Every morning I stop, wait, look left, look right, and cross. And then every evening the same thing happens again as I return home. Time ticks away and my life passes in the same monotonous way.
Stop, wait, look, cross.
Stop, wait, look, cross.
I’ve done that walk hundreds of times. In fact, it more like…umm, let me think, three years, no sick days, no vacation days, five days a week…yep 1,566 times. Huh, wow, that’s depressing.
The building I work in is the first tower on the left side of the road, directly after the crossing. The apartment I live in is the first tower on the right side of the road, directly after the crossing. I work on the 10th floor. I live…on the 10th floor. At my desk, I see my bed, and in my bed, I see my desk. My whole life plays out across a distance of 150 dismal meters.
I’m jolted out of that depressing thought when my alarm clock goes off again. It’s screaming at me to get out of bed. Because it’s Friday I decided to treat myself to three rounds of snooze button action, but now it’s 7.28 and time to get up. I cast my eyes around my room just to delay getting out of the warm bed a fraction longer. Everything in my room is shades of cream and blush. On the cream wall to my left is a mosaic of 12 mismatched frames with a series of watercolour paintings, and in the far corner is a cream wicker chair with a matching blush cushion and blanket. On the opposite wall to that is my blush painted wardrobe, and a bookshelf where I have an abundance of white candles, blush vases, and books stacked high. Opposite me is a huge window spanning the majority of the wall. I have no curtains. The sadistic side of me likes to torture myself with the view of my office.
Anyone looking in would see the bedroom of a woman who is soft and feminine. It’s the room of a lady.
It’s all a lie. I hate this room. I especially hate the colour blush.
I cast my eyes up to the only thing in this room I like. The stain appeared almost a year ago on the ceiling right above my pillow. I like it because it’s the opposite of my fake surroundings – dark and dirty. Plus last month, after a few too many tequilas I realised it loosely resembles the shape of a puppy, which made me love it more.
“Morning Smudge” I mumble to the stain before I yank myself out of the covers and into the shower.
After I purposefully freeze my flesh with cold water, another sadistic quirk, I go back into my bedroom to dress. As I stand in front of my open wardrobe, I glance out the window and see that Cathy, the Assistant Office Manager, is already at her desk. She’s a beautiful redhead, with a personality that matches her fiery hair. All the woman in the office want to be her, and all the men want to be in her. She is the type of woman who oozes sex appeal without even trying. I wish I had a distinct quality like that. It doesn’t have to be sex appeal; it could be anything like passion, strength, humour, or even earthiness. Instead, I fear I am just an average brown-haired, 30-year-old Accountant.
I get caught up in the thought of being someone else and so end up staring at her a little too long. Cathy catches me looking and waves with an uncomfortable smile. I curse and wave back before quickly whipping out my clothes, shutting the doors, and running back to the bathroom. I’m not giving anyone in the office a peep show.
“I need to move”.
This is the mantra I’ve repeated to myself 1,566 times. I won’t move, I know I won’t, but saying it implies I might. One day.
I dress in my typical work attire, black pencil skirt, white shirt, and black cardigan. I grab my umbrella and leave for the 1,567th crossing.
Little do I know this will be the last time I make this journey, and the last day I will be just an average woman.
The street is hectic this morning. The rain always makes people go crazy. But I find it refreshing, like the rain washes away the crap and gives you a clean slate. I’m in no hurry to get to my shop, so I zip up my leather jacket, turn up the collar, slip my ink covered hands into the pockets and continue my lazy pace down the street. I’ve lived in this city all my life, it’s my home, and I love it. As I cast my eyes around the sights of my neighbourhood my phone buzzes with a message.
“Hey Link! Gotta change the appointment to 10 – the old lady is keeping me busy.”
I wrinkle my nose at the mental image that message has conjured in my mind. No one needs to imagine a big, hairy, tattooed biker naked with his woman. I mean, his nickname isn’t Bear for nothing. But I know they have been trying for a baby for almost a year, so I don’t want to put a stop to that for the sake of a tattoo.
“TMI Bear! That’s cool though – you’re my only appointment today, so I’ll see you then. Have fun!” I reply.
As the owner of Rituals Tattoo parlours, I rarely get the chance to ink people anymore. Managing 4 shops across the city keeps me busy with other things. But I always make time for my best clients, and Bear is one of them. I’ve done every tattoo on his body.
I love my job as much as I love my city. Every day I’m surrounded by art, and we get to create lasting memories for our customers. Thankfully I had the grit and determination to turn my passion into a successful and profitable business.
The rain starts to fall a little heavier, and I find I’m quickening my steps. I see a woman dragging a child along the pavement in front of me. She isn’t looking so bangs directly into my chest. My hard, 6ft frame doesn’t budge under her force, so instead, she’s the one that topples over. I immediately bend to help her up.
“Sorry miss. You ok?”
“What the hell! I’m soaked!” After brushing her trousers off in dramatic fashion, she looks up at me. Her expression changes from frustration to one that I am very familiar with, a cross between fear and lust.
“Ye..yes. Ummm. I’m fine thank you” She stammers
“Mummy come on I’m cold” The little boy moans
She’s still staring at me, but as we’re all getting wet, I nod and continue towards the crossing. That slight delay made me miss the green light by milliseconds.
“Great” I mutter. Now I’m going to get….
My thought is interrupted by a screech of breaks, a sickening thud, and a deathly stillness. It happened in slow motion, but yet at a blink of an eye too. I look up and see a woman on the opposite side of the road has also just had the same unfortunate front row seat to the death of a stranger.
Little do I know this is the start of a day, that will change my life forever.