"Rags to Riches" - Episode 2
"Rags to Riches" - Episode 2
I kept going back to the same bar, and met many new people. A couple of roomies even asked me back for a meal at their house once. But it was only once.
Things began well, we had a nice meal together. Maaike Haas talked non-stop and didn't care too much how it made her roomie feel when she left her out of conversations. My God does this woman every shut up! At least I've had a good meal.
Unable to stay awake, her boring conversation saw me falling asleep on the floor . But she didn't even notice. Ulrike continued on cooking embarrassed at my indiscretion and rudeness.
What made it worse, Maaike came and woke me up and began rambling on again putting us both to sleep this time leaving poor Ulrike cleaning everything up, and doing the dishes.
Then I did a really dumb thing. I was so tired, that while Ulrike was on the computer or watching TV, I don't remember which, I had a shower and used her robe that was hanging in the bathroom. I just wanted to nap I didn't think I would nap for long.
So I crawled into her bed but I fell into deep slumber. She was quite shocked when she found me asleep in her bed! She didn't even wake me, but when I awoke in the morning, I felt so embarrassed and ashamed.
I thought I'd make their breakfast, leave a apology note and go before anyone woke, but that didn't go to plan either.
After making a very mediocre breakfast, Ulrike walked in and surprised me just as I was about to race off robe and all.
'Kori, what are you doing?'
'Oh...Ulrike, er...hi, I...er made breakfast.' I rolled my eyes. 'I am so sorry, I didn't mean to fall asleep in your bed. I was just so--.'
'It's okay, Kori I had work late anyway. Today is my day off so I'll catch up.'
We began chatting and became good friends, being a bit of a free spirit not too much upset her, fortunately. She even let me keep the robe.
'I can't take that, it's yours.'
'I have another, they restrict me anyway, I'd prefer to walk around naked to tell you the truth.'
'O...kay, well thanks, but I really should go. I have to get back.'
'Sure, but don't be a stranger, okay and...er could I come see you sometime, it'd be nice to have someone other than..'.she cleared her throat...'Maaike to talk to for a change.'
I laughed and waved goodbye. Maaike still snored in bed.
A few of the locals that always turned up at the bar began ringing me to join them at parties and get togethers. I tried to accept each one, knowing there'd probably be food and drink at these places. One group asked me to a bush dance and since I loved dancing I accepted willingly. Dancing was one thing I did a lot of in my room all those years ago. I locked myself away from my foster parents spending a lot of time in my room. Dancing helped keep my mind off things, so I'd become quite good.
For a while, things became really tough again. I couldn't keep going to the gym shower, people had started to politely ask me to leave. At least I could count on free chips at the bar. Everyone seemed friendly there.
One night during my wanderings while looking for collectables, I came across a group of lemon and cherry trees. The fruit had ripened and it was there for the taking. I harvested all the trees and sold the fruit at the bar. The owner was grateful, particularly with the lemons as they used them in many of their drinks. The cherries he soaked and used in bubbly wine. That night I felt like I'd struck gold.
I'd gathered some rocks and dead wood and made a small fireplace where I could grill any fruit or
fish I'd collected and became quite fond of barbecued fruit, vegetables and particularly fish.
The fire also kept me warm on those chilly days and nights.
With all my foraging, I visited an op shop and had enough money to buy a camping bed and an esky with a small amount of food. I'd found an old bucket to transport water and a shower and toilet at a dump nearby. Fortunately for me, they were in working order, perhaps someone upgraded their old ones and dumped some perfectly good working ones. I'll visit that dump again.
I asked one of my friends at the bar who happened to be an electrician and who knew a plumber. Tradie's seem to know more tradies, so they hooked the toilet and shower up to the water and power on my land that I hadn't been able to tap into as yet.
I began to realise that people knew how desperate I'd become and the kindness shown by so many blew me away.
Then the first bombshell dropped. Several weeks later, the mail person delivered my first bill which of course included the water I'd used in the working shower and toilet. It wasn't much but I knew I couldn't pay even though I had earned enough, but it would leave me with no money once again. I tried to explain that to the postie, and she politely listened.
As friendly as she was, there was little she could do. She was struggling as a single mum with a family of three children, so I had to pay and it cost me most of my money.
I was back to eating the fresh produce from the trees and bushes that I'd become familiar with.
At least my fishing improved and one day I caught a good sized salmon. I cooked it and enjoyed every last morsel that night.
I felt brave enough to venture even further out with great results, finding some onion and blackberry bushes, which I struck and added to my growing garden. Blackberries, apparently sell for quite a high price, being more uncommon. I found an old tin in someone's rubbish bin, (Yes I've resorted to raiding rubbish bins, lots of good things can be discovered) and after punching in a few holes used it and a long, slim stone, to crush up some of the vegies and fruit, mixing them with soil to dry it out and then used it as fertilizer for the plants I hoped would survive.
At long last things began looking up for me, my garden was growing, I had some comfort items at least and my morale and faith in people's kindness increased. What the future holds, I don't know, but for now at least I am surviving.