C7 Losing Everything
Obviously, since I didn’t have any money and had no way to earn any either, I had to quit school. I didn’t have a place to live anymore, so I had to move in with my only surviving relative: my grandmother. With just one small luggage of clothes and necessities, I took a train to a nameless town in the countryside where my grandmother was living.
By the time that I left the capital city, I was already prepared for the worst. When I first stood in front of the address that was supposed to be where my grandmother lived, the reality wasn’t too far from my expectation. My grandmother, as I was told, ran a small confectionary and cake shop in a very small town. The description was spot on.
‘Sweet Time’ was the name on the faded white and pink sign of the small shop owned by my grandmother. It was clear that the sign had faded from white and red to its current state of pink. The shop was located on the first floor and our living quarters were on the second floor.
Life with my grandmother was like a return to the basic of everything. We were poor but happy. Our house and shop were small, but it was enough for two small girls like us. I went to a local public high school to continue my education and was granted a scholarship to further help with my expenses. I did everything that I could to support my grandmother just so that we could survive and keep the shop afloat.
That meant that I worked every single hour of the day that I was free. I rarely went out with friends because I had to work at the store. I focused on my study so that I would get a scholarship to university. It went without saying that we didn’t have enough money to send me to university.
Life was tough but it was simple enough. Throughout it all, my grandmother was always there for me. Not once did she complain even as she got older and that meant that I didn’t have any valid reason to complain either. At the end of my highschool life, I got a full scholarship to study arts and design at a nearby university. That meant that I had to move out and live at the university dorm, but I still made sure to travel the short distance home to visit my grandmother and help out at the store.
It was during my freshmen year at university that I met my first and only boyfriend. Life was all well and good until…those men turned up.
One day, when I arrived at the store from one of my grocery shopping trips, I could immediately sense that something was wrong. The whole neighborhood was quiet, too quiet. It was like no one was living or breathing there at all. No one walked the street, no car passed by and there were just no signs of life.
My heart skipped a beat as my eyes focused on a large black limousine that was parked in front of my home. I have never seen a limousine in real life before, only in the movies. It was obvious that in this small and poor town where few people owned cars, no one owned a flashy black limousine. What I couldn’t wrap my head around, as the shock of all this took over, was why was there a limousine parked right outside my house?
Once my body had recovered from its initial shock, I found myself dropping the grocery bag out front and running as fast as I could towards the store. The sight of smashed windows, broken signs and flowerpots tipped over spilling black soil everywhere stunned me to the core as I gasped in shock.
What happened here while I was gone?
The next thought that entered my head was…grandma! Where is she? Is she ok?
“Grandma!!” I shouted at the top of my lungs.
I ran through the ajar door into the store. The inside of the store was also a mess just like the outside. Everything that could practically be destroyed was destroyed and there, kneeling on hands and knees in the middle of the floor, was my poor grandmother.
“Grandma!” I cried out as I ran to her side, bending down to support her frail body.
“Lisa…” my grandmother called my nickname softly in between her upset sobs.
The sight of her crying and how her body shook from shock and fear broke my heart into a million pieces. What did we do to deserve something this cruel?
“You’re finally back,”
A man’s low and emotionless voice said, making me realize for the first time that my grandmother and I were not the only ones in the room. Slowly, I looked up in the direction of the voice. There, not so far from where we were crouched down on the floor, were three very tall and big men. All dressed in black.
I couldn’t make out their faces because they all wore black sunglasses that hid their eyes from view. Their black suit, pants and shiny leather shoes seemed pristine and perfect even after all the havoc that they have wrecked in my home. These men seemed like they appeared straight out from a movie…a mafia mob movie.
So, this…was the mafia…
“Dear sir, I apologize if we have offended you in anyway but…I’m sure all of this has to be some sort of misunderstanding…” I said in a shaky voice as I slowly got up to my feet.
“Do you know Simon and Marianne Maxford?” one of the men dressed in black asked sternly.
“Yes…they were my parents…” I replied softly. What did the mafia have to do with my parents? It’s been around six years since they’ve passed away…
“Then there is no mistake. We’ve finally found you,” the man continued in a leveled voice.
“What do you mean?” I asked, confused.
“Take a look at this,” the man said as he held out a few sheets of paper towards me.
Hesitantly, I took the papers from him while noticing that my hands were shaking badly. What could these papers be?
Before I had the opportunity to read the content of the paper, the man began speaking again as if answering my unasked question.
“This is a loan contract that your parents made with our boss when they took out a five-hundred-million-dollar loan,” the man stated factually.
“…What?!” I exclaimed in shock.
Five hundred million dollars?!
--To be continued…