A Day in Emilia’s Life

It was 3 in the afternoon when Emilia arrived to the institution in which she worked as a janitor. She wiped the sweat off her face and, without losing any time, began to clean the bathrooms. She knew the faster she got to work, the faster she got to go home to her children: Juan and Pedro. Her kids were 8 and 10 years old, and they spent most of their day alone since she was a single mother and her family lived far away. If you saw Emilia you’d see her with a smile that seemed to be tattooed to her face, but her eyes expressed exhaustion and a slight bit of sadness. Emilia had woken up at 4:30 in the morning, same as every other day, to prepare the tortillas and finish up the pozole she sold aside from the three jobs she worked. After she was done cooking, at around 6 am, she took two buses to arrive at 8:30 am to her first job as a maid. She cleaned the house for a group of students who loved throwing parties in their apartment and had the messiest residence in the world. Besides, they didn’t seem to care at all about Emilia, they didn’t even say “hello” when they bumped into her. Once she had tidied the chaotic apartment, she left and walked a few blocks to get to a single woman’s house who paid Emilia only to do laundry for her. She was finished with all of these chores at about 2:30 pm, just in time to get to her job as a janitor. By now, she felt fatigued, but she knew she needed the money to buy food for her kids and to try and give them the best she could. She left the institution at around 9 pm but got home until 11:30 at night. Every day she left and she arrived home when her kids were asleep, so all she could do was go into their room and kiss them in the forehead. Normally she only spent time with them on Sundays and Saturday’s afternoons. Emilia loved them and felt really sorry for not being able to spend more time with them, but she knew it had to be done. She knew she needed the jobs to sustain her kids.

One day after her 18-hour working day, she got home drained, and to her surprise, found Juan, her youngest son, still awake.

“I hate you” was the first thing that came out of his mouth, “And I know you hate us too because you never want to spend time with us, I wish you were not our mother”. After blurting this out, he quickly went back to his room. Emilia didn’t even have time to answer, to explain everything she does, she does for them. Her eyes instantly filled with tears, she felt a knot in her stomach and in her throat and had a combination of many feelings inside of her. She felt so angry that her son didn’t appreciate her hard work but yet she felt so empty and couldn’t help but blame herself. She got to her room, set the alarm to 4:30 am, and silently cried herself to sleep.


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Lorena Frías A01193016

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