I buttered the last roll and ate it, but my stomach rumbled to tell me that wasn’t enough. My last meal was the day before, just before the eviction notice arrived. I had until the end of the week to move out. As much as I wanted to blame my landlord, I had to take responsibility. I had defaulted on rent for the third month, and he took action that any businessman would.

It seemed like everything was falling apart. I worked as a cleaning lady at a small real estate company that closed down during a housing crisis. The entire economy had collapsed, and I struggled to find work.

At the end of the week, I had nowhere to go. Fortunately, I had sold the little furniture I had two days ago, so I had some money for food. I decided to sit at the park across the road and contemplate my next move.

I thought about my childhood, how much mom and I struggled to survive, yet we always found joy because we were together. If only she had lived past my teenage years. Life would’ve been so much easier for me. Roaming the streets as a teenager and wondering how to make ends meet was horrifying, and now approaching thirty years of age, I found myself back there again.

When the stars came out, I hadn’t come up with a plan. I had nobody to call. Had my heart been open to men, perhaps I would be with one now. But how could I do that, especially after the way dad treated us? I thought that if the man who was supposed to look after us treated us badly, then other men would be worse. Deep down in my heart, I knew that wasn’t the right attitude to have, but it somehow justified my desire not to be disappointed by them ever again.

I shrivelled up in the foetal position on the bench and covered myself with a jacket. The only good part about the park was that it was peaceful at night. The bad parts were the cold, uncomfortable concrete bench and exposure to harm.

At dawn, I sat up and yawned. My stomach felt empty, so I walked to a bakery and bought bread, then ate it when I returned to the bench. For the rest of the day, I roamed the streets before retiring back on the bench at night. That was my routine for the next two days. I knew I had to make a plan soon to shower and wash my clothes.

The following day, I was sitting on the bench during lunchtime. The corporate workers from the office buildings that surrounded the park had occupied the benches, and some walked around. I was the only one sitting alone. It must’ve been because I was sending a message to the universe that I wanted to be left alone.

I can’t carry on living like this. I have to make a change, and it has to start now.

My heart felt lighter as I opened my mind to meeting a man. The tension in my forehead subsided, and my face felt relaxed. A slight smile appeared on my face as I thought about having male company.

Sometime later, someone grunted, and I turned to look. A man was standing beside me and smiling.

“Sorry to bother you,” he said. “Do you mind if I sit here? All the other benches are taken.”

I smiled and shifted to my right. He opened up his lunchbox and raised it to me. “Can I interest you in a turkey sandwich?”

I smiled, nodded and took one. “Thank you. That’s so nice of you.”

“Rory,” he said and extended his hand.

“I’m Kaylla. It’s nice to meet you.”

“What’s a beautiful lady like you doing here by herself?”

My eyes lowered as I smiled. “Trying to survive.”

He frowned. “I figured that someone beautiful like you would have a man to take care of you.”

“I never opened myself up to that possibility.”

“Maybe you should.” I smiled. “Today seems like a good day to start. Have dinner with me tonight?”

I looked at the ground and contemplated what I had to lose. Negative thoughts such as him not showing up and disappointing me or expecting only sex flooded my mind. Stop that, Kaylla. Remember, it’s time for a change?

I looked at Rory, smiled and said, “I’d love to.”

Our plan was to meet at seven pm at the bench.

Rory arrived on time and smiled as he approached me. “Ready to go?” he asked.

“Yes.”

I was relieved that he didn’t comment about me wearing the same clothes I wore a few hours ago. My only wish was that I didn’t exude an unpleasant body odour. If that happened, the world might as well swallow me up.

Rory took me to a fancy steakhouse and pulled out the chair for me. “Thank you,” I said.

“Hope this is to your liking?”

I looked at the magnificent paintings on the wall and the diamond chandeliers above us. “It’s amazing. I love it.”

After Rory told me that he was a hedge fund manager, he asked about my occupation. I lowered my eyes to the table and said, “I’m currently unemployed.”

“Oh. Sorry to hear that. I’m sure you’ll find something soon.”

“I hope so.”

The food was delicious, and the company was even better.

After dinner, we walked around and chatted. I loved that Rory took a genuine interest in me and spoke about having a family. He came across as a loving and caring man who would appreciate his wife and take care of his children.

When we walked past the park, Rory said, “My apartment is right up there,” pointing at a building. “We can have a nightcap.”

I looked at the park and thought about spending another night on the cold bench. If he tries anything funny at his place, I can always leave and come back here.

Warm air flowed over me as we entered his apartment. At the flick of a switch, the apartment lit up. I hated being in the dark by myself. Rory removed my jacket and put it on the coat rack, further proof that he was a gentleman.

I was sitting on the couch when Rory brought me a wine glass and sat beside me, our legs brushing. After we spoke for some time, Rory grabbed my glass out of my hand and put it on the table and then gazed into my eyes. His lips crashed into mine, and his tongue slid into my mouth.

We kissed for several minutes before he picked me up and carried me to the bedroom. He lay me on the bed, unbuttoned my shirt and then kissed my neck. Rory’s lips lowered to my chest, and he pulled down my bra and sucked my nipple.

I closed my eyes and ran my hand down his back. He unbuttoned my pants, got off the bed and then pulled them off. He crawled on the bed, looked at my g-string and then pulled it off.

I opened my legs, and he lay prone on the bed and licked my pussy. My fingers raked his hair as I moaned. He waggled his tongue and tickled my clitoris. I arched my back and shot out loud moans. It felt amazing.

Rory pulled off his pants and got on top of me. We were looking at each other, then smiled as he stuck his dick inside me. I was tight and wet.

He kept looking at me and kissing me as he bobbed while penetrating. I loved that the intimacy was more sensual than sexual. Our fingers intertwined as he pressed his lips against mine, and our tongues slid along each other.

Rory rolled over onto his back and flipped me onto him. I looked down at him, smiling. He grabbed my ass and thrust, and I closed my eyes and felt his dick in my pussy.

As I lowered my chest to him, Rory groped my nipple and sucked it. God, he had a way with his lips that drove me wild. I couldn’t get enough of them.

After he sucked both of my nipples, I turned around and bounced on Rory’s dick. He ran his hand up my back, then grabbed my waist. My hair cascaded off my shoulders as I continued jumping on him.

Several minutes later, Rory pressed both of his hands against my back, making me believe that I should lean forward. As I did, he pulled his dick out and came on my ass and back.

We fell asleep with my head on his chest.

In the morning when he went to work, I went back out onto the street, but he told me to have dinner with him at his place.

The wind pierced through my thin jacket as I walked, and I tucked my head in between my shoulder as I looked down. I couldn’t wait for the night so that I could be in a warm apartment.

After dinner, we had sex, and I slept over.

Before going to work, Rory asked me, “How do you spend your day?”

“Looking for work.”

“Spend the day here. I’ll be back later.”

I did, and I used the opportunity to wash my clothes and shower. While my clothes dried, I looked down at the park and shivered at the thought of lying on the cold bench.

Rory and I had sex every night, and I slept over, so his apartment became my new dwelling. I was grateful for his hospitality, but staying there meant that I had to tolerate his mood swings.

He was a sweetheart on some days and a shouting maniac on other days. Whenever he had a tough day at work because of bad trades and lost a lot of money, he’d take it out on me. During those times, everything I did was wrong, and I was to blame for his misfortunes.

He would literally shout in my face and say some of the most horrific things I’d heard. I tolerated it, but the last straw was when he raised his hand to me. His face was flushed and teeth clenched, looking like he wanted to knock my head off.

That’s one thing I would not tolerate. Seeing my dad hit my mom as a little girl made me promise myself that nobody would lay a finger on me. I respected mom for eventually summing up the courage to leave dad.

I walked out of Rory’s apartment and went to the park. While sitting on the bench and feeling hopeless, I saw a mother playing with her daughter. I smiled as I saw the joy on the girl’s face as her mother pushed her on the swing.

I realised that I wanted a daughter. To lead a fulfilled life, I had to love someone. What better person than my child?

I leapt off the bench and walked around the city, searching for employment. That was the first step necessary to sort out my life.

After walking into several stores, I stumbled upon a popular takeaway joint. Dorothy, the manager, was a friendly woman who offered me the cleaning position.

I washed the floor, windows and toilets every day, and I also greeted all of the customers and staff with a smile. I was happy to see that they were busy, which meant there was a minimal chance they would close down.

After three weeks, on a busy Friday, a cashier hadn’t shown up to work. Dorothy got behind the till, but I saw that she struggled to help customers as the staff kept calling her to sort out an issue with the grills and the frying machine.

“Need some help?” I asked Dorothy.

“Yes. Take the till while I help the kitchen staff.”

I made a few mistakes on the till, but it went well for the most part. Dorothy was happy with my performance, and she kept me there as she attended to customer complaints.

The cashier hadn’t returned to work the following day, and Dorothy assigned me to the till again.

I worked as a cashier for a few months until Dorothy promoted me to supervisor. It was then that I was in a position to save money for insemination.

After being a supervisor for a year, I went to a clinic. I went through the process and hoped for the best.

A month had passed, and I hadn’t fallen pregnant. I figured that I needed to try it again, so I did. No success.

As I sat at home and thought about pregnancy, I realised that I had subconsciously prevented myself from getting pregnant, the same way I had sabotaged myself not being with men before Rory.

I feared that my baby would need a father to receive the best upbringing. What if something happened to me? Who would look after my child?

Once again, I got rid of the thoughts that were holding me back and began thinking positively.

A month later, Ty walked into the shop. He was tall, blonde and had some scars on his neck.

It was the first time I had seen him at my work, and we ended up talking.

After Rory and my dad, I didn’t think that I’d give another man a chance, but I thought it was for the best. After all, Dorothy had given me a chance when I needed it. I had to pay it forward.

I’d be lying if I said that Ty’s drug addiction, which he had treated, wasn’t a concern for me. We had dated for a few months before he moved in with me. He had struggled to find a job, and I thought that us living together would be a good opportunity for me to screen him.

Everything went fine for the next few months, and we decided to take the relationship to the next level.

Gabby was born on the 9th of April. She was the joy of my life, and my heart broke every morning when I had to let go of her to go to work. Ty took care of her while I was working and supporting us.

During the next few weeks, I noticed that some things in the apartment were missing. Ty was acting strange, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Then, money started disappearing out of my purse.

When I came home one day, Gabby was sleeping in the cot. Ty wasn’t around. I walked into the lounge and saw a letter, which read:

I’m sorry, Kaylla. I’m not cut out for this. It’s too much for me. You and Gabby deserve better.

I figured that he had relapsed into his addiction after feeling overwhelmed at the responsibility of taking care of a family. I looked up and sighed as I held the letter, then slumped onto the couch. Another man disappoints met yet again.

I put the letter on the table and rubbed my eyes, then went to check on Gabby.

As I looked down at her, I felt proud of myself for giving another man a chance. If I hadn’t, I would never have the precious angel that I was looking at. What’s more, I was proud of not feeling hatred or bitterness towards any man, and I welcome the day that Prince Charming walks into my life.

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