For me, writing is a passion and it’s a way to develop my creativity and my imagination. Here is my twenty-first short story, enjoy reading!
You will have your happy ending.
Johanna is twenty-three years old. She is tall, slender and gorgeous. Her golden skin, her almond shaped gray eyes and her long, soft and shiny auburn hair make her look like a supermodel. Johanna graduated from a prestigious business school and was top of her class in International Marketing. She is friendly and popular, and has a group of nice friends. She even had the chance to receive a promise of hiring two weeks after her graduation. Her contract will start in three weeks so she still has time to organize herself. Clearly, Johanna seems to have a perfect life. She just needs a boyfriend to complete this perfect picture and her friends do not understand why she is still single and pushes back all men who want to date her.
What her friends do not know is that Johanna’s life is not as perfect as they think. Now that she got a new job, she cannot stay in the student room she rented during school year. Her friend Lucie suggested her to apply in a hostel for young workers but it will not be possible because they do not accept children. The truth is Johanna is a single mother since she is eighteen. Her parents drove her out of their house and she had to give the custody of Kelly to her maternal grandmother, who even had the extreme generosity to pay her first three years of studies. Then Johanna signed an apprenticeship contract in a telecommunication agency to finance her two last years of studies.
Now it is essential that she finds an apartment for herself and her daughter. Granny Solange is getting old and it is time that Johanna assumes her mom role. It is impossible to share a flat with other young people since she has a little girl of five years old. The fact that she has no husband or boyfriend will also complicate her quest for housing.
Kelly’s father ran away the minute he discovered that Johanna was pregnant and she was too scared to tell her parents. It was too late to abort when they heard the sad news. Instead of being understanding and supportive, Johanna’s parents fell into a fit of rage, called her an irresponsible wanton girl and asked the poor Johanna to leave. It was summer holidays and she was just getting her High School diploma. Hopeless, the young girl ran to her grandmother’s place in Dijon. Granny Solange was a widow and her deceased husband had left her a lot of money. When she heard Johanna’s story, she did not judge her, took her granddaughter in her arms and promised her that everything would be fine. Johanna was three months pregnant and she was supposed to give birth in December. Granny Solange took care of her for the rest of her pregnancy. Johanna just spent Christmas with her grandmother who no longer wanted to talk to her daughter or her son in law. According to Solange, they had stopped being the parents of her granddaughter on the day they asked Johanna to leave without showing her the slightest sign of support. Kelly was born on December 29, 2010. She had inherited her mother’s gray eyes and light brown hair from her father. She was absolutely lovely, very playful and easy-going. Kelly literally looked like a little angel dropped from the sky so Johanna did not have to complain.
Granny Solange taught Johanna everything she knew about how to raise a child. After New Year, Johanna told her grandmother she wanted to find a job to provide for her child. But Solange thought it was a shame to stop her studies so young and encouraged Johanna to pass the entrance exam for a Parisian business school whose school year began in March. It was an accelerated training program so it allowed people to study the equivalent of two semesters in only one for the first year. Johanna was admitted without problem and her grandmother made a deal with her: Solange would pay the first three years of the school. Then Johanna would find a company to finance the two last years of her studies by following a work-linked training. Kelly would stay in Dijon with her great-granny until Johanna finishes her studies, finds housing, a school for Kelly and a job.
During four and a half years, Johanna worked hard and was able to live like normal girls of her age, while continuing to visit Solange and Kelly during weekends or school holidays. Nobody in her school knew about it. The only thing Johanna prohibited herself was to engage in a too serious relationship. She was on the pill for safety, had a few flirtations but did not think she would find someone who wants both her and Kelly. In early twenties, people had other priorities than children and Johanna understood them. She had to think about Kelly above all and not about her sentimental future, it was probably too late for her.
Johanna finally managed to find a furnished studio apartment in Paris 19, not far from La Villette Park. She had a decent living wage for a young graduate, received a housing assistance and could even benefit from family allowance by taking custody of Kelly. Plus, the public kindergarten where she registered Kelly was only ten minutes from home. It was time to get into the adult life. It would not be easy but Johanna was happy at the idea of having Kelly in her life again. She missed her a lot when she was in business school and she needed to strengthen affective bonds with her daughter. There was another problem to fix: Johanna would not be able to pick up Kelly at school at 4:30 pm because of her job. The school year would start in a week and she had to find a babysitter or a nanny to pick up Kelly at 6:00 pm. Moreover, there was no school on Wednesday so she had to pay someone to look after Kelly or enroll her kid at the school activity center. It was additional spending which she had not thought.
When she got the offer of hiring, Johanna did not dare to tell her boss she had a child, for fear of losing the job. Besides, she looked so young that nobody asked her about it. It was Tuesday morning. Johanna had started to work the day before and everything was fine. She would not pick up Kelly in Dijon before Friday evening so she still had three days to inform her boss of the situation. There were already three other moms in the Marketing department. They were eight in her team. Knowing that half of the team needed to leave earlier and be excused from work on Wednesday would certainly not please the boss. If he had hired a young graduate, it was probably because he needed someone with no family obligation to do overtime! Johanna felt really uncomfortable. She had a renewable three month probationary period so her boss had the right to fire her without any reason. What would happen to Kelly and her if she lost her job? This single thought was enough to bring tears to her eyes but she had to be honest with her boss and her colleagues. Martine, a mother of three children, noticed Johanna’s distress and suggested her to go for coffee.
Johanna never drank coffee but followed Martine to the coffee machine, grateful to be able to speak to someone. Martine listened to Johanna carefully, gave her a friendly pat and advised her to send an email to the boss to have a private meeting with him. Johanna thanked her colleague, sent her email and stressed for three hours before receiving a call in the manager’s office. The boss was obviously surprised and upset that she did not tell him earlier. However, he relented when he knew that she was a single mother. He proposed to shorten her lunch break of half an hour to finish earlier every day but she would have to work on Wednesday morning. Her manager warned Johanna she had three months to demonstrate her effectiveness. If she did not reach her objectives, she would be replaced by someone else.
Both grateful but not totally reassured, Johanna thanked her boss and went back to work without losing a minute longer. Johanna simply reheated a soup and ate a fruit for lunch. She preferred to keep her meal vouchers to go to the supermarket or occasionally take Kelly to the restaurant. Since they knew that she had a child, her male colleagues had stopped trying to seduce her and it was fine to Johanna. Her daughter was her only priority and she should do everything possible to take care of her properly. Johanna had managed to find a babysitter for Wednesday mornings on Facebook and she picked up Kelly at 6:00 pm the other days.
Kelly had cried when she had to say goodbye to “Nanny Solange” but she was happy to be with her mum again, and she quickly got used to the Parisian life. Johanna had to learn to cook healthy dishes and had invested in a blender to make homemade soups, milkshakes and smoothies. Lunch on Wednesday was the favourite day of Kelly because her mum usually took her to Mc Donald’s and was available to play with her during all the afternoon. In general, they went to La Villette Park to play outdoor games, Johanna did not want her daughter to turn into a couch potato.
Johanna felt happy. She had survived her probationary period, became friend with some of her colleagues and sympathized with her neighbors. She finally told a few friends from her former school that she had a child. Most of them showed compassionate and some of them even asked if they could meet Kelly. Everyone found her daughter lovely but Johanna could no longer go out like when she was a student. She thought that she would never be in a relationship again until she met Antoine in the park. Kelly had accidentally thrown a ball in his direction while he was playing badminton with his son. Johanna had rushed to apologize and they started to talk while the two kids were playing together.
Antoine is thirty-one years old. His wife died from cancer three years ago and he is on his own to raise his son Thomas who is five years old like Kelly. Antoine and Johanna have just found out that their kids are in the same school. The two parents have never met before because Antoine always picks up his son at 4:30 pm whereas Johanna usually comes at 6:00 pm… His job of freelance web editor allows Antoine to work from home so he has more time to spend with Thomas. Johanna discreetly observes the young dad. He is eight years older than she is but he looks like twenty-five. Like what, age does not mean anything. Antoine exudes a friendly aura and he is really cute. Very tall, slim, he has two gorgeous hazel eyes, brown undisciplined hair, and a frank and warm smile. His son Thomas is a lovely boy with blond hair, probably like his mother, and hazel eyes like his father. Johanna is not afraid to tell Antoine her story and she already knows that she likes him. Antoine does not seem indifferent either, and Kelly and Thomas are already the very best of friends.
After three more meetings in the park, Antoine dares to invite Johanna and Kelly to have dinner with him and Thomas. The girls gladly accept and Johanna suggests a cinema outing for the weekend. They spend so much time together that they look like a family. Antoine gets along very well with Kelly and Thomas told his dad that he finds Johanna very kind and funny. On a Saturday, Antoine suggests to take Johanna to a new Italian restaurant. His sister can watch the kids at home during the evening. Johanna naturally accepts his invitation and they exchange their first kiss when they get to the building where Antoine and Thomas live. Kelly has so much fun with Thomas that she refuses to leave. Johanna seems so surprised that Antoine laughs and offers to improvise a campsite in the living room for the four of them, which reassures the young woman who innocently falls asleep in the arms of her new boyfriend. On Sunday morning, Kelly and Thomas are the first to wake up and the two kids exchange a conspiratorial smile when they see their both parents in the arms of each other.
One year later, Johanna and Antoine officialize their relationship and announce their engagement. They will marry by next spring, to the great joy of their children. Johanna has finally found the man of her life and a dad for her daughter. Antoine has a new wife to love and a new mum for his son. And Kelly and Thomas will be brother and sister for life.
Morality: even if life can be unkind sometimes, know that there is always hope. It is never too late to love, be loved and form a family so continue to smile to life, happy endings truly exist…
Hope you enjoyed this short story. Hugs 🙂