“You are fired.”
Those rumbling words replay over and over again in my mind as I trudge home carrying a box stuffed with my personal belongings. That’s right; I am walking home. My car wouldn’t start and I hurried like a saint to church to catch the stinking bus in hopes I would make it to work on time. I was late and consequently fired. Then I managed to miss the last bus home. This is not my lucky day.
Not one good thing has happened on this fabulous Monday. Even the weather is blah. The gray sky matches the gray streets filled with bored drivers waiting for faded red lights to turn green. The naked trees are soulless and barren as they wait in colorless gloom for birds to nest in their branches. The snow used to make this tiny town look like it was in a shaken snow globe, but without those pure flakes this once sparkling city has turned into rusted disrepair.
I wrap my thin coat tighter around my shoulders. The air I breathe turns into virgin smoke as it exits my lungs. They say the temperature is due to global warming. If that theory is correct then how come I am freezing in May? How come this winter never seems to blossom into spring? The suns heat warming up my wintery chilled bones would be a welcome mercy. Instead, goosebumps march across arms wrapped around a sad brown box.
A photo peeks out from its resting place in the cardboard coffin. The happy couple mocks me as I walk. A good looking bronze haired man squeezes a short, stubby, mousy haired woman. Me. It is one of the few pictures I like of myself, even though it is of my ex-boyfriend/ex-coworker. With each step I take the picture bumps and moves upward. I try to be more careful, but it wants to escape and go back to its home on my beautiful desk. I won’t let it.
I stop and try to shift the box so I can get ahold of the frame and place it in a better position. With effort I balance the box on one knee and try to grab the photo. It falls to the ground and shatters.
With I sigh I manage to safely set the box on the now frozen ground. I reach for the smiling photo. Once, twice, and a third time in quick succession like a boomerang and yet fail to grasp the picture. Embarrassment floods my cheeks. Whatever, I can leave this solider behind. I grab my belongings and take one last glance at the memory caught in time. The happy faces surrounded by flowers and emerald leaves are out of place in this black and white world. Maybe it’s better for this picture to add some life to the cracked, dirty sidewalk. I move on.
My arms begin to ache but, my brick apartment building is visible the distance. I am almost home. Soon I can curl op on my soft cream couch with a cup of near boiling tea and drown out the rest of the day with a good movie. The stress crawls out of my shoulder blades at the thought.
It is in the middle of my day dream of Jack Turner, A.K.A Orlando Bloom, sailing the ocean blue when I hit an ice patch; a slippery piece of hard water which wouldn’t have been here if it hadn’t been for the pollution and general destruction of our planet. My head hits the pavement. The world takes pity on me and fades away into black nothingness.
“Hello.” A smooth voice as sweet as syrup and honey mixed together calls. “Are you ok?” The candy asks again.
I open my eyes to find Mr. Jack Turner in all his swashbuckling goodness. I blink. The pirate getup is gone, but the handsome lookalike remains.
“You’re awake.” The apparition says. “I think you hit your head.”
“Ow.” Yep, the clone is right. My fingers reach and find a bump on the back of my thick skull.
“Let me help you up.” He lends me his hand. I take it. His well-groomed fingers are calloused from hard work, and warm with life. My hallucination is real. My legs wobble and I almost fall down from the shock back to reality.
“Sorry.” I sputter. I comb my fingers through my hair and try to un-ruffle my skirt. It’s useless.
“Thanks for your help.” For the second time today I pick up my box of things off the cement and turn walk off in shame.
“Hey, wait. Are you alright?”
“I’m fine.” Just embarrassed, muddy, and exhausted.
“Let me help you get home. I am kind of hoping you will fall again, and I enjoy saving damsels in distress.”
I am a sucker for his cheesy line and sweet voice. I turn and give him the best smile I can manage.
“Ok” I answer. His returning grin is the sun that I have been waiting for, but instead of warming my bones, it heats up my heart.
We stroll and chat. I notice how things around me begin to transform to match my new spirit. The setting sun plays peek-a-boo behind paper thin clouds making his brown hair shine. The old sidewalks are lined with fertile earth waiting to give birth to bright flowers. The bare trees will again be luscious and green in time.
I stop walking when I see something on a fruit tree that makes me smile. On the lowest branch, as if hiding, a tiny light pink flower has sprouted.
Things are changing. This might be my lucky day after all.