Cami made some definite changes in her lifestyle after that encounter with Delia. The first thing she did was officially accept the job at the Solace Hotel by showing up to complete an application and then going through orientation so that she could be put on the work schedule.
The next thing Cami did was move into the boarding house. To her surprise, she found that she actually liked it there. A lot.
The boarding house was clean inside and out. Each room had its own kitchenette and bathroom, and the widowed Mrs. Ingram (Mama Ingram as she liked to be called) was extremely nice.
Cami even liked the other residents. Most of them were senior citizens, but there was one boarder around her age – Towanna Sharplen. Towanna worked at the Solace Hotel as well. She was a masseuse there. She also quickly became Cami’s first female friend since Navina, her ex-cellmate, whom she still wrote to once a month and put money on her books when she could.
Towanna was directly recruited by the hotel owners’ wives (Delia, Aisha, and Alexis) from a luxury hotel they visited up in
Cami and Towanna often rode to work together when their shifts lined up. Such carpooling allowed Cami to start back practicing how to work as a team, which had been drilled into her mind in prison. It also saved them both on gasoline expenses.
Speaking of cars, Cami sold the blue BMW and settled for a red Honda Coupe instead. Quite frankly, she didn’t feel as if she’d settled at all. Her new car was clean, fully loaded, reliable, and was a gas-sipper, which meant an even lower gasoline bill for her.
Another thing Cami did per Delia’s advice was open up a bank account. At first she thought she was going to be rejected due to her criminal record. But Delia assured her that if she opened up an account with the same bank that did business with the Solace Hotel, she wouldn’t have any problems.
Delia was right once again. Cami’s account was opened in no time. Now all of her paychecks would be directly deposited into her account. No one would ever know how great that one little accomplishment made Cami feel. To be treated like a regular member of society again was every felon’s dream. Or at least this felon.
Though Cami cared little about losing the right to vote (even just temporarily in some states), serve on a jury, or bear firearms, she cared deeply about being excluded from certain lines of work and residences. She also cared about being treated fairly in the financial community. So establishing a bonafide bank account was a great boon for her.
Riding high on her latest accomplishment, Cami pulled over to get gas before she got on the highway that led from Littleview to
These weren’t the finest clothes Cami had ever worn, but she definitely looked fine in them. In fact, the uniform pants accented her figure perfectly. It should since all Solace Hotel employees were personally fitted for their uniforms by the company’s in-house tailor.
Cami had Aisha and her fashion input to thank for the personalized tailor and such great fitting uniforms, though she probably never would show her gratitude about that for obvious reasons. Delia’s input had yielded the colors of the uniform since burgundy was her favorite color and since it tended to hide stains better. Alexis’ input was more administrative and involved the custodial rotations since she was gifted at scheduling things on account of her experience at the
I would love to have a business of my own, Cami thought, paying for her gas before going to pump it. But a house comes first; she prioritized silently, dreaming of homeownership.
Although Cami wanted a big fancy house like Delia and the old crew had, and although she still wanted to build a dream house like that owner near the prison had done, right now she would settle for a small two-bedroom home. Something just big enough for her and her son. And in a nice neighborhood, too, since she wanted to finish raising Little Man in a safe environment, which would also look exceptionally good in the court’s eyes.
Little Man. Cami smiled, just thinking about her son.
Little Man had sounded so happy when she told him where she was working now. And when she sent him a pair of new sneakers from the proceeds of her first paycheck, he’d been even happier. That last thing had made Cami happy, too.
Just wait, son. Mama is gonna get you everything you ever wanted and thought you could never have, she vowed, feeling empowered by her new lease on life and by her new focus on quality in motherhood.
© 2008 by Suprina Frazier