grimy bedroom

The Price of Sugar

by Cymoril_Melnibone

When I was a little girl, if you’d asked me what I wanted to be, ‘starving artist’ wouldn’t have even been on the list.
Most likely I would have told you ‘a dinosaur’ or ‘an astronaut’ – and later, when I realised that children couldn’t become dinosaurs and brown girls from New Zealand couldn’t become astronauts, I would have said ‘a teacher’ or ‘a nurse’.
At school I got progressively worse at every subject but English and Art, but in my teens my aunty got me a part-time job as a cleaner at the local hospital. I thought at the time that the money wasn’t too awful, and I was good at it. I enjoyed cleaning; even if sometimes what I was cleaning was explosive diarrhoea or blood-laced vomit.
After a while you got used to most of the smells. Well, except for Clostridium difficile – otherwise known as ‘C. Diff’. But thankfully I rarely had to clean up after one of those patients.
Eventually my minimum wage salary let me quit school and rent a tiny, grimy, one-bedroom place in a block of concrete flats. When I wasn’t working or sleeping, I made art, to sell down at the markets on Saturday morning.
And so I became a poor, part-time artist.

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