My name is Maria Snow, and I’m a clerk at a business located in Bridgeport. It’s pretty good money while I paid for my grandmother’s hospital bills. I’ve been working since I was sixteen and quit school, trying to make money to keep her alive.
However, that changed a few months back when she died in the hospital. It was a sudden thing- the doctors said she had just given up on living.
I was a bit shell-shocked. My dad had left when I was six, my mom committing suicide a year later because she couldn’t stand living without him. Grandma, even if she hadn’t been the nicest person, had been the closest thing I had to a parent in a long time.
“Hey, Maria.” My best friend, Lisa Johnson said, appearing beside me with a sly smile on her face. Lisa was a bare year younger then me, but she was genius. She worked for the company to save money for college, even though she had three different scholarship offers.
“Guess what?” She asked, her eyes glinting.
“Did we get a new shipment of staplers?” I answered as I read my email from my grandmother’s lawyer. She’d left me everything- including a piece of property in Riverview. A greenhouse my grandfather had owned. With his murder, they had closed it down and moved to Bridgeport, but it appeared we still owned it. I was debating on what I was going to do with it.
“I got accepted into law school!” was the reply, Lisa bouncing.
“No way!” I said, grinning as she spun in a circle. “That’s great Lisa.” She danced around a bit before going to start up her own computer.
“I’m really excited, if you can’t tell.” she laughed, as she bounced in her chair. “This is going to be so fun!”
Never saw someone that excited for school before.
A few hours later, I was slowly wrapping up the half-day I had been scheduled when our boss called out from his office.
“SNOW! Get in here!” I nodded, and stood, giving Lisa a quick smile.
John Hardson was a nice guy- he let me in when I was sixteen, and with no experience at all. He only ever asked I worked as hard as anyone else.
“Hello Mr. Hardson.” I said, smiling as I walked in. He looked up with a sad look on his face.
“Hello Maria… if you could sit down, this would be easier.”
“What’s wrong sir?”
“Well, you know that we’ve been hiring more graduates, right?”
“Yes, I know.” I said, puzzled by the turn of the conversation. He sighed, and looked at me pityingly.
“Maria… we have to let you go.”
I was shocked. I was terrified- I’d been working for the company since I was sixteen. I’d been there four years!
“Maria, look… I like you. You’re a hard worker, you’re driven, and you bring a bit of joy to this office, but… well, we need more then just that.” Mr. Hardson told me apologetically.
“I’ve… I’ve been here for four years!” I said, unbelievingly.
“I know, and I want to keep you but the bosses on high don’t think we should keep you on. A lot of people are being fired Maria, don’t take this personally.” Mr. Harvardson said.
After a few more moments of shock, he tells me to leave and pack up my desk. Lisa looks up, concern in her face.
“Maria? What’s wrong?” I just stare at my desk, shocked, and then it slips out softly.
“I just got fired.”
An hour later, I’m home, in my small house my grandmother had left me, staring at nothing. What was I going to do? I had almost nothing in savings. I had no highschool education, and no family.
As I sat there, a memory of my mother pops into my head, her favorite phrase appearing.
‘Never let anyone tell you that you can’t.’
“Pity I really can’t now, huh mom?” I ask the air, holding myself tightly. A few moments later the phone rang, and I got up to answer it, wanting to move a bit.
“Miss Snow? This is Janet Harper- the lawyer in charge of your grandmother’s effects. I was wondering what you were planning on doing with the property in Riverwood?” I froze, eyes wide, as a sudden thought occurred to me.
I had options. I wasn’t going to be on the streets. I had a choice.
“How long will it take to sell the Bridgeport property?”
The Greenhouse was built when my grandfather moved to Riverwood. It was a small greenhouse on the bottom, with a large plot of land to the side for outside ventures.
The upstairs had two bedrooms, a kitchen/living room, a closet where they kept the laundry machines, and a bathroom.
Of course, given how old the place was, I had to use a large chunk of the sale of the house in Bridgeport to have it fixed up. A few coats of paint, some new furniture, and I was good.
“Look at all the pastels.” Lisa laughed at me as we look at pictures of my new home.
“I like soft colours.” I protested as she studied my new home.
“Oh, I know. I just like teasing you.” Lisa told me, as she looked at the photos. “So… you’re really going, huh?”
“Yeah… I’ve always liked gardening.” I smiled at Lisa, who grinned, and nodded.
“I think you’re going to have the best time of your life Maria.” She hugged me then. “Life’s not going to be the same without you.”
“I’m just a phone call away.” I protested, and she laughed.
“Alright, well…” she pulled away and smiled one last time. She had to catch the bus to her college, and I had to head to Riverwood. “Don’t forget about me, alright?” She left me, as I watched her go.
She was on to bigger and brighter things. She didn’t need a drop out holding her back.
I turned and left for Riverview, not looking back at Bridgeport.
There was nothing left for me there.
It took a few days until I got to Riverview. I stood in front of the building and let out a low breath.
“Home sweet home.” I murmured, as I stared up at the building. I entered it to find that they had set up a fish tank for me.
Nice, I would have some company.
I found the seeds they had gotten me, and in a stroke of insanity- or curiosity, I grabbed one and went to plant it in a pot.
It felt… odd, but thrilling.
This was my life now.
I made a salad that night, after I had planted some more, and gotten my clothes dirty.
“I should wear gardening clothes,” I remarked to no one, as I cooked my supper. After eating my supper, I went to bed with hope.
I could do this.