Beyond the stinking factory floor, there is clean air.
Beyond the body-checks of strangers on teeming sidewalks, there is personal space.
Beyond the din of cars, sirens, and heavy equipment there is silence.
That’s what the advertisement said.
The hammock, weighed down by Lada’s inert body, hangs motionless between two palm trees. She refuses to move, lest the hammock swing and its leather straps creak like they did when she first climbed in. A warm breeze skips over her and silent waves lap the shore.
All year she saved for this holiday, often going without protein, always wearing her mother’s old clothes and shoes stuffed with plastic bags.
She has to soak up this vacation because it will be another year before she can come again. Drowsiness threatens to drag her under but she fights it. Not a single second of this break will be wasted in idle sleep.
A loudspeaker crackles and a voice booms over her private section of the diorama. “Lada XD356, your time is up. Please vacate your position or deposit $500 for ten more minutes.”
Photo from Wikimedia Commons: Hammock on a tropical beach by Micky