She would have never thought that life would turn out like this. Growing up as one of the rich kids, she always thought that being poor was a life-choice, that poor people were just lazy or uneducated and that this would be the reason for them to end up on the streets. Now she knew better. Being poor was not a choice. Everything could change in a heartbeat.
The day the police phoned her was the day her life changed forever. That morning started like any other. At 9 am sharp, as her favorite song came on, she lifted the eye mask over her eyes and stretched her arms, ready to face another day. She snapped her fingers and within a minute, her personal butler, James, brought in a silver tray, on it was her phone, rested protectively in a pink diamond case. She dialed in her pin, pressed a button, and right away, three voices answered.
“Morning, Jasmine, what’s our plan?” Sadie, her planner and social media coordinator, asked.
“‘sup,” Katie, her casual friend, said.
“What are you wearing today?” Mandy, her wardrobe coordinator, asked.
Silence ensued. The girls knew how much Jasmine hated their babbles. “Do you even have to ask, Sadie? We are going shopping Oh and tell my loyal followers I’ll be wearing this sups dorable dress.” She showed a picture of the dress, hung up, and slid out of king-size bed.
Some 45 minutes later, donned in the dress she promised to wear, shiny pink heels, and minimum make-up, Jasmine finally made her way down the stairs where her parents were already eating breakfast, sitting on opposite ends of the 22-seat dining room table. As usual, Jasmine sat near her mother. “You look nice today, honey. Any plans?”
“My friends and I are heading to the mall.” Jasmine stated as Lucinda, the maid, brought in a plate of scrambled egg, bacon, and sausage. Jasmine pushed it away. “Ew, hello, how many times do I have to say? I don’t eat meat.”
Humiliated, Lucinda retreated. “Don’t be such a drama queen,” her mother said. Jasmine ignored her, stood up, and walked out with her purse.
Two hours later, as she was trying on a dress in a boutique, her phone rang. “Hello?”
“Are you Jasmine King?” A female voice asked on the other end.
“I’m sorry to inform you, Ms. King but your parents have been murdered.”
Jasmine’s heart immediately sank. She placed a hand over her mouth, gasping and waiting for tears to come but none came. After a short moment, she asked in a coarse voice, “How did it happen?”
“It looks like breaking and entering but we’re not sure at the moment. Can you come back to the house?”
She swallowed and nodded, forgot for a moment she was on the phone. “Yes, uh, I’ll be there asap.” Quickly, she tore the dress she was trying on and threw her original dress back on. Her honey-blond hair was a mess as she rushed out of the fitting room but she didn’t care. My parents are dead, my parents are dead. A voice in her head kept repeating as she sat in the back of the car taking her home and it kept repeating even as she stood in the foyer of the empty house, no longer filled with the noises of vacuum cleaner and footsteps. Instead, the house was filled with an uncomfortable eerie silence.
A week later, with her parents’ lawyer, Mr. Jones, sat across from her, they went over the Will. “I’m sorry, Jasmine.” Mr. Jones said, “but your parents did not leave you with anything.”
Her mouth suddenly felt dry. “W-what do you mean?”
“It states in the Will, they had left everything to your aunt.” She only had one aunt, Auntie Grace, from her mother’s side and Grace is a bitter narcissistic cat lady who always thought of Jasmine as a spoiled brat.
“C-can I still stay here?” Jasmine asked but already knew the answer.
He shrugged, “You’ll have to ask your aunt.” She did and Grace rejected her from the first look at her. She gave Jasmine 24 hours to gather her things and leave. Penniless, without a car and a phone, she could contact no one. She tried selling her clothes and jewels but as it turned out, those were worthless and as she rested her head on the cold hard ground that first night, she finally realized that being poor is not a voluntary choice but a forced choice.