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A One Page Letter of Hardship (in the style of a Series of Unfortunate Events)

By Roma Raye

 

If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other letter. In this letter, not only is there no happy ending, there is no happy beginning and very few happy things in the middle. This is because not very many happy things happened in the lives of the two Everly women. Susanna and Amanda were intelligent women, and they were charming, and resourceful, and had pleasant facial features, but they were extremely unlucky, and most everything that happened to them was rife with misfortune, misery, and despair. I’m sorry to tell you this, but that is how the story goes. Their misfortune began when they purchased a house in Federal Way. Which is in Washington State. In the not so distant past year of 2011. The Everly women lived with their daughter in a unique, three bedroom, 1 and ½ bath, fenced yard with garden, vaulted ceiling rambler with attached two-car garage on a cul-de-sac in a conservative and homophobic neighborhood – the word “homophobic,” you probably know, here means “hateful toward same-sex couples” or “getting targeted for your sexual orientation by bigoted, god-fearing white men in flannel shirts and too-tight jeans they out grew (let’s be honest) three affairs ago” – and seeing how the Everly women were both abnegates and worked in public service and their precocious and clinically sad teenager attended the local high school, there was never a sense of vacation from the unwanted and aggressive attention even if they made it home to dinner. Amanda was Nationally Certified in Adolescent and Young Adult English Language Arts and liked to teach. Like most Master Educators, she was

Amanda was Nationally Certified in Adolescent and Young Adult English Language Arts and liked to teach. Like most Master Educators, she was student centered, so the kids she taught skipped farther across the gap of an unequitable educational system than those who were not taught by her. As she taught, she was looking out at the horizon and thinking about a reform movement she wanted to build. Anyone who knew Amanda well could tell she was thinking hard, because she knew her career was at risk if she tried to make school a better, safer environment for her students. Amanda had a real knack for inventing and building engaging and rigorous curriculums that taught not only functional skills but the intention of living socially just. Then one morning in June of 2013, she was told to stop constructing devices that could retrieve students after they had already been thrown away. Instead, Amanda skipped off campus after them. Susanna Everly, the matron of the house, and now only breadwinner, liked to free families stuck in the tide-pools of trauma and addiction. Susanna as a respected

Susanna Everly, the matron of the house, and now only breadwinner, liked to free families stuck in the tide-pools of trauma and addiction. Susanna as a respected professional, wears compassion like a cape. She is a hero. The government owes an enormous debt to their public servants, such as a livable wage that can support a modest family of three in a backwoods suburb that believes it’s a “resort-community- out -in -the -country” rather than the “meth- lab- trailers –propped up-in- the- gulch” comunity it really was. Being a social worker, Susanna of course was not being paid a viable wage for her family to live on and the debt overcame them, overcame them, overcame them… “Look at that,” Susanna

“Look at that,” Susanna said, and pointed toward the tidal wave of failure rushing toward them. It was drawing close, and the women could see a few details. It was the size of bankruptcy, except the interest rate was even higher, and rather fixed in place. “What do you think it is?” Amanda asked. “A Mortgage,” Susanna said, squinting at it, “and it seems to be gaining strength from the ignorant propaganda about

“What do you think it is?” Amanda asked. “A Mortgage,” Susanna said, squinting at it, “and it seems to be gaining strength from the ignorant propaganda about progress the people of this town cultivate so easily.”

“Life is not sustainable here,” Amanda said, a little nervously. “There’s nothing else we can do but move.” She felt the slender, smooth stone of oppression gauge out the last of the American Dream that had infested her. She had a sudden thought to have a nervous breakdown, so she did, because it seemed so frightening.

“It only seems scary,” Susanna said, as if reading about actual opportunities to enroll in government sponsored short sale programs specifically designed to help out people exactly in their position, “because of all the red tape.” This was true.

Amanda pictured all the new ways life would improve once they moved to The City. Now she could see some hope start to grow around them. It has taken some time to figure things out, but both Amanda and Susanna are back as participating and respected members of a functioning society and fully engaged in their current careers. Amanda and Susanna are still not paid a wage that would offer the luxury of not living paycheck to paycheck, but they are occupying space and using resources at the barest of minimums, ones that stay within their household budget. Asking Susanna and Amanda to return to owning the property without allowing the current offer for purchase to continue would ruin any and all future chances of any success or happiness for the Everly women. So with utmost humility, because our mortgage is still so young and we are still so overwhelmed, we ask you to let it come of age as a short sale and that the bank take charge of it until sold to its new forever owner.