mother just kind of dropped me off one day and never came back. It stung a little to hear that, but I’m thankful enough to be happy that at least my mother had the decency to give me to someone who cared.

When Grandma got sick my last year of high school, we knew it wasn’t a battle she was going to win. She fought hard, but cancer took her from me six months ago after her body finally gave out. I’d put off going to college to be by her side, wanting to have every moment I could with her before the last piece of family I’d ever had slipped through my fingers.

As she grew sicker and sicker I seemed to become more disconnected with the outside world. I went from work to home, home to work. Nothing in between. One by one, my friends started to trickle off. After she passed away, I looked around and it was then I saw how alone I really was. I wouldn’t change the choices I made, though. I’ll cherish every moment I spent with my grandma.

“I’m catching a ride, so I’ll just meet you there.” I turn to look at Harper, but she still has her eyes on her phone. We always take the train into work together since she moved in as neither of us has a car. I had my grandma’s, but I sold it to help cover the funeral cost. It wasn’t a fancy funeral, but I did the best I could with what we had. It was small, but I bet she’s cursing me for having it to begin with. She probably would have rather I saved the money, but I needed it. It helped give me some of the closure I needed.

“I guess I’ll see you there.” I turn to go back to my room, Harper never once looking up at me. I have no problem taking the train; it’s just a little rude for her to have a ride to work and not offer to take me. I always go out of my way for her if I think something might be helpful, so it’d be nice if she would do the same from time to time. Leading by example doesn’t seem to being paying off with her. But I find Harper to be a little self-centered. Sometimes I wonder if she even knows how she’s acting.

There are times she can be sweet. Like inviting me out tonight to hang out. I don’t have many friends. I had actually hoped when Harper moved in we would get to know each other, and that maybe I’d discover that underneath some of her snottiness there might actually be someone nice under there. That has yet to be seen.

I pull off my pajamas, put on a bra, and slip on a halter dress with a long-sleeved cardigan. I pull on some funky leggings to match and opt for simple boots to go with. I spend most of my day on my feet. I have a small office, but we’ve been short staffed, and I’ve been working the front counter most days. I need shoes that won't kill me by the end of the day when I’m making my way back home on the train.

I trudge to the bathroom and put on a little make-up and pull my hair up into a ponytail, not wanting to mess with it.

When I walk back into the kitchen, Harper is still standing in the same place, staring at her phone, but I know she’s moved because her clothes have changed. Her skirt looks a little short for appropriate work attire, but I keep my mouth closed. I learned the lesson of commenting on her clothes before. She might be quick to give criticism, but she isn’t great at taking it, and her responses tend to come back with a slap to my own ego.

“Well, I’m heading out,” I tell her, grabbing my purse and jacket from the stand by the front door.

“Oh, I’ll walk down with you. Nick should be here any second.”

“Nick?” I’ve never heard her mention this name before. I’m pretty sure it was a Ted the last time we talked about who she was dating. I think it was Ted whose ass I got to meet last week when I walked in to find them going at it right on the sofa. I haven’t sat on the thing since.

This explains why she’s done up more than normal this morning. Her make-up seems to have an extra layer to it.

“Like my dress?” She gives a little wiggle, and I can’t find it in me to give her a backhanded response like she would me.

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