Everything Changes

The throng of commuters felt thicker this morning. Even on a crisp autumn morning, June was stifled in the woolen embrace of hundreds of people shuffling to work. She was worried she would be late. Worried that she forgot something. Worried she wore the wrong blouse – it might say the wrong thing- give the wrong image. A older gentleman with salt and pepper hair and a hint of cologne bumped into her arm with his bag. She looked at him and away almost immediately. She began to rifle through her handbag while speed-walking in the dispersing crowd. She needed to check the address again. It gives her calm, comfort to check directions almost every 30 seconds. Although she has always done this, she has never taught herself to stop burying the directions into her handbag after each glance. This has become a habit, a ritual of sorts.

She feels the scratchy torn paper in between her fingers and begins to raise it out like a crab in a net. June looks casually into her hand and is sent falling forward onto her hands and one knee.

The stream of onlookers diverge around her and a family stops to help her stand. She thanks them and lush faced assures them she is alright. She has to stoop back over to collect the contents of her purse that have toppled onto pavement. Her pen, her sunglasses and some papers. June scoops them up and notices an unfamiliar piece of stationary erratically folded stuck to her directions. She glides her self to a potted plant to put herself back together. She throws everything into her bag and looks at the stationary. It is expensive and somewhat personalised. She can feel the weight and texture of its fibers. She strokes a fingertip on the soft emerald piping around the edges.

June opens the paper to see the green trail and smooths it out on her leg. It is not the entire sheet. It has been hastily torn and crumpled. There are smudges of words along the ripped edge. All that can be read is:

Please stop waiting to hear “I’m sorry”. Get on with your life. I have.

The letter was not originally intended for June but it’s sentiment drove a stake through her chest and nailed her to that very spot. She looked around and studied the faces of those around her. Was anyone visibly shattered from this as well? She saw a young man reading something small in his hand and she thought for a moment to approach and ask if this was his. The she saw him remove a granola bar from the wrapping he was reading and toss it in the bin.

Please stop waiting to hear “I’m sorry”. Get on with your life. I have.

She read it again. This time the words pressed into her heart. She winced and looked around again. Who would write this? It is so cold and insensitive. She felt such sadness for whomever received this note and cast it away. June then began to wonder if this was a section of a letter purposefully torn off and discarded or had this been the talisman carried and fingered for affirmation. Was this the best or the worst section of the letter?

Time seemed to slow down for June. She leaned back against the brick encasement of perennials and sighed. She wiped a bead of sweat from her chest and listened to her own pulse. The sounds of the street morphed into a blanket around her feet. The directions to her appointment were cast aside on top of her bag and she took them in her shaking hand and crumpled them tightly into a strong fist.

Please stop waiting to hear “I’m sorry”. Get on with your life. I have.

This was written for her, she knew it. No she didn’t have the entire letter and no she didn’t recognise the handwriting but she felt it was meant for her. June felt a bubble of anger rise in her throat. “Get on with your life.” Who would be so brash to imply she wasn’t living it up? She thought of her father all smug and disapproving.  June was griping the letter so tightly in her hands she felt the paper shutter as if it would explode.

With a new fevered gate she trudges her way through the current. June steps off the curb, she raises her right hand clutching the letter to ward off a exuberant cabbie. She let him know she is not to be trifled with today. June has been rewired and is heading directly to her appointment with no doubts, no need to check or recheck anything. She flicks her hair back and shoves the letter into her pocket.

*response to daily prompt: everything changes

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