My room was a tragedy. I had a bed, a small closet, nothing more. The bathroom was a toilet, a sink, and a shower. And the absolute best part was that no one had bothered to disguise the fact that the whole thing was just a concrete cave. That’s right, gray, lumpy concrete, cold and unwelcoming, stretched from floor to ceiling and everywhere in between.
I actually laughed when I saw it. How was this environment going to prevent me from offing myself? If anything, it inspired it.
Grant frowned at my total disrespect for the “sanctuary,” but I couldn’t help it. I dropped the crate on my naked mattress.
“This is classy,” I said. “This is elegance itself.”
“Simplicity inspires tranquility,” he urged.
“Oh, is that what you call it? Man, this is just ugly. I’m sorry, I mean, I wasn’t expecting paradise, but give a girl an afterlife and she’ll imagine certain standards. You guys really know how to disappoint.”
He hated me. I was pretty much sure of it at that point. Well, fine. I wasn’t here to make friends. I wasn’t here to do much of anything actually, so what did it matter what he thought? As far as I was concerned, I was dead and this was some kind of hideous purgatory.
“Well, we also have a budget. You’re welcome to make improvements if you see fit.”
I nodded. “I will most definitely work on that. But I’m sure you still have some sort of agenda for me?”
He raised his clipboard. “A full day actually. First, we’ll go out to the farm and let you see how things operate. You’ll shadow one of our other girls for a few weeks until you’re ready to go on your own.”
I took a final glance around my new home. “Then lead the way.”
There were trucks in a nearby lot that were used to get to the farm. Grant drove, which seemed strange given his apparent injury.
“I use the other foot,” he said out of the blue.
“My left foot works fine. It was a bit of an adjustment, but I’ve had plenty of time to figure it out.”
Maybe I’d been staring?
“Oh. So what’s wrong with the other one?”
He shrugged. “It just doesn’t work. Never has… Back in Terminal A, I had a wheelchair. Even though I only had one bad leg, they both seemed pretty useless.”
I wondered what had inspired this sudden heart to heart, but I did feel for him. It couldn’t have been easy being so limited.
“Is that why you left?” I asked.
“Believe me, I had bigger problems. I mean, it was tough, but not worth dying over. I left because I didn’t belong. I was pretty sick for a long time, and nobody really understood that. I wasn’t trying to escape though. I wanted there to be something more, an opportunity I hadn’t had before. I figured with more opportunity, I was certain to be all right and find happiness.” He smiled at me. “And I have.”
It must have been nice having that kind of hope. For some reason, I just knew no amount of relocation would fill my void.
“I was looking for a way out,” I muttered. “Specifically, an end.”
He shook his head. “No you weren’t.”
“I beg your pardon?”
“If you really wanted to die, you would have hung yourself or overdosed or jumped off something. People who take the train know there’s a chance of survival. You were after the chance.”
I rolled my eyes. “Sorry, I missed the part where you became an expert on my life. I took the train because I didn’t want to suffer. I didn’t want to hurt myself. I just wanted to disappear.”
“Sure you did.”
“Oh my God, Grant! You don’t know me! Don’t pretend you know me!”
I shouldn’t have shouted, but who did he think he was anyway? I crossed my arms and looked out the window.
We passed a big, industrial-looking building.
“What’s that?” I asked to change the subject.
“The plant. You shouldn’t ever need to go there. It’s just generating electricity, stuff like that.”
“That’s a job here?”
“Yeah. Look, I’m sorry if—”
“It’s okay. Just be respectful.” I was partially mocking him, but if he didn’t watch himself, we’d have a real problem.
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