Wednesday, February 27, 2013

From Connecticut to New Jersey via New York

Getting the job was the best news I could ever get especially at that point in time. I had to be at work at 12 midday on Tuesday. They told me that Monday morning. Sam had offered to drop me off in New Jersey. I didn’t feel too comfortable with the offer knowing it was going to be a four hour drive one way and he didn’t make that much money PLUS this is the same guy who couldn’t afford a packet of potato chips just the other day. I called him out of courtesy to tell him I would be leaving the following day. He told me he had to be at work and wouldn’t be able to take me. Surprise! NOT. He did ask to see me one last time before that night (Monday night). We went to Burger King, it was nice/awkward/weird if there is such a thing :)

As  usual, I spent all day at the library. T and I had a talk on the phone, she said not to tell N that I got the job and how I got it. I had no problem with that. I didn’t have any intentions to tell her anyway. Because I was going to use public transportation, T told me I could leave some of my clothes at hers, stuff like heels and dress up clothes as I was going to be staying at work, and basically working 24/7. I wanted to take everything with me, once and for all. She convinced me to leave some, because I didn’t want any awkwardness, I did. She then, during the same call, told me to tell N about the job. I was like, uhm, I thought we agreed not to? ‘No, I said you should tell her. What if something happens with the patient and you end up needing a place to stay again?’ Well, then, I will have to find somewhere else to crash, This woman has been kicking me out as long as I have been here, she doesn’t care if I got a job or not. SHE WANTS ME OUT. PERIOD! T practically begged me to tell N, which got me slightly confused. I didn’t get the reasoning behind the whole thing of me telling N. Why would N care?

I didn’t want to pack that night and have N seeing my paced bags when she got home from work that night, So I quickly called it a day. I had to get up really early the next morning. I had never been to New Jersey and I was going to do so using public transportation and the fact that I had to be there so early was a major concern. Before I went to sleep, T called to remind me not to forget NOT to tell N about the job. Don’t ask! WE were both were so excited that I was going to disappear without N knowing where I was.

Tuesday Morning, I got up at 2 am. Nice and sleepy. N was asleep in the next bedroom. I packed, very quietly! I packed up all my groceries and put them next to the garbage cans outside for the homeless people. T even told me to dispose of some of the things she had left at the house. N got up just before I walked out. FCK! She went to the kitchen. My bags were packed. She saw them but said nothing about them. Talk about a big elephant or suitcase in the room. A few minutes later, I grabbed my luggage and went, “See you later”. I was OUT!

This was before five am. I rolled my suitcase to the bus stop and chilled there until the bus came. I was there for a while but I didn’t care. I almost missed the bus, apparently the driver didn’t see me. I got off in New Haven where I was going to take the train to New York. When I arrived in New Haven, I wasn’t sure how to get to the Train Station. I’d mentioned that to the driver who told me  I would be ok where he was going to drop me off. I WASN’T. I had to walk for about a minute. I dragged the heaviest suitcase you can ever imagine across the street in the dark, sweating like a race horse and proceeded towards the bus stop. I didn’t see any bus stop signs, so I kept walking. I ended up at the main bus rank. I thought it would be better if I asked someone for directions. There was nobody to ask. It was too early and too dark. I went back to my GPS and saw that I left the bus stop behind. I walked back and realised I just missed the bus. Great! I had to wait 30 minutes for the next bus. If I didn’t have all that baggage, I would’ve just walked to the train station.

I killed time by chatting my sister via BBM. Thanks to the time difference (South Africa is 6 hours behind Connecticut). A few minutes later I heard someone cough, turns out there was a homeless person sleeping right next to me at the bus stop the entire time! The bus finally arrived; it dropped me off at the train station. I missed the train I had planned on taking. I still had time though, depending on how the rest of the trip was going to go. Man, those trains are really busy early in the morning! I suppose there are a lot of people who do the two hour commune from Connecticut to New York daily.

I love Grand Central Station! I love New York City period! Whenever I am there, my heart smiles. I took a train from Grand Central to Time Square, another one to The Port Authority, Then one more to New Jersey, and finally a taxi cab to the facility. Good thing I left as early as I did, 4am, I still made it on time. When I arrived, everybody asked me who I was going to take care of, when I told them, I got a pat on the back and a “good luck, you’re gonna need it”. I was exhausted, it had been a 7 hour trip to New Jersey, I had been up forever and I just wanted to sleep. When everybody wished me luck, I knew I needed it for more reasons than one. They took me upstairs to, let’s call her Avon, Avon’s room. My heart beat fast, I was a little overwhelmed. Where am I, what am I doing here, do I know what I am doing, why I am doing it, am I prepared for this, what if I mess up, this, that and the other.

Everybody at the facility told me that she was in such a bad condition that there was a possibility she wasn’t going to return that day. I hoped that was true, that would have given me some time to rest. I had a sandwich in the dining room for lunch, and went back to the room. I turned the TV on, just as I did, the head nurse opened the door “Brook, She’s here!” FCK! Hi Avon, nice too meet you, I’m Brook! I turned the tv off and helped get her into bed. Her friend was with her. As soon as the paramedics left and the room was cleared, the friend wanted to have a meeting, she, Avon and I. Sure! I said. “First things first, the Television! That’s off bounds to you! This is Avon’s television. If it’s on, that means she wants it on, if it’s off, that means she wants it that way, never ever touch it!” etc.

The friend spent the entire afternoon there. I said just outside the room, not knowing what to do with myself. Praying, ENDLESSLY!

While I was downstairs having lunch, the staff introduced me to a very nice lady from Nigeria who was doing the same type of work as I was. She had a very nice vibe about her. I knew we were going to be friends. She was the light at the end of the tunnel that was my day. We’ll call her Effie.

In no time, the day was over, Avon went to sleep. I went to the TV room, to talk to T on the phone. Just to give her an update. The call must have been ten minutes, fifteen at most. When I got back in the bedroom, Avon complained about how I was gone for hours and left her all by herself when she needed me.

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