Suddenly the lights went out, everything went dark, even the little red lights went out. The elevator was falling down. I quickly grabbed for some hold otherwise I probably would have fallen. My phone slipped from my hand in the rush and it fell to the floor of the elevator with a loud bang. I really hoped it wasn't broken because I don't think I had enough money at that point to buy a new one. My purse also slipped off my shoulder and stuck to my upper arm, but I accidentally stepped on the long strap, causing the hook to come loose and it cut right into my arm. I didn't feel it because I was busy clinging to the thick aluminum bar.
The elevator suddenly stopped and then....
I thought it was hanging from a string that might break at any moment and I would fall to my death. A small white light came on, illuminating the elevator a little. I saw the door a little dully and ran to it. I started banging on it and called out for help:
'hello...is anyone here? Help! I'm stuck! Does anyone hear me?'
After calling for half an hour to two hours and having no response, I gave up. My voice had almost left me and my blouse was wet with sweat and tears. I don't like the dark. I slumped down quietly on the floor of the elevator sobbing with my arms and legs raised like a stiff flower sack. There I sat twenty-two year old me alone in the dark.
At one point I got a feeling as if someone was sitting next to me. I looked carefully and actually saw a girl about seven years old sitting next to me. She looked a little like me when I was seven. She started speaking and said,
"Nice, to see. That I'm not going to stay here alone.'
I didn't understand what the girl meant and I got scared. I immediately asked her,
'What do you mean? After a while someone is going to find us then can get out of here.'
The girl gave a watery smile and said,
"I've always been alone, always in the dark and the shadows of everyone."
I screamed my lungs out.
After half an hour I was crying and whining again while the seven-year-old girl sitting next to me just sat quietly with a watery smile on her face. I probably wasn't paying attention because I wasn't alone in the elevator. Besides the young girl, there was another person sitting with me, an older woman.
The woman looked to be eighty or so, gasping for breath as if she couldn't get any oxygen in. I asked her if she wanted an inhaler, I always walk with an inhaler because I sometimes get panic attacks which is very annoying, so that's why the doctor advised that. The old woman nodded and I gave her my inhaler, because she is old she had trouble breathing, not because she was also getting some kind of attacks I thought.
After a few minutes she started talking.
'You know child...'
I thought she was speaking to the young girl, but was speaking to me. She had her whole body facing me, looked me straight in the eyes and started talking to me as if I were a small child.
"There have been many difficulties in life, many nightmares and living scarecrows." What did she mean by that, I asked myself. 'You. You are one of the people who lives in darkness.'
The seven-year-old girl then explained something that had happened to her to me.
* * * * *
'Mom, can you help me with this paper?'
Mother was on the phone having a conversation with her employer who was about to fire her because she had taken several weeks off to help my brother with his schoolwork.
'Mom, would you check.'
My mother signaled me to stay quiet for a moment and I waited reassuringly. After she finished calling, she quickly walked to the room and started grabbing some work clothes from the closet.
'Mom, are you going to help me? I have to point this out to the teacher tomorrow.'
Mother didn't look at me, as she walked to the bathroom she said,
'dear, I'm sorry, but not right now. Maybe I can help you later, when I get off work. Okay?'
I knew it would be very late before mother got back from work and there would be almost no time before I had to go to sleep. I put on my very best face and said,
'Okay mom, when you get home then. I'll go put on a neat dress then.'
'Yes. Do that.'
Said mom and she disappeared behind the bathroom curtain. I walked to my room and grabbed a yellow summer dress from the closet. I put it on and combed my hair into a ponytail, it was a crooked one, but yeah, no one cared about that. Because my mother didn't have much time for me, I taught myself to comb my hair myself, which is pretty fantastic for a seven-year-old girl.
On the way to work, my mother dropped me off at the home of my oldest brother, Gerald; he was eighteen and lived in a small apartment with two roommates near the university. He very much wanted to be a psychologist so he was trying hard. His roommates, Karin and Melissa, were two weirdos together. Those two made noise all the time and you couldn't concentrate well at all there, I don't know how Gerald studied there.
I sat in Gerald's room messy all day while he was busy studying. His room had only leaves and books here and there. I ate a reheated cooked-out corn at noon that didn't taste good and drank a can of warm soft. Gerald hadn't gone grocery shopping in two months and so now ate only his canned foods. He paid me no attention and I did nothing but try to read the hard-written magazines and books.
After a while I was fed up and fell asleep on his bed, that night my mother went home thinking she still had to pick me up. She was already fully bathed and had already put on her sleepwear. She thought about coming to pick me up but didn't.
It wasn't until the next day that she came to get me and got a whole lecture from Gerald about leaving me there. Mother tried to explain that she was dead tired from work, but Gerald didn't listen. She got angry about this and said that it was hard enough raising money to pay for his studies, his apartment rent, pay the power and water bill of their own house and pay for my school. Gerald was angry that mother had said this and he said,
"You know what. I'm not going to ask you to help me with rent, study or any other money anymore. You just stay with Kara, then you'll have less work. And she's your one and only daughter, right?'
Gerald walked in. Mother said nothing, but had tears in her eyes.
I didn't understand what Gerald meant by that and got scared.
"Mom, what did Gerald mean?'
"Nothing, Kara. absolutely nothing.'
We got into the car and I thought we were going home, but no. Mother drove past our house at a speed, I didn't dare ask why. We drove for a good three quarters of an hour when suddenly we stopped at an unfamiliar house.
The house was rather smaller than the one they had now. Mother got out of the car and told me to wait a moment. A man came out of the house, he had a light beard and messy hair. He didn't seem to have slept well because his eyes were red. I knew him, he was my father. My mother had sent him out of the house after she found out he was on alcohol and for something else, but I didn't know that. Mother stood away from him and he said smiling,
"Marie, after such a long time.'
Mother did not smile but said,
"I have come here with a request, Kian. I want you to take up the duty as your daughter's father and start taking care of her.'
"Come now Marie, you know I can't do that.'
Mother said sternly,
'She is your daughter Kian and not mine. You and Sarah made a mistake and now don't want to take care of your child.'
'And what about Gerald then, surely he belongs to both of us. Why can't you just take care of Kara for a while?'
My mother didn't like how father spoke and said,
'Gerald is my son and Kara is your daughter, that's how it is. And I'm going to take care of my son, you do the same with your daughter.'
Mother walked to the car and said,
'Come Kara, you are going to stay with daddy from today.'
I thought it was strange and said,
'But, why, I want to stay with you. Please mother, don't do this.'
I started to burst into tears violently there. My mother left me with my boozer of a father, who also paid no attention to me and let me stay in the house and watch TV all day, which is how I got asthma. I was getting short of breath one of the days, but my father didn't understand it thought I was playing some kind of joke until I passed out. So soon he took me to the hospital, after which he was arrested for being drunk. The doctors helped me and taught me how to use an inhaler, it went a little well and I had to stay in the hospital for two days.
After two days, a black car took me to an orphanage. I refused to get out and protested that I wanted to go to my father. The driver grabbed me by my arms and put me on the ground he said,
"This is your new home, your father cannot and WILL not take care of you and your mother who committed suicide three days ago and the woman who was going to take care of you, Mary. She is in money trouble and can't pay you.'
That was way too much information for me when I was seven, how did I have two mothers I thought. That was strange. I walked into the building and since that day I have had no word from anyone, not from my mother and not from my father. I did get a card from Gerald once that said he had a little brother, Chris.
Must that mean that I have a little brother also?
No one sought me out, though times got good. I made a life for myself out of this nightmare.
Now I knew it the little girl was me, seven-year-old Kara. And the eighty-year-old woman was me too, what happened? I got scared and said,
Both the old woman and the young girl answered, this was scary. Seven-year-old Kara said,
"Kara, you are not Mary's daughter!"
her voice echoed in the elevator and it became very hold. I started to sweat. Eighty-year-old Kara said,
'You're alone in the world, now look where you are. Alone in this elevator.'
Her eyes got so big and it looked like they were going to fall out. Kara pressed herself against the elevator and said,
"No, that's not true.'
Seven-year-old Kara stood up and said,
'Kara, you're going to die alone and no one is going to miss you or think about you. Die, Kara! Go away! You're a burden to people, don't you understand that?'
Kara went crazy and said,
'No, no, no. I am alive and I am alive. And I have a mother, mother.'
A lady stood with a clipboard in front of the thick glass, next to her was a tall young gentleman. The woman was wearing thin glasses and said, 'We have tried everything sir, but we cannot help her. my apologies.' The gentleman folded his hands and sighed, "It's okay, goodbye sister.'
'I am Kara Sandelwood, alive, in the here.' 'Kara...' a young girl's voice said sarcastically then laughed cutely.
- To be continued