Publication Date: Feb 16 2015
ISBN/EAN13: 1508519374 / 9781508519379
Page Count: 214
Related Categories: Fiction / Christian / General
Available in paperback and eBook formats.
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Womans-Choice-Barry-Irwin-Brophy/dp/1508519374 or http://www.amazon.com/Womans-Choice-Barry-Brophy-ebook/dp/B00TSR8VGG/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=&qid=
Excerpt from Chapter 1 of A Woman’s Choice
It was early…way too early to be awake. The sun still slept under the heavens while a misty fog had crept into the streets before the town awoke. Everett, Washington was a tiny city on the outskirts of the Puget Sound. It bordered the threshold of Washington’s mountainous evergreen forests to the north with the tumultuous life of the Seattle city suburbs to the south.
An eerie quietness wrapped the city in an embrace reminiscent of life from the 1900s. The silence of the city could be felt by Katrina as she quickly and quietly trekked through the town. Clutching what belongings she possessed, she focused her attention onto a crumpled piece of paper in her hand, trying to decipher the writing in the dark morning light. The piece of paper echoed its presence like an ancient metronome inside her mind; shaking her with each penetrating sound. What haunted her more were the words on the paper and the decision she wrestled with in her conscience.
Masked and coated with bits of charred eye shadow, Katrina tried to mask her weariness. Like a porcelain doll, she had caked on too much makeup masking the identity of her sorrows; these sorrows, sealed in her hollow shell of existence, would periodically creep out of her body and call eerily out for someone to rescue her.
No one answered her soul’s cry for help. No one ever seemed interested in her long enough unless they were using her for something. She had no one she could trust with the intimate details of her life.
Blonde streaks of cheap hair dye seemed to signify some quality of cleanliness but her unkempt manner left her hidden physical beauty an outward reflection of grotesqueness concealed in the gutters and back alleys famous to this small town. Katrina was a woman of many sorrows.
The rank stenches of toxic and decaying pollutants from factories filled her nostrils as she breathed rapidly while walking the streets of Everett. Seeming to clasp her in its malevolent presence, the accompanying fog invited Katrina to disappear from existence; a self-annihilation to the present problems in her life. All of these combinations of emotions, sights, and smells blended together to remind Katrina it was another Friday morning.
As Katrina turned right onto Pacific Avenue and continued to walk briskly down the street, traffic seemed non-existent during the early awakenings of the day. The sun slowly crept up over the mountains to the east as Katrina scouted the location for the nearest bus stop she commonly knew by heart. Her feet ached like an elderly woman’s flaring arthritis, twisting and grinding her ankles she used thanks to the dingy pair of stilettos she wore; they were two sizes too small. Checking her purse for change, Katrina counted just enough money and a little extra to fund a bus fare to spare her feet from perpetual torture from her stilettos.
Finding it excruciatingly painful and hard to sit on the bus stop bench, Katrina gazed down at her abdomen and resented her pregnancy. What a worse time to be expecting a child, she thought, I can’t work like this.
Having racked up quite a tardy record at her job, Katrina’s boss had threatened to fire her more times than she liked to remember. Now with the pregnancy, he had commented that her weight would also be bad for business; Katrina was forced to solve the problem or die on the cold streets she called home. She had nothing to turn to and no one to aid her in her life. Katrina felt cursed. With every waking moment, the burden of survival was too much.
The pregnancy is too physically draining, she thought, destroying my pitiful life like a cancer. The clinic was her only option of solution. Feeling tears well up in her eyes, Katrina cursed God.
“Why have You done this to me?” she whispered in frustration, “I never asked for any of this! I hate You!”
Katrina’s eyes locked onto her bulging stomach again; her sadistic self-hatred seemed to burn an invisible hole of emptiness through herself. I’m the size of a whale and every guy knows it, her twisted addict thoughts chided through various portions of her mind. I’ll never have someone to call my own. No man wants to shack up with a knocked up girl like me. Katrina endured never ending pain and numbness from these types of thoughts as they stirred her emotions.
An elderly woman approached the bus stop as Katrina began to drift into an unconsciously awake state mostly from the residual hangover of alcohol and drugs from the previous night. Rolling her eyes in judgment, Katrina noted the bright blue dress of the woman. Obviously two decades too old, cackled her thoughts. The old woman appeared so out of place. Something about her presence marveled Katrina though; she could not fathom cohesive words to describe why she was drawn to her. It must be her awkward appearance, Katrina concluded.
“Beautiful mornin’,” smiled the elderly Jamaican woman with a thick accent, “good bein’ alive.”
Katrina’s eyes fluttered a few times in surprise to her address. This lady is crazy, she thought. What a joke laughed Katrina to herself as she taunted the woman with more insults inside her mind: delirious and poorly dressed.
“If you enjoy the rancid smell of pollution,” snapped Katrina as she began to contemplate a method to slip the woman’s purse away from the bench.
“You gotta take one day at a time child. Each one’s a gift from God.”
“Or a curse,” snorted Katrina in arrogance.
“What’s makin’ you think ‘dat?” asked the woman.
Katrina’s mind was bursting with erratic and irrational thoughts. Why are you talking to me, thought Katrina as she felt rage build up inside of her body? Stupid cow, continued her thoughts, how dare you think of something so cruel. Katrina’s negative thoughts bounced from one topic to the next like a tennis ball ricocheting back and forth against the wall. Did she know her life? Did she know her pain? Did she know what it was like to use every relationship imaginable for your own survival? Did-she? Did she? Did-she?! Of course not!
“Do you have the time?” barked Katrina, as she waited for the right moment to slip the lady’s purse unknowingly away from her sight.
“Seven forty-seven,” smiled the lady as she turned to watch Katrina’s feeble hand gently move away from her purse. Just play it cool, she thought, the dumb broad is too old to notice. Feeling paralyzed with embarrassment at her unsuccessful robbery, Katrina felt flabbergasted by the woman’s next question identifying her real need.
“Did ya be needin’ sum money?”
What? She asked what? Katrina said nothing as her eyes widened in utter disbelief and her pupils dilated in confusion at the woman’s response. She should have called the police by now because of her attempt to take her purse. Has not my unkempt manner scared her off, thought Katrina?
The woman continued talking, “You not the only one to grow up on the streetz. I spent twelve years on the streetz of Kingston. How much ya needin’?”
Silence. Katrina did not reply at the embarrassment of her botched burglary attempt.
“Well,” began the woman, “here’s a twentah’. Should be getting ya a bus fare and sum mealz. You children always takin’ without no askin’. No mannerz ‘dese dayz.”
Katrina felt dumbfounded: why did this lady want to help her? No person ever wanted to help her in the past. Why now? Was something different? Had some cosmic exchange of chance transpired in her pathetic life? What had happened? What was…?
“Do ya have a name?” inquired the lady as she reached into her purse and pulled out a pink stick of chewing gum, “don’t talk much? Well, mine’s Anita. Anita Moore.”
“Katrina,” she squeaked in reply. Maybe…maybe I should walk this time, thought Katrina, this lady is way too friendly. The continual chattering of Anita continued to irk Katrina’s thoughts. The lady garbled on and on about her late husband. She must have spent ten minutes chiding away about her life’s story. Boring, boring, and continuing, lamented Katrina.
Gazing into the street, Katrina noticed various ancient debilitated buildings that surrounded the city like soldiers inside a fort. Most buildings stood out like weeds in a garden; however, the city’s ongoing development was a fusion of past and present architectural brilliance. Housing the first levels of the buildings were various businesses, cafes, and other assorted shops of knick-knacks reminiscent of the 1900s. The shops were packed tightly together offering a beautifully eclectic visualization of compartmentalization. It was the epitome of an illustration of small town America. Thinking about anything besides Anita’s ramblings was more tolerable.
“Ya know,” said Anita, “if ya needin’ help ‘dere’s a mission down the road.”
“I don’t need help!” screamed Katrina as she jumped up from the bench, tripped and snapped her left stiletto heel, and ran away from the bus stop as fast as a limping individual could.
The echoing sound of scraping heels against concrete and one stiletto pierced her feet in agony with the remembrance of the pain these shoes created. The clamoring sound of concrete seemed quite low compared to the screams her feet yelped out in sorrow. The pain was unbearable. Her emotional torment was illustrated in the repetitive grinding of her feet as she hobbled towards the clinic. She could not deal with the stress anymore.
“I hate You,” cried Katrina as she waved her fists in rage towards God, like a toddler exhibiting a tantrum, “Why have You done this?”
Tears flowed from Katrina’s eyes like a great flood. Slowly feeling her anger bury itself back into her mind, Katrina gathered her rumpled self and tried to locate the nearest coffee shop.
I’m starving, she thought, I haven’t eaten in two days. Her stomach cramped in rebellion as she hobbled down the street seeking much needed nutritious sustenance. Her body was plagued with continual muscle spasms of all shapes, sizes, and proportions while her stick like bones stuck to her skin like old crusted pieces of leather wrapped around tent poles. She felt as though an octopus was wrapping its tendrils slowly around her organs. With each passing minute, she felt her organs ache and convulse under the weight of her misery. Turning from the alley, Katrina glanced across the street and noticed a small coffee shop.
The storefront was like a small shanty squished between two four level brick buildings. No more than ten feet in length, Katrina could see the hazy, blurred windows tinted to produce shade in the summer months. An “open” sign shone its vibrant red color tainted into a cool dark crimson with the added window tint. Extremely old bricks plastered the foundation of the building like old cobblestones lining the streets of some Hollywood rendition of past century living.
Feeling the inclination of some driving force stir her inside, Katrina carefully crossed the street and peered inside the window. Through the distorted bronze glass windows, Katrina watched as an Asian man rustled through different dining materials; trying to organize the cafe before anyone entered.
Placing small sandwiches, freshly made, onto the nearby shelves for purchase, Katrina longed to engulf one of the sandwiches to quench the agony of her starvation. Like a warm touch enrapturing her nostrils, Katrina could smell the different combinations of freshly baked goods complemented with the different blends of freshly brewing coffees. Reaching into her pocket, Katrina pulled out the crumpled twenty dollar bill Anita had given her. Feeling the bill’s crispness between her fingers, Katrina turned around in disappointment as she realized she would have to repress her insatiable appetite for physical nourishment.
Starting to walk up Pacific Avenue again, Katrina fought her emotions from snapping her sanity like twigs. She felt hollow, empty, and lifeless. It was as if Katrina lived inside a cage in the deep dark levels of her body. Her physical actions and expressions were mere random reactions in which she had no control over. Over the years, her real identity had disappeared. Life was pain and that’s all Katrina had ever experienced. God was dead; yet, when the world was silent and all was still, Katrina dwelt on the subject of God more than ever.
There had to be something more; this could not be the epitome of existence. If He is just, why does He allow evil? Why do the innocent suffer? God was a contradiction. God was mere fantasy: an adult version of Santa Claus, the tooth fairy, or an imaginary friend. Yet, something inside of her still felt alien with such thoughts. She could not face the possibility of this nor did she want to examine spirituality. But what she did know was the world was not just…
Turning left onto Rucker Avenue, Katrina watched the cars slowly drive by her. The roads were tar black while different houses and apartments passed as she walked onward like an unfulfilled dream. Tattoo parlors dotted the streets with check-and-cash advance stores waiting to legally racketeer men and women who were struggling financially to survive. Passing by a dollar store, Katrina wondered if any new products had arrived. In America’s weak economy, dollar stores had become the necessities for family survival; especially for Katrina.
Teenagers walked passed Katrina oblivious to the harsh realities of life while overgrown ivies inched along the dark cobblestone supports, holding up various buildings. This area was one of the main streets that intersected other neighborhoods in Everett.
The wind rose in intensity as Katrina turned the corner of 43rd street and Rucker. Most of the sunrise had consumed the residual mist of the morning like a vacuum purging the area of visual distortions created by the vapor. It still left an eerie feeling though, as Katrina could still feel the damp air saturate her body while walking down the sidewalk.
Looking to the left, Katrina noted the apartments and closed her eyes, imagining a fairy tale fantasy of what ordinary life felt like. She could see the aged wooden furniture complementing the serene ivory colored carpet and matching curtains. In her mind, Katrina imagined walking through this home she could call her own. The hallway, she walked down, glistened with silk smooth pearl colored walls. The texture of the walls was cool to touch and adorned with precisely placed pictures of family portraits of her brothers, sisters, mother, and father she had never known. Under her bare feet, the carpet felt like fleece. One could lie on the floor and remain wrapped in its warmth while remembering past days of positive family memories.
Unfortunately, Katrina’s dream of a luxurious life was shattered to pieces…