Girl Fight (Flash Fiction)

Image by Victoria_Watercolor from Pixabay

Flash Fiction #158

Alia: “Lulan? I always consider Ivy Training Center (ITC) a place for my daughter’s tutoring. I’ve never considered it a place to help me. Can you believe it that they just lay me off like that? I’ve been working there for 10 years. Ten long years. One would think that CUNY (City University of New York) doesn’t lay off people, but they do. I am just a lowly computer analyst. The school budget is depleted by the pandemic and everything else. So they just kick me out. Unbelievable, isn’t it? I’ve tried to find other jobs, but with no success. Either it is too far away or it is too low paid. What am I going to do? You need to help me with my resume and cover letter and interview. I think it is my age. I am 45 and soon to be 50. I heard people say that Asian women can’t find a good job in this area if she’s over 35. Have you ever heard that? Women over 35 should just die or be sent to another planet so that the earth can be forever young and forever beautiful.”

Alia and her husband both work for one of the CUNY campuses in Staten Island. They could have lived on Staten Island to be closer to their work place, but the public school system in NYC is really bad. So they opt to live in Edison, New Jersey. Actually it is more convenient to commute to Staten Island from New Jersey than from most places in NYC.

Lulan:”Don’t worry, Alia. At ITC, we help people brush up resumes, cover letters, interview skills…”

Alia:”I am 45. Can you believe that? I mean time passes so fast. See my eye bags here?”

Lulan:”Oh, come on, Alia. Please. Be nice to yourself. Age is just a number. Let me see your resume and see how we can make improvement.”

Alia:”Without a job, I’ve got a lot of time thinking. And I think I’ve done everything wrong.”

Lulan:”Don’t be so harsh on yourself. This is just a little setback. Everybody got to go through it once in a while. It’s no big deal.”

Alia:”I’ve always tried to be a good girl, to be silent, and to be obedient. But I can’t help thinking that it’s all a mistake. I wanted to go to Japan when I was young, which is closer to my hometown in Southeast Asia. Then at high school, I followed my parents to come to America. Since I didn’t prepare my English very well, I had a very hard time in high school. In college, I met my husband, who is a computer major. He convinced me to do computer even if I was not naturally good with it. When he became the network administrator for CUNY, he got me hired too as a computer analyst. I just feel that my life has always been planned by somebody else. I didn’t have a say in it.”

Lulan: “Alia, you are overthinking yourself into madness here. You lost your job and let’s fix this problem. It has nothing to do with decision making or life or anything else… You think too much.”

Alia:”My life has been too smooth for me. I’ve been a good girl for too long. Nothing bad has ever happened in my life until now. I don’t know how to fight but suddenly life tells me that now you are old and you have to fight for your life. Can you believe it?”

Lulan:”It’s just a job. Let’s find a job for you so that you can stop thinking about these gloomy thoughts.”

Alia:”I feel that the jobs I can find are all bad jobs and I am not even motivated to…”

Lulan:”Oh, come on, Alia, it’s just a job. It gets your bills paid. You don’t have to love it.”

Alia:”I lost my spirit, Lulan. I know I am not really good with computer. I… People told me that I can go to get a realtor license and become a real estate agent. However I’m not too excited about it.”

Lulan:”Wait a second, you have other qualities here. You said you learned Japanese before?”

Alia:”I learned Japanese in primary school and middle school. Then I have to switch to English when coming here. By the way, in high school, I was learning both English and Spanish. I mean Spanish is a mandatory course and I took it for three years. I think I am good with language, but I’ve never really explored it.”

Lulan:”So let’s find a translator job for you since you know 4 languages.”

Alia:”That’s an exaggeration, isn’t it? I am just intermediate in two out of the four languages. Also I haven’t touched those two languages for 17 years.”

Lulan:”I think doing computer, which you are not so good at, makes you very diffident. It is what your husband is good at and you are his sidekick only. It makes you feel unsatisfied and unfulfilled. You are afraid to chase your own goal and develop your own skills. Now take the risk. Go back to brush up your languages and look for a bad translation job first. If you are good at it, you can learn in your job and improve your skills in several years. Don’t you think?”

Alia:”Do you think I can apply for jobs in United Nation? Do you think I can travel? I can visit different countries? Wow…”

Lulan:”Yes, or probably something not so glamorous. Probably you can work for a struggling lawyer in New York or something…”

Alia:”Oh, I am so happy, Lulan. You make me so happy..”

14 thoughts on “Girl Fight (Flash Fiction)

    1. Oh, so true. I really witnessed (not so infrequently) that women would get a job due to her husband’s role. She ended up not working on things she really liked for years and years. Actually she became increasingly diffident and sad…

      Liked by 1 person

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