Maggie (WW Challenge)

For this weekā€™s writing challenge, shake the dust off something ā€” a clothing item, a post draft, a toy ā€” you havenā€™t touched in ages, but canā€™t bring yourself to throw away.

I started this serialized story about 2 years ago now and then parked it. I was trying to recapture the memories of all those characters I’ve met, lived next to, went to school with, or worked with my whole life. I was just thinking about reviving it.


Maggie

Maggie trudged down the dusty road with her tired feet and her aching back. Sweat poured from her bronzed forehead as the sun pelted down on her small frame. She swallowed hard to moisten her mouth.

A recent high-school drop out, sheĀ was aĀ beautiful 17-year-oldĀ girl, with large brown eyes that had onceĀ held the innocence andĀ vibrancyĀ that onlyĀ youth can portray. Now, as the 5 month old fetus inside herĀ pressed down on her bladder she thought,Ā God,Ā I want to pee so badly.Ā Having already slogged 3 miles,Ā there wasĀ still anotherĀ 2 to go. What had compelled her to try to find a job at this stage of her pregnancy?

“Sorry, girl, we need someone who’ll be around for a long time,” remarked one potential employer, eyeing her belly.

“This is aĀ bottling factory, dear. We can’t afford the lawsuit if you get hurt on the job,” declared another.

Another one flatly put it: “We don’t hire pregnant girls here. You’ll have to be on your feet 9 hoursĀ a day at the checkout counter.”

And several of these: “You need at least aĀ high school diploma to work here.”

Maggie had decided, against her mother’s wishes, to forgo her senior year of high school in favor of the love of her life, Stephen.Ā He hadĀ moved to Riverside the previous year and gotten a job asĀ aĀ mechanic’s assistant.Ā He alsoĀ rented theĀ tinyĀ studio apartmentĀ above the shop. The two had met when Maggie andĀ her mom visited the mechanic’s shop to have her car worked on. For 16-year-oldĀ Maggie at the time, theĀ friendly and welcoming smile from the brawny and imposing Stephen made her feel special. Grown-up. He was built like an Adonis, with short wavy dark hair and tannedĀ skinĀ which indicated thatĀ surely he must have beenĀ plucked from theĀ current issueĀ of GQ magazine.

Within weeks of their meeting, Maggie was skipping school and hanging out with Stephen during the day.Ā Her mother, Janet,Ā didn’t approve. She was a single mother ofĀ 3Ā and was hoping that her children would all at least finish high school and get good jobs. Or join theĀ military, at least.Ā Janet, herself, didn’t accomplish this, having left school early to care for an ailing mother and 3 younger siblings. When Maggie told her that she was dropping out of school last year because she didn’t think she was getting anything out of it, Janet was furious. She shouted, she threatened, she pleaded with Maggie not to throw her life away. In the end, to avoid the constant nagging, and against her mother’s wishes, Maggie moved in with Stephen.

Three months later, Maggie informed her mother that she was pregnant.

Today, she had spent the lastĀ 4 hours walking the streets of downtown trying to find employment. She had enough cash to take the bus downtown to try toĀ find work and then to return home. For the last four hours she had traversed the downtown streets in search of employment.Ā However, at some time during the day, her basic needĀ for food overtook her and so she had traded her return bus fare for a Snickers bar. Sheā€™dĀ forgotten that she was eating for two and didn’t consider that she would need to eat before returning home.

She weighed her options and decided to buy something to eat instead and walk theĀ 5 miles home, as she had done many timesĀ in the past. But this time was different.Ā SheĀ hadĀ miscalculated the extra weight that the baby was placing on her and now felt like an over-inflated balloon about to pop.

Maggie stopped in a bus shelter and sat down to rest her leaden legs. She removed her shoes to relieve the pressure on her feet. If only she had something to drink!. She wished she’d thought about bringing along a bottle of water this morning. She wiped her face with some napkins she had stuffed into her purse earlier. Looking at the bump protruding under her clothes, she buried her face in her hands and began to sob.

Life was not going the way she planned it. She reflected that it wasn’t so long ago she told her mom that she was old enough to do as she pleased and remembered how furious her mom was that she had gotten pregnant. She’d never seen her mom cry like that before. She ignored it all though and told her mom that Stephen was quite happy that they were now having a baby.

But life through the eyes of a 16 year old and reality itself are often at opposite ends. In fact,Ā Stephen was not happy that they were having a baby. Money was tight and Maggie and Stephen quarreled all the time. His income as a mechanic was not enough to feed both of them and the stress of planning for a third mouth to feed was overwhelming for the couple. They frequently rowed about Maggie spending while not bringing in any money at all.

The final straw happened when Stephen came home and found that Maggie had gone shopping for maternity clothes. A neighbor had to call the police to break up the fight. Someone had to leave.

That evening, with her tail between her legs, Maggie decided to return to her mother’s home.

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4 thoughts on “Maggie (WW Challenge)

  1. Oh, poor Maggie! Everyone makes mistakes, mothers usually welcome their children back. I felt the way a young girl would feel, through your well written words. It was my favorite story today! Thanks and take care, Robin

    Like

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