(This is an original paper done as an upper division requirement for a top university)
Surrounded by a foggy white film, I tried to adjust my vision to see. Anything familiar would appease me at this point. Nonetheless, I did not see a thing. Am I dead?” I thought to myself. Can this possibly be what the afterlife is like? I began to feel very anxious. The dense mist totally consumed my body and mind. This was not what I planned for myself. My life was supposed to be filled with an array of happiness, love, wonderful sights, and the joy of watching my children grow. Where is my sanctuary? Last thing I remember was looking out of my window and seeing the serene sky. At the time, I assumed I would be joining those that I love so deeply. My assumption was dismissed by a glimmer of reflection on my life up to this point.
I was born into a middle class family in the suburbs of Los Angeles, California in 2400. My father was a hard working Maintenance Efficiency Sub-nucleic worker, my mother a homemaker. At three, I started to develop an interest in news programs, c-span in particular. I was told that instead of playing with dolls, I would play with calculators. At seven, I would put on my virtual reality suit and cruise the business section of all the top companies online. My parents realized then that I had a knack for business and was career oriented. With a lot of thought and money saved up over time, they decided to send me to a private school in Japan. This school was said to be number one world wide, and their focal point was on business and financial markets.
From the age of thirteen until eighteen, I was in school. I received my series seven license at fourteen, then my bachelor’s degree at fifteen, an M.B.A at seventeen, and became a C.P.A. at eighteen. When I came back to California, I was fluent in five languages, Japanese, Spanish, Portuguese, and French, not to mention English. My parents then knew that their money was well spent, and found a respect for my intelligence that was abundant.
Being away and buried in the books most of my adolescence, I never really had an opportunity to socialize with the other boys and girls. When returned to California, my parents made sure that under their roof, (I was still their little girl), even though they knew I was responsible and faithful by their rules. To this day, I think their authoritarian rules were due to the fact that I was not living with them for so long. Nevertheless, these strict conventions that they had fueled my desire to leave the nest and venture out into the world on my own. I thought to myself, “Where is the one place I could go, become financially comfortable, and enjoy what I shall do? Why of course, New York.” So I picked myself up, personal belongings and all, kissed my smothering parents goodbye, and moved to Manhattan.
I really do give my parents more credit than what I reveal. They sacrificed a lot to send me to a Japanese private school. They also took a lot of heat for having a child with an I.Q. above and beyond normal comprehension. My parents, Harold and Lisa Cango can be described as normal everyday people. She wrote me a letter every week while I was away, and he sent me care packages with sweets in them. It was nice, but I was never was able to communicate with them like other children normally do with their parents.
So back to how I came to suffice in Manhattan. I arrived with what little my parents could spare to give me, which was $110,000 dollars. I found a studio apartment uptown between 73rd St. and 2nd Avenue. It was a dump. There were two windows, and a wall divider separated the toilet and shower. When I went to the bathroom, you would probably be able to hear the pipes from the toilet in mid-town. The walls were paper thin, and I could hear the bed springs squeaking from the two men living above me. Did I also happen to mention that my two windows were facing a brick wall? Allow me to say that it was a first-class view.
Since I did not have transportation, my only way to get around was the air-tram. It was fast, economical, and moderately safe. That was not so bad, but not having access to the hovercraft was an inconvenience at times.
It was about three days after I arrived in Manhattan that that I ventured out to find a job. It wound up that getting a job was one of the easiest parts of the whole process of getting situated. I went downtown to the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street. Almost immediately, I got a job as an assistant trader. My starting salary was about $450,000 a year. During that time, I took my money and put it right into the market. The stock to buy in at that time was Expret. It was a world wide recycling program. Some say it was a boiler room stock, but whatever it was rumored to be; it tripled my money in 6 months time.
After being an assistant trader for two years, they promoted me to head trader. I took on the biggest clients in the world, and with each platinum investment I made for them, my commission checks grew and grew. Soon I was making over nine figures a year. I just had a propensity for knowing when to invest and when not to. Many people saw that and liked to do business with me because of my skill. I made some very rich, and in the process, made others very jealous.
It was my fourth year on the floor that I saw the man who was destined to change my life. One afternoon, I had taken a personal break to lunch at my favorite restaurant, the Antique Eatery. With a hamburger in one hand and a Sodium water drink in my other, he walked up to me. I looked up from my lunch and saw a breathtaking man with eyes of the bluest oceans, hair of the blackest raven feathers, and skin of the finest china. Although, beyond his eyes I could tell that the wheels of intellect were turning inside his mind. At that moment I had known that I was falling in love with my soul mate.
He sat down beside me; his lunch consisted of all the lipids one could conceive of. He had caught me gazing at his meal. “I know what you are going to say even before you say it”, he smiled and said. “That it is the most fatty lunch you have ever seen a person eat.”
“Oh no, no, I just think that it is remarkable how you can consume that and stay so athletically fit”, I said.
“Sure, if you say so, but you are the only man I have ever met who has said something so pleasant, at the same time being so candidly insincere” he replied. “But I do not take offense to anything. Really I don’t. I can eat and eat, and never put on a pound. Some days I wish I could get portly just to see what I’d feel like. Well, that see the reaction other people would have when they see me.”
“What an unusual thing to want. You want to be fat? Are you jesting me sir?” I asked.
“I would never do that Miss. Or is it Mrs.? I am not seeing a ring on your finger. But in these days, no one usually wears their commitment on their hands anymore” he said. “Come to think of it, no one wears their commitment at all.” I started to chuckle at that ridiculous comment. “Oh, so I make you laugh, do I?” Without giving me a chance to answer he said, “You are Talia Cango aren’t you.”
“That was more of a statement than a question.” I managed to hide my shock that he knew my name. “But yes, how did you know that?” I asked with a perplexing expression on my face.
“I have been doing some research on you”, he said, ” my name is Donovan Prcis, and I saw you on the trading floor last week. I must say, that when I saw you, you truly took my breath away.”
(Even though this occurrence took place fifteen years ago, from where I am standing now, it seems as if it were yesterday.)
“Flattery will get you everywhere,” I said coyly. “What occupation are you involved in? I have never seen you before on the floor.”
“Ah, that is because I am not a trader nor a business man. I deal with the mind and the pen. In other words, I am a writer. I would tell you what I have written, but I am sure a woman of your intelligence would dismiss my work with a nod and a slight smile”, Donovan alleged.
“Don’t be so pessimistic, I dabble in many fictitious and non. I read works of all genres from all kinds of authors. My life is not limited to that of the floor,” I countered back.
“Okay, so have you ever read 10,000 Hero’s Psyche? No, no what about The Veneer of the Tomb” Donovan said.
“Oh anomalous man”, I said, “Do not judge me from what the exterior of my appearance tells you, I have read each of those books. If you are really the author of those two works, I do have a list of queries for you.”
“Oh, you do, do you?” Donovan asked. “Well it just so happens that I am the author. Although, I hope that I possess the answers to your questions. May I be so bold as to ask if you enjoyed what you read?”
“I am sure that I did. I am not attention deficit, but I do lack enthusiasm for effortless reading material”, I replied.
“May I ask for your company to a quiet dinner at the skyscraper Bistro tonight? If you escort me, I would be happy to answer any questions you have concerning my novel. As an added bonus, I shall allow you to ask me one question not connected with my work.” He smiled quite surreptitiously when he said that.
“I see, so you are a comedian as well as a writer. However, I would be happy to accompany you to dinner.” I replied.
That is where the love affair of my life began. We went out to dinner and the flow of conversation was immensely educational. I found myself being challenged by a person, rather than my work. After our meal, he took me dancing at the Water Table. This was a hot spot I had heard of for months. It was a club that was located directly below the Hudson River. When one looks up, there is a plate glass ceiling and all the fish, plant life, and water are in plain sight. I can solemnly swear to say that on the day of March 24th 2423, I had discovered what fun was truly about
. Donovan and I danced the night away. Then directly after dancing, we went to have cappuccinos at the Bean Caf. We sat outside under the veranda and chatted the rest of the night away. Before that day, I would not be able to recall the last time I laughed so hard my stomach hurt. When I do think about it, I do not think I ever laughed hard to begin with.
At 5:00 in the morning, Donavon escorted me back to my loft. Standing one step above me on the stoop, he looked down upon me like I was an angel shining under his magical glow. The sun was beginning to rise and I remember being able to make out the golden highlights cascading over his hair. I could almost feel the radiant power between his body and mine. Without saying a word, he kissed me ever so gently. When his lips touched mine, the energy was electrifying. I felt it all over my body. It traveled into my face, down into my heart, and made my hands and feet tingle with exhilaration.
Donovan and I steadily saw each other every weekend after that. Not long after, the weekends turned into the weekdays, and before long we moved in together. We compromised on a pent house in Dinkin Tower overlooking the park. Our incomes were quite impressive, although with the investments I was soon to make we became the richest couple in the entire nation.
My first child was born two years to the date of my first encounter with Donovan. She was a beautiful girl, weighing 9 pounds 2 ounces. We named her Madison Faye. The name Madison was for Donovan’s mother; and Faye was for my grandmother. Maddy came out of my womb with old, wise eyes. Donovan joked that she was a reincarnation of the Dahl lama, for she was so intellectually stunning. It was apparent that she inherited my astuteness, and proved it in every way since the day she was born.
Two years after Maddy was born, I gave birth once again to a little boy named Britin Lee. He took after his father ironically enough. Like mother like daughter, like father like son. Britin tested his sister any way he could. She outsmarted him, but his antics always put a smile on her face. I finally was able to find peace being at home with my family.
About three years after Britin was born, I decided to recommence myself and get back into the swing of things. I ventured back into my nichethe trading floor. It was like picking up where I had left off. Everything was so easy; it amazed Donovan to see me in my full glory again. The business world was on the up and up, as it had been for the past couple of years. The investors were having a field day. It seemed that anyone investing at this point in time was becoming rich.
Two weeks after I had gotten back to work, there was a buzz over the place over a business that was just taking off. A universal rejuvenation pill that transcended skin back to its original state. In other words, one takes a pill and it is like an instant face-lift. The pill was called Lipsidize. Women of middle age and older were swearing by it, and the rest were buying the product by the truckload. The company went public, and some of my associates and I bought into it instantly. Months down the line, the company took off for real and the original buyers of the stock took off along with it. That investment alone boosted my capital above and beyond anything I would have imagined.
That year the market was mind-boggling, and I was high on the thrill of it all. Donovan and I would lie in our bed covered by silk sheets, drinking Champaign and marvel over our good fortunes. “Baby”, he would say to me, “you amaze me day after day. Your intelligence and beauty overwhelms me. I don’t know how you do it, but I do know I would not be able to do it with out you.” I remember that night so vividly. His words touched my soul so vehemently just as they did when we first met. I turned to him, told him how much I loved him and how much joy he and the kids brought to my life.
Over the next couple of years, we were flying. Our family, The Prcis’s were known as one of the most distinguished families in the entire nation. Not to mention, we were also one of the richest. In our skyscraper mansion, our lives were impeccably grand. Fully furnished by antique furniture, and antique architecture, I was living in a heaven beyond my wildest dreams. Donavan’s career was also at an all time high. His newest novel, Utopia: A Backwards Look At How Life Was and Still Should Be, was a best seller. Maddy, and Britin were attending the top Manhattan private schools, and were both excelling. Although Maddy excelled with her schoolwork, and Britin excelled with the opposite sex. Regardless, life was good, so as the story goes, there is nowhere to go when you are at the top, except down.
I recollect going to work on Thursday, May 2nd feeling exhilarated. But as soon as I walked into my building, I knew something was erroneous. There were whispers, and suspicious glances through out the building. “Had I been so wrapped up in my world that something had passed me by?” I thought to myself. I didn’t think I was a solipsistic person, yet anything is possible. I went into my friend and business companion Jankin Brenner’s office to discuss what the trouble was due to. He showed me some papers dealing with the import export capitol rate, and I was stunned “I had no idea, I have been secluding myself in a fantasy world for only a small while. I suppose that we are now in grave trouble Jankin. But how the so called “unshakable” market could unravel into such a panic in such a short time boggles me”, I said with a question mark hanging overhead.
Well my dear Talia, you are right about the market being in trouble”, he replied. We walked down to the floor and saw the hustle and bustle at an extreme. It all was surreal from where I was standing. I knew that the monopolies of many conglomerates were shifting. I also knew that there were some sneaky investors that were borrowing money from the prime brokers, and then the prime brokers in turn borrowed money they needed from the associate lender banks. But how those banks lost their money, and when the stocks defaulted, no one will ever be able to figure out how it all happened so quickly.
The next few days were a downward spiral into the unknown. People were drawing their money out their banks like panic-stricken animals. The banks in retrospect were overturning, and the people’s fortunes were lost. I must say that there were preventative laws prohibiting these things from happening for many decades now. Yet under these circumstances, those precedents were not maintained. The ever-changing system of pattern was why I loved my occupation so much. It had always left so much room for expansion in business. Now, I may be a hypocrite to some, but my mind has changed. Everything I had once believed in was crashing down around me, including the stock market.
That day when I left work, I saw things I never though imaginable. Rubbish and novelties were strewn over the pavement. In the food warehouses, there were jewels being exchanged for goods. It was all so absurd. I went home to find officers at my door. In total, there were four of them. At the time I thought nothing of it. I invited them in but my curiosity was tremendous.
“Mrs. Prcis?” They asked.
“Yes, officer do tell me what your presence here is concerning”, I said. I could tell from their expressions that their news was not something pleasant.
“There has been an accident involving your husband and children.” When those words reached my ears, I almost fainted. “When your husband picked up your children at school, a crazed woman driving another hovercraft collided purposely into them. She made a statement that you were to blame for her lost fortune. She said that she entrusted you with her life savings and you squandered it into a market that you knew was faulty”, the officer said.
“I DO NOT CARE WHAT SHE HAD TO SAY, WHERE IS MY FAMILY”, I screamed.
“We are truly sorry ma’am, they were all killed on impact. From the flames, their remainders turned to ash. If there is anything we could do” The officers stood there looking desolate.
“Please leave my house”, I asked them. They hesitated for a moment
“Our deepest sympathies ma’am”, they said, and then left.
I recall that the room started spinning after hearing what they had to say. Things really do fall apart all at once.
Next thing I do remember was going up stairs to my bedroom. I looked around the room for a sign that was to say “just a joke Talia.” There was not any such sign. These were the events that led up to where I am speaking from now. Next thing I vaguely remember was walking over to the window that overlooked the small and semi-distinct scenery of the park. Donovan and I used to sit by this same window and sometimes talk, sometimes make love. “It all was just so ironic,” I remember thinking. Some woman I cannot even remember, thought that I had ruined her life, so in turn, she ruined mine. With that in mind, I opened the window and stepped out onto the ledge. The bird that flew by shot me a quizzical look but I hardly gave it thought. Rather, I looked out into the open sky. It was an exquisite day out, “hmm just the right time of day,” and at that, I stepped off the ledge plummeting to my demise. That was the last thing I did in this cruel world that stole my most precious treasures.
Here I now exist. In a place that is so alien from what I am used to. I really do not believe that what I did would be suicide. More or less I consider it to be an attempt to regain happiness. Surely if there is a God, he or she would understand. For that matter, any higher elevation of life and being would deem what I did an act of reputation. I thought that Don, Maddy, and Britin would here and we would be together again. Now I see how very wrong I was. Even a person of my analytical capacity makes unethical decisions. Right now there is fog as far as my eye can see, and I am sad. Life is said to be what one makes of it. If that is true, how did I create my life to end with such hopelessness? I have never been so unsure of where I am to go, or do. I think I will stand here stationary and wait.