It was eight o'clock in the evening when Kitty called Sandy Brown's home number to schedule a job interview. Mrs. Brown had been half asleep when she answered the phone. Kitty's voice had a touch of desperation in it under the otherwise polite dialog. Sandy ended the call by telling Kitty that she would pencil in an interview with her for the upcoming Friday, ultimately pushing Kitty to the end of the line of candidates who had actual in-home care experience and certification. Sandy had hoped that Kitty would have either given up or found another job by that time. As for Kitty on the other end of the call, she jumped for joy at the prospect of having a new place to live, with an income at that. Things were looking good for Kitty. As a matter of fact, Kitty felt so good she went about her tiny studio using a few empty grocery bags to fill with her meager belongings, already having assumed she had the job.
The few days until her interview had Kitty counting down the minutes. All of her classes seemed like a waste when she was there. The few people she had any familiarity with asked her about the audition to which Kitty frowned at the topic. She was too busy thinking about her social worker who would be by the school or drop in on her at home. It was just a matter of time after news breaks that Pam was incarnated. Pam had been the placeholder that Kitty had begrudgingly accepted as her guardian. Kitty was equally relieved and horrified that Pam was actually gone. Pam was over eighteen so she could be the one to collect their food stamps and housing allowance. It was something Kitty had to be under Pam's guardianship to benefit from. Too bad Pam usually cashed out these social assistance payments for a fix, leaving Kitty hungry and frustrated. Pam also made it almost impossible for Kitty to get a legitimate job on her own as she often withheld her social security number from her in order to get more government benefits to misuse for herself under the pretense that she was "all my little sister has in this world."
By the end of her school day, Kitty had come to terms with her situation. She was going to drop out of school to get a full-time job. Kitty just had to wait a few weeks until her birthday to do it for herself. As grim as it was for Kitty to have to admit to herself, having a high school diploma was not going to stop her from her fate of working in a minimum wage job for the rest of her life. To Kitty, it was enough that she was to have her freedom from being under the thumb of the likes of Pam or the foster care system. College and the finer things of life meant nothing to her as they were a far-off dream of something other people could have but might as well have been on another planet to someone like Kitty. This feeling was not a sad one, rather it was optimistic in her mind. Kitty went into her little studio and for the first time, no heavy cigarette smoke was obstructing the sunlight coming in from the window. Kitty knew she had to move out asap, but today she had this one victory, being home without Pam.
In the meanwhile, Sandy had her own problems to consider. The interviews were not going as well as she had hoped on account of the fact that she did not have the funds available to pay the people she was interviewing if she were to hire them. Sandy's money once a point of stability in her life, was now all used up in hospital bills after her cancer treatment and subsequent stroke. Bill after bill had wiped her assets out. All she could realistically offer a live in-home aide was a free room. To Sandy, the offer of free boarding was a good deal. Sandy was mostly independent, she just needed another person in the house to ensure that if she had a seizure they could phone for help or so Sandy said to those who asked. What this really meant was that Sandy would expect her border to be home as much as possible with her, to help her get around the place, plus to keep up on the offhand menial chores. Sandy thought that at least one of the people who came by would be willing to listen to her proposition. To her surprise, Sandy's offer was instead met with overt hostility. One young man even stood up in a fit of anger at her suggestion telling her he was going to call the cops to report her for "attempted slavery." Sandy canceled all the interviews after realizing today's youth were far removed from the expectations that her generation had.
When Friday rolled around Kitty was at the end of her emergency cash. This made her naturally nervous disposition nearly crippling. That was at the top of her mind's worries along with her social worker's missed calls that seemed louder and more pressing to Kitty than other calls. Kitty had even stopped going to school completely for fear of her social worker pulling her out of class to take her back to the group home. Being in her apartment now made Kitty uncomfortable during the day and she pinned all of her plans on this one interview with Sandy. On the day of, Kitty wore Pam's shoplifted ruffled blouse with her old jeans that she hand-washed with dish soap the night before in her kitchen sink. It was quite the bus ride to Sandy's home, two hours and three transfers. When Kitty arrived she was in awe of the place. It was a Victorian-style home with a probably once well-maintained yard that had now become slightly overgrown. The neighborhood was a far cry from the apartment complexes she lived in. The roads had lovely oak trees lining them and the sky seemed bluer somehow. Once again Kitty was almost late due to her complete lack of a sense of direction. She walked up the street six blocks in the wrong direction before she noticed her mistake.
Sandy heard a weak knock on her front door as she sat in her parlor. She would have dismissed the sound had she not seen Kitty's form anxiously hopping from foot to foot on her porch through the stained glass window. "Hello?" Sandy greeted Kitty as she opened the door only enough to see Kitty's face. "I'm here for the job interview. Remember we talked on the phone?" Sandy didn't recall her conversation with Kitty exactly, but she did get a series of calls about the flier her grandson had posted by his dorm. "Of course, come in please." Sandy welcomed Kitty in mostly because Kitty's sickly thin body could be of no threat to anyone at all, whether or not Kitty was an applicant or a random passer-by. Sandy gestured to Kitty to have a sat. "You have a great home" Kitty awkwardly pushed out to say. Sandy trying to make conversation replied "Oh yes, it's about all I have anymore these days, you see there was a mistake on the flier. My grandson wrote that the position pays well when the truth is that it's unpaid. You would be paid in room and board, and that's about it." Sandy started to stand up as she spoke expecting Kitty to react with indignation like those who had come before her. Yet looking back she saw Kitty still planted in her seat, who smiled at her, and cheerfully said, "that's great, how soon can I start!"