Jogging down the streets of Kalamazoo at night, I can hear the cries of the hungry who sit on the park benches feeding on their own tears. The moon is milked by the stars and the hours bleed out the longing to carry out their own reflection in the wait of time. As for myself, I’m a loner. I don’t think much about anything except to get to my set destination in my life. I sojourn along the platitudes of isolation. I’m amongst people everyday at my job and at home; yet, I feel very much alone.
In the morning I walked into my office of the Michigan National Bank. I’m a financial consultant. A woman entered and sat on the opposite of my desk with pleading eyes. I looked up at her from behind my desk. “Good morning. How may I help you today. My name is Sarah Stone.” I extend my hand for a handshake.
Upon shaking my hand, she sits there quiet for a few moments before speaking. “I’m here to apply for alone. I’m in need of ten thousand dollars to pay off credit card debt.”
“Okay. Do you have you credit card statements handy.”
She handed me three statements. The one was a debt in the amount of seven thousand three hundred dollars, another was for fifteen hundred, and then another for two thousand seven hundred dollars.
“Before I can issue you a loan, there are some questions I must ask you first. If you qualify for a loan, depending on how much collateral you have will determine the amount of the load you shall receive.” I pushed up my glasses, and scooted my chair closer to my desk.
“I’m not sure if I do have any collateral. I own a car. It’s all paid for. However, I’m not sure about its current worth.” She looked at me solemnly while she bit her finger nails and wiped her wet fingers on her coat, averting my eyes.
“Okay. We can determine assess the current value based on the year, the make and the model and the current condition of the car. When did you buy the car?” I adjusted my glasses and cleared my throat, because she seemed to be distracted by what was going on in the other room. “Miss, I just asked you when you bought the car, please.”
“Um. I bought it three years ago. But it’s a 2003 Pontiac.” She bit her lip, looking down at her fingernails she bit moments earlier. “But I’m not sure I want to get further into debt.”
“Okay. Miss, if you can put your vehicle up for collateral, you could qualify for some kind of a loan to get the credit card debt out of the way. The most I can give you at the moment is four thousand dollars, at five percent interest as opposed to paying twenty-five point five percent interest. To start with you could use the loan to pay off your smallest credit card debts. Yes, we can take care of the fifteen hundred dollar credit card debt, along with the two thousand seven hundred dollar credit card debt.” I shuffled the papers before handing her the loan application.
“Okay. I guess I could do that. Getting those credit card debts out of the way and having to pay the bank back the money at five percent interest would certainly help me out lots.”
On my drive home, I was at a stop sign when I saw a woman holding up a sign which read, “I’ll work for food. Thank you. God Bless.” If I had a dollar to give every time I saw someone with such a sign. It was heartbreaking to see something like that.” I continued on my way, passing by the poorest neighborhood of Kalamazoo.
Entering my apartment, I checked my answering machine. “Hi, Sarah. It’s Margie. I need you to take me to my doctor appointment tomorrow at three p. m.” My sister always took care of me when I was growing up what with always protecting me from abusive parents. Now, it’s my turn to take care of her. I have many responsibilities, but I’ve always managed to put my sister first. Tomorrow I work until two o’clock. So, it should be more than plenty of time to get her to the doctor appointment on time. She lives five houses down from me. The bank I’m employed at is only twenty minutes away. The clinic is fifteen minutes away from where my sister lives.
The following evening, I report to my sister’s house just as I said I would. I have my own key. Upon entering the door, I hear cries coming from the bathroom. There was my sister lying face down, because she had fallen when getting out of the bathtub. Running over to her, I kneeled down and turn her over, dialing 911 on my cell phone.
The ambulance show up within minutes and hauled her off to the hospital. My sister had only Medicare and would need assistance for covering her stay and other hospital expenses. We’d be set back a few thousand dollars. She could qualify for financial aid in paying for her hospital expenses. But, we’ll see what happens. In the meantime, I rode in the ambulance with my sister, helping the attendants with keeping her calm.
“It’s alright, Margie. I’m here. You’re going to be alright.”
“How will I ever pay for all this? I’m only on social security. I don’t have the money for the hospital,” she cried in hysterics.
One of the paramedics injected her with some medication to calm her down.
A surge of emotion arose within me, starting from my gut rising upward where the tears overflowed mercilessly from my eyes. “It’s going to be alright, Margie. You’ll see. I won’t let anything happen to you. What am I saying. It’s because I was away at work you had your accident. We need to get you a licensed caregiver. You need someone there to be with you at all times. I can’t do so, because I have to work. I need my job at the bank, in order to have descent money to live on and to have a good pension in my old age.”
© Copyright, Kiki Stamatiou, 2016