Perfect Paradise


Ace O’Connell, Contributing Writer

“Sir,” my father’s assistant Martha called “the people are saying there is low food, low money, and barley any jobs left.”

“These ungrateful little….,” my father mumbled, clearly annoyed, “I’ve given all I can to these people and how do they repay me? By complaining!” father yelled furious that those ‘peasants’ as he called them would dare complain about his so called ‘perfect paradise’.

“Father,” I spoke quietly so as to not make him even more angry “perhaps we should listen to the people.”

“And why should I do that Mary-Elizabeth,” he replied. I cringed at my full name, I didn’t even use it anymore, the name everyone else used was River but my father says, ‘I named you Mary-Elizabeth so that’s what I’m going to call you’, it was annoying. “You know that those peasants don’t deserve my money or time. I haven’t a care about the people of this city, it is their job to make me more money and expect nothing back,” stated my father, I silently gritted my teeth, how could he be so heartless.

After that little discussion I decided that I didn’t want to spend another minuet at my father’s office. I called the car and was driven off to home, well, if you could even call it that, it was more of a place I slept and ate I wouldn’t call it ‘home’ considering I lived there by myself along with a few housekeepers and a butler but that was it. My father didn’t like seeing me unless it was on his own terms or if I came to his office, but I didn’t mind, I hated him and wanted nothing to do with him, I even go so far as to tell people the wrong last name so no one would put two and two together.

Chapter 2

When I got home, I decided to call Ross, my best friend, we’ve been friends since 4th grade and he’s also the only one at school and possibly the whole city who knows who my father is. “Hey bestie,” I greeted

“Hey what’s up,” he replied, “you look mad.”

“I am mad,” I admitted.

“Your dad again?” he questioned.

“Really how’d you guess,” I said sarcastically.

“Ok ok, I get it anyway what’s up,” he repeated.

“Want to come over,” I asked.

“Yeah obviously,” he said.

“Ok, see you soon bestie,” I said.

“See you,” he said as he hung up.

Well, my mood just got better, I always got excited when Ross came over, I mean he’s my best friend and is allowed to come over whenever he wants, he is actually the best.

After a few minutes Ross was already here. We had a ton of fun and honestly, I wish he could just live here, he’s like a brother to me.

Chapter 3

A few hours had passed and sadly Ross had to go home, I was upset but knew that he would probably be over again tomorrow.

‘Knock, knock’. I heard someone knocking on my door, “Yes?” I replied

“Dinner is ready Miss,” my butler Alfred stated.

“I’ll be down in a minute,” I said.

Great, I just can’t wait to have an over-the-top dinner for one. I hate this stupid house, why can’t anyone actually care about me. Why won’t my father let me do anything, I mean, he’s never around, he never checks on me, he just calls me to him whenever he meets with soon to be business partners or on his own terms. Yeah, I do go to his office every once in a blue moon, but those visits are always short and very few words are spoken. He usually just uses his assistant to talk to me, I mean you would think that he would have some kind of love for his only child but no, he hates me because right after I was born my mother, the love and light of my father’s life, died. She didn’t make it and he blames me saying that I was a mistake and that it’s all my fault that my mother is dead. But I’m used to it at this point, when I was younger, I would cry for hours after he said that, but I’ve become numb to it now.

After dinner I decided that I just wanted to sleep for a while, so I headed up to my room and flopped down on my bed and shut my eyes.

Chapter 4

When I woke up it was pitch black, I reached over and picked up my phone to check the time, 2:15 A.M. wonderful, well I guess I could do my favorite thing to do at 2 o’clock in the morning, sneak out to the next city over. Now, I do this all the time, I started to sneak out when I was about 10 and I did it once a month but now that I’m 14 I do it almost every day, it’s nice to leave and go see a different place that’s not suffering and isn’t infested with crime, and more importantly, my dad can’t catch me.

I got out of bed and pulled on my red and white Converse and a grey hoodie, I packed my mini backpack with my phone, wallet, and a pack of watermelon gum. I silently opened my window and threw down the rope ladder I kept in my room. I hopped out the window and once I got to the ground, I ran to the garage and grabbed my skateboard. And I was gone.

After about an hour and a half I was already at the other city, unlike my father’s city this one was beautiful, big skyscrapers and so many lights, this city was beautiful and bright, I loved it here.

Chapter 5

I skated to the nearest CVS and walked in, holding my board, I went straight to the refrigerator and grabbed my favorite drink, a purple Monster Energy, I then went to the chip isle and grabbed a bag of Fritos. I walked up to the self-checkout and scanned and paid for my stuff.

Walking out I noticed a penny on the sidewalk, it was heads-up so I grabbed it and inspected it, if there’s one thing I’ve learned about life it’s that you should never blindly pick up anything on the side of the road without checking it out first, the penny looked to be normal, so I was ok to take it.

I checked the time on my phone 4:00 A.M. almost the time I had to ‘wake up’ I hopped on my skateboard and left for ‘home’.

Chapter 6

I scrambled back into my room at around 5:30 A.M. and threw my sneakers and sweater off and into the corner of my room. I placed my head down on my pillow and shut my eyes for a few minutes, I knew that at 6:00 I would have to be up for a meeting with my father, I don’t know why but he’s been wanting to meet with me a lot more lately and I don’t know whether to be happy that he’s not being as distant as he used to be or annoyed that it took him 14 years to realize that he is a horrible father and try to fix it.

As I was thinking to myself, I was suddenly disrupted by someone calling my name I opened my eyes and looked up to see… my father? What is he doing here, this is weird. My mind was going a mile a minute with questions until my father spoke, “Uhm, so…I know how much I’ve hurt you and you probably didn’t expect this but, I’m so sorry for all I’ve put you through, I know you probably hate me, I’m not asking for forgiveness, but I wanted you to know that I’m sorry.”

My jaw dropped, what? who is this and what have they done with my dad, not that I’m complaining, I like that my dad is making an effort to be a good dad but, seriously? It’s been 14 years and now he’s ‘sorry’. I don’t believe that, not one bit. I mean, how could I? He’s been blaming me for so much since I was little but now, I just don’t know how to react, is this his attempt to connect with me after years of emotional abuse?

Just as he was about to leave my room I spoke “You’re right, it will take more time but I’m willing to try to forgive,” I said as I looked up at him, he turned around to see me, water pooling in his eyes, and he smiled, he smiled for the first time in years.

Chapter 7

The rest of the day was spent with my father, it was odd, him being around, I wasn’t used to it. I don’t know if I like it or not.

After my dad and I got home I excused myself to use the bathroom. When I got back, I was horrified at what I saw, he was on the floor, face down. I called for an ambulance immediately and prayed that he would make it.

The ambulance arrived shortly after, and my father was taken off to the hospital. I asked my chauffeur to take me as well.

When I finally arrived my heart was racing and so was my mind, I didn’t know what happened and I was terrified.

Chapter 8

I was pacing in the waiting room while Alfred tried to calm me down, but it wasn’t working very much. As soon as the doctor walked out and came up to me, I knew something was wrong. “I’m very sorry Miss Arison but, your father didn’t make it,”

As soon as she said that I was hysteric, I didn’t know if I should be happy or sad or what. I mean he’s never been around until today but he was so sincere and so happy today, but then that happiness was cut short.

Chapter 9

On the car ride home I was silent. Not a word was uttered until the car pulled into the driveway or should I say my driveway. Alfred opened my car door and escorted me inside. As soon as I entered my room I kicked my shoes off and flopped on my bed, I knew that tomorrow would be filled with exhausting meetings, funeral preparations, and most likely getting stopped by more than one reporter asking about my father.

My body was so tired but my mind was wide awake, thinking and internally cursing at myself for not noticing my father’s condition sooner. As I lay there on my mattress, I suddenly was able to feel the emptiness of the house, the only sound were the muffled footsteps of the countless maids and butlers roaming the halls getting the house ready for the morning. I never understood the reasoning for getting the house ready, I never cared if the house was dusty or not, nor did I notice. But then I guess, the reason I never noticed was because it always looked the same. The same paintings, vases, and other art pieces strewn about the house.

As my mind wandered my eyes began to close as I fell into a light, dreamless sleep.

Chapter 10

I was awoken at 6:00 am with Alfred opening my curtains, well technically I woke up earlier than that because I was sleeping so lightly that even the most minor noise was enough to wake me up, as I opened my eyes one of the maids brought in my breakfast. The food looked amazing as always however, I wasn’t hungry, in fact, I never was. I was never hungry that early in the morning, I was always too tired and too afraid to leave my room. You see, I was never brought breakfast in bed unless it was a special occasion so I would always stay in my room until the clock said 8, that would be when I crept my way downstairs and made a cup of either tea or coffee.

I guess one could say that this was a special occasion, it was my first day without my dad. I thought I would be fine with it, if you had asked me at any point my entire life starting at 8 years old I would have told you that I wouldn’t care, that I would simply go on living my life with not a care in the world, but I couldn’t help but feel a bit down even the slightest, I figured I’d be fine, I figured that since I’ve gone my entire life without my mother that I could live without my father just as well, however I couldn’t have been further from the truth. Every time I thought about the events of yesterday tears threatened to fall, taunting me every time I blinked, welling up and disappearing just as quickly as they came. I sat on my soft sheets and picked at the pancakes that had been carefully placed in a fine-dining sort of way. I sighed quietly and began making my tea, first sugar, then milk, then I sipped it slowly taking in the taste and scent of the warm earl-grey tea that I had drank every day for the last 6 years, once I finished my tea I got out of bed and grabbed one of my band t-shirts and a pair of ripped jeans. I left my room after putting on my 4-year-old converse that I probably should have gotten rid of two-and-a-half years ago.

As I left my room I was stopped by my father’s or my assistant, “Miss, you have many things to do today and many people to meet with we have to begin right away” she stated matter-of-factly.

I had always hated Martha, she was too annoying and quite obviously obsessed with my father. I could always tell whenever someone would bring up my mother her face would darken like someone had just insulted her bloodline. She always seems to have something to say about everything, especially my mother. I always suspected her to have been in love with my father, it would make so much sense, like how she could stand being around him for twenty years, always taking his side no matter what, and just overall being practically attached to him for as long as I can remember. Needless to say, I despise that woman.

”I’ll skip the funeral preparations for today and focus on the meetings” I stated tiredly.