Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Mysterious Figures in the Park

I spirit down the street past Hallow Park to the bench where I slept a few nights before, remembering that possibly my keys were under the bench. They must have fallen out of my purse due to the of the giant hole in the side I failed to notice. I can’t believe that I didn’t think about the slit in my purse that traps most of the content in my bag, and realize that the cut had finally made it’s way to the bottom of my bag ripping through completely, and dumping almost everything out of it as I was walking. I really should have gotten that fixed.

I reach the park, but could barely see because of fog that swallowed everything around me. I couldn’t see worth a damn, let alone remember where that stupid bench was. In the distance, I could make out the bench but standing between the path were two shadowy figures. As I approached closer to the shadows a knot formed in the pit of my stomach. Something didn’t feel right, but I wasn’t sure what. It was eerily quiet until the silence was broken by the blast of one of the figures voices, booming as loud as the sound of thunder that’s followed by a violent streak of lightning.

I jumped what I’m sure looked like 5 feet into the air. The hair on my arms stood up, and my head jerked back violently. My whole body propelling into the air, falling like a rag doll to the ground, and landing on my back with a loud THUD. My head ached, and spine cracked. With the wind completely knocked out of me I violently gasped releasing air back into my lungs. Confused I lay on the ground for a minute or two as I try and process what had just happened. I didn’t understand what the figure shrieked at me so expressively, “Your great good fortune, true, it was your ruin.” Whatever ‘great good fortune’ he was referring to obviously didn’t apply to me.

I finally get enough composure to stand up, wobbly still, I make my way around the figures but keep my distance. As soon as my legs regain strength I sprint to the bench. Hurriedly I look underneath feeling the ground all around the bench. In the process of frantically trying to get the hell out of the park, I scraped my hands on the concrete causing little red cuts to form on the surface of my hand, and tiny drops of blood begin to flow out. I’m about to give up when my hand grazes against sharp metal. I rip the metal out of the crack in the sidewalk to discover my keys! Finally, I didn’t have to sleep on the park bench, I had never been more relieved in my life, or so I thought.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

No Water in Sight and Still No Keys

I couldn't believe this was happening... This was hands down the worst week of my life. I lost the keys to my apartment, the power went out in the city, I had to sleep on a park bench, and now there's a water shortage? All I can think to say is what the hell is wrong with this city? Either I brought the bad luck to this place, or out of all the places I choose to move to I pick the shittiest one. Either way it doesn't matter all I know is that I need to find water, and fast. Everyone seems to have gone nuts like deranged rabid dogs or something. If I'm lucky I can find water and someone to help me find my keys. I'm sure there's someone who will be compassionate enough to help me even though I probably  look and smell like in inside of a trash can that contains spoiled milk.

I start walking in the direction of the Exxon Gas station hoping that they'll have water bottles left. I walk into the store and to the back aisle where they keep the gallon jugs, and packs of 6 to 12 water bottles. To my surprise there's only a one gallon jug left on the aisle as it looks like a barren wasteland, plastic wrappers littered the floor. There are even bite marks left on one of the shelves which gave me a strange sense of nostalga. I swallow laughter as I picture what must have happened here earlier. I imagine people clawing each other like the middle aged soccer mom's did in the mall back in my hometown on Black Friday that my mom forced me to go with her every year. I shudder at the memory and reach for the bottle as I see someone else reaching for it too.

I look up to see a man in a navy blue work suit, he's tall around 6 feet if I had to guess. He flashes a bright white smile and then apologizes saying I can have the water bottle. I'm almost lost in his beautiful smile, and have to think fast because now I've waited way too long to respond to him, so I blurt out the first thing that comes to mind, "Oh no it's fine why don't we split the cost and share it." To which he responds,"Are you sure? If you want then thanks!" So we walk up to the cash register side by side my hands are shaking, like they do when I get really nervous. I don't know why I was freaking out so much it's like I was in middle school again and didn't have the capacity to even speak to a boy. I'm a grown woman this shouldn't be so hard, but I am sleep deprived, so I'll blame it on that.

He takes the gallon jug from my hand and then pays for it even though I told him we could split the cost, but I didn't complain free water right? We leave the store and he tells me we should go check out Rainbow River. He had been to two more stores before this and was pretty sure we got the last bottled water in the city. On the way I tell him my situation, about losing my keys, and sleeping on the park bench. He chuckles a little, but then tries to hold back his laughter. I tell him it's fine, and begin hysterically laughing which quickly turns into tears. So I am standing front of a man I barley know crying my eyes out, and I'm sure he feels uncomfortable, but I can't stop. I'm still laughing but tears are flowing down my face. He starts to laugh and doesn't seem to mind my tears. He apologizes for laughing and hands me the ascot out of his navy blue suit to use as a tissue. I realized then that I had yet to even get his name so I introduce myself, and he tells me his name, "Hal South."

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Waking Up on a Park Bench

I woke up in a sweaty daze, hands trembling, mouth dry, and lips cracked. I really needed some water. It felt as if I had been stranded in the desert for hours on end, only I didn’t get the benefits of feeling like I was in a mirage, everything was all too real and I still had to find my keys. The birds were chirping in the background as the sun began to form soft warm hues of yellow and orange highlighting the tops of apartment buildings. A sense of dread and exhaustion swelled inside of my chest. My heart hurt, eyes swollen almost shut, the blue veins visible enough to see spread like tree roots underneath my eyes. I couldn’t even begin to imagine what my hair looked like, it probably resembled the top of a raccoons nest. "Do raccoons even make nests?" I thought to myself. I realized that there was a blanket on me, but I have no clue where it came from. I was a mess, a complete, and utter mess. I wondered what my mom would say if she knew that I had lost my keys, wait I knew exactly what she would say, “I told you you're not cut out for the city Olive, the first night here and you lose your keys and your solution was to sleep on what a park bench instead of renting a hotel room? The city's already swallowed you whole and spit you back out, because even it realized it didn’t want you. You might as well just come back home.” Well, okay maybe I’m being a tad dramatic, even though I knew she wasn’t supportive of me leaving all that I had ever known, she would want to help, at least I hope she would...

I sit up on the park bench arms shaking I hear the, “crack, crack, crack,” of my spine. I stand up with a numbing feeling in my legs, I guess they must have fallen asleep. I reach over to fold up the black and white checkered blanket and leave it on top of the bench, and reach into my purse for a pen and paper to write a note thanking whoever put the blanket over me the night before. I rummage through my purse, but I’m only able to find an old crumpled up receipt to T.G.I Friday’s, but that’ll do. I write, THANK YOU” in light blue ink, but the pen is fading out on the back of the receipt, and place it top of the blanket. I put a small rock on the note, so it doesn’t blow away in the wind, and then begin the journey to find my keys, but before I can even begin to set foot off of the sidewalk I'm approached by a short woman with bleach blonde hair, and bright blue eyes who looked to be in her early 20's.

As she got closer I saw the thick clumps of mascara that coated her eyelashes, and the dark brown eyeshadow, which I guess was an attempt at a smokey eye. She began to open her mouth to ask me a question but before she could utter a word, looking at the water bottle in her hand I yelled, “WATER! I need water!” I’m sure she thought I was a mad woman but I really didn’t care. Her face altered from a smiling happy-go-lucky look, to a look of sheer terror as I, this crazy woman she found sleeping on a park bench, reach for the bottle in her hand. Without any warning I snatch the water and chug the entire bottle within 10 seconds. We both stand there awkwardly not saying a word as the entire situation seemed rather uncomfortable. I begin to apologize and thank her for the water, but before I can say a word she asks in a sassy southern belle voice, "Well, now that you've taken my water I think you owe me something in return." I stand there dumbfounded as to what she means, her lips curl into a contorted smile, she tells me she's a writer from Southern Living Magazine and needed an interesting story for her boss, and of course I was the perfect candidate. So I responded apprehensively, "Well, you see, I'm not homeless, I just happened to lose the keys to my apartment last night so that's why I ended up on a bench." Her lips seemed to curl at the corners of her mouth in a twisted look of amusement at my story that I didn’t find funny at all but rather disturbing.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Coffee Shop Misfortune

Olive runs into the coffee shop frantically looking for her keys. She swore that she left them here earlier when she had come in to order an espresso, after staying up the night before to write her research paper. She realizes she must look like a mad woman. Her long curly black hair so frizzy that it resembles the top of a muffin, the dark circles under her eyes due to lack of sleep, and of course the mascara running down her face from the crying session which occurred after she realized what she had lost. Due to the power outage, she’s forced to use the flashlight on her phone to look for the keys to the apartment. She looks under all the little brown tables, couch cushions, and in the bathroom as the other customers seem to be staring with confused and slightly frightened expressions. "Great," she thought, "These people think I've lost it." Olive asks the workers if anything had been returned, to which they reply, “No.” The owners refuse to allow her to stay longer, as they insist they hadn’t seen the keys, and that they were tired as it was past closing time. After moving from her small town to the city she realizes life would be much different here, beginning with the self-centered, unhelpful, and ill-mannered attitudes that seemed to consume this shop, but course she was deflecting her horrible day onto these poor exhausted people. Leaving frustrated and out of luck, Olive decides to find a bench on Park Row to rest for the night. Although this wasn't ideal what other choice did she have?