Happy

“Happy,” thought the owner of a successful cafe chain, looking at the famous actress sitting at the table. “Beauty, she looks like a million dollars. The only concern is how to keep up with the new jewelry collection, choose which resort to relax at, fend off crowds of rich admirers, and find time to hide from the paparazzis behind the high fence of a chic mansion. But here I am…having a headache of all these things, taxes, competitors, mortgages and a new car lease. A child grows up with a nanny, a husband lives a separate life. And the high season begins in the Maldives…”

“Happy,” thought the woman’s housemate, whose paths crossed with the “coffee business lady” by a chance. “She lives upstairs in a huge apartment, changes cars like gloves. But here I am… writing these computer programs until exhaustion. I barely manage to put money aside for a one-room apartment. I work from morning to night, sit alone at home like a hermit. No family, no friends. No entertainment or rest. I can only read on social media where it is better to have a vacation, either in Ibiza or Tenerife. And life passes by…”

“Happy,” thought the hairdresser and cut skillfully the damp locks of the computer programmer. – “She is the master of her own time. Works from her own home, drinks coffee. She presses the keys on the laptop – ding – money comes to her bank card, and a decent amount. Where do you want to have vacation in Egypt or do you want to go to Turkey? But me… How much hair do I have to cut, sweep a ton of hair off the floor to earn at least something. And on top of that, customers try to get on my nerves. In the evening, I can’t stand on my feet anymore, but at home my mother-in-law sharpens her teeth to say something hurtful as I reach the doorstep”…

“Happy,” thought the saleswoman selling food at the street stall, looking at the hairdresser, moving her stiff body in the cold November day and trying to warm up her hands, which were swollen from the frozen water. – “She stands there in the warm room in slippers and wearing a dress, making girls beautiful, collecting “tips” into her pocket. But here I am … And in the rain and in the snow and in the frost… My legs are stiff, my fingers don’t bend anymore. The only income is when some “lady” doesn’t want to get her hands dirty and tells me to wash her vegetables. In the evening, I arrive at the rented apartment and only then I feel some warm”…

“Happy,” thought the thin and slim model, looking at how the hungry saleswoman greedily swallowed the custard pie that the wearhouseman had brought to her. – “Always has a full stomach, eats sweets for pleasure, everyone tries to pinch her lovingly. But here I am… Always hungry, I somehow make ends meet with odd jobs, I never know when I will eat next, where and with whom I will spend the night. I undress in front of the one who pays and get used to being like an inanimate thing.”

“Happy,” thought the elegantly dressed lady of Balzac’s age, looking at the model, who was posing for a young photographer holding a bunch of leaves. “Young, with an ideal figure and a mysterious expression. She has her whole life ahead of her. And she doesn’t know what it means – when beauty fades. She does not know the feeling when relatives die. She doesn’t know the feeling when your marriage didn’t work out and adult children live their own lives. She doesn’t feel the bitter taste of the evenings in the embrace of loneliness…”

“Happy,” thought the old lady looking at the elegant woman who was leafing through an advertising leaflet on the bench, while at the same time pushing the wheelchair in front of her, in which sat her half-asleep husband. “Still so young and beautiful. Still healthy and full of energy. She can afford to spend money on beautiful clothes, delicious food and nice things. She doesn’t know what it means to spend all her miserable pension on medicine. She doesn’t know what it’s like to listen at night the breathing of a person close to death and feel that the end is near.”

“Happy,” thought the lonely old lady as she watched the old lady pushing the wheelchair and added the porridge  from the broken enamel bowl into several bowls under the bush for the cats to eat. Whenever I see them, they are always together. The woman is fixing the blanket on the man’s legs, the man is trying to break a rowan branch for her. There is someone to care about, there is someone who sympathizes. But here am I… Even if I die, no one will miss me. She doesn’t know what it’s like to cook porridge with water instead of milk to feed these homeless and starving kittens. Just for the desire to be needed…”

“Happy,” thought the young homeless woman as she watched the old lady, to whom a dozen cats rushed at full speed, while trying to calm her screaming two-year-old daughter. “She can feed the cats for fun, but I often can’t feed my child. She lives somewhere, sleeps somewhere and cooks porridge. But she doesn’t know what it’s like to have nothing, what it’s like to beg, run from the police or from the dogs. Maybe I would have jumped off this bridge a long time ago if I hadn’t been tied hand and foot to this child”…

She unwrapped the crumpled package, broke off a piece of bread that a compassionate aunty had handed to her when she was begging on the stairs near the crosswalk today and thrusted it into the hungry girl’s hand. She didn’t notice that the actress was watching them, drinking coffee and sitting behind the wheel of a luxury car. The actress sat still without turning the ignition key and looked without blinking at the child as she was munching greedily the sweet pastry. And in a moment, her whole life flashed before her eyes: a beautiful fairy tale, mixed with cynicism, betrayal, empty promises and an early abortion. Fake roles, expensive gifts that chill the heart, a beautiful house… Empty and quiet at night. Her eyes met the baby’s eyes and the child’s sincere gaze touched her soul. Watching the girl wrap her arms around her mother’s neck, she involuntarily touched her own neck, imagining the longed-for childlike warmth and unconditional love that the young mother didn’t seem to notice at all. And there was only one thought in her mind: “Happy … Oh God, how happy she is” …

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