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The Little Black Book (Chapter 3)

Chapter 3: A not-so-boring bouquet?

By Prashanth ChandrasegaramPublished 2 years ago 5 min read

Exiting from the large glass doors, Helena paused underneath the condominium’s fancy, hotel-like overhang to check her pockets for her mask.

And, as she put on her mask, there, in front of her, stood a sharp, shiny-shoed chauffer, holding a coffee in one hand, the morning newspaper in the other, and a beautiful, black book under his arm by his side. Behind him, Helena noted that there was a magically mesmerizing, luxurious-looking black Buick with a spectacular showroom shine.

“Oh, madam! Good morning, I didn’t expect you to arrive so soon. Will Mr. Chandra be accompanying you today?”

“I think you got the wrong person.” said Helena.

“Oh? Oh, Yes! Sorry, madam. It’s hard to tell who’s who nowadays with these masks we’re all wearing—Please, forgive me.”

“It’s not a problem! Have a good day.” Helena said politely.

“Thank you. Wishing you a wonderful day, madam.”

So, smiling with her eyes as her mask covered her big, bright smile, Helena parted ways away from the mysterious masked man, who smiled back at her through his mask. So, she commenced her commute down the sidewalk to head to work.

“So much etiquette and manners—maybe, he worked at Buckingham palace before coming to America? Maybe, he was one of those palace guards who wore those big, black, funny, furry hats and the red coats. Next time I see him, I’m going to be fancy and call him “sir”.” Helena thought to herself as she walked.

She continued on her routine route of her typical trek on a mundane Monday toward the work-life woes that were put on pause last week for the weekend. Helena lived for the weekend—which wasn’t very interesting. This Monday it was different though. Though it was still the routine route of her typical trek, it was more than the usual drab greys and bleak whites. She noticed that the streets were still littered with dirtied picket signs. The signs were bright and loud—magentas and neon greens colorfully contrasting against each other. You could make out the big, all-caps words that were drawn out in permanent markers on the signs. So, as she carefully observed the mess, she continued to walk. And, as she walked, she passed the white-stoned, US Capitol building, which was gloriously perched at the top of Capitol Hill, standing as a testament of the American history on which the American dream was founded upon. Her routine route from Monday to Friday, was like a history class—a boring history class. But, today, the history class was not so boring. In seeing the picket signs littering the streets, she was reminded that, a few weeks ago, American history was made as fellow American citizens and opposing American news networks waged wars with words as stories of protests, riots, and insurrection at the Capitol littered the minds of the masses during the impeachment trial of former-President Trump. That was on January the 6th, 2021. “How’d these signs end up on the floor again? Didn’t DPW clean it up?” she pondered. Regardless, having to walk by the Capitol each weekday morning to get to work, Helena was reminded of her unwavering American identity as she, though grateful for her comfy office job, begrudgingly dragged herself to work through the streets of Washington, D.C., in order to continue life as an American who was blessed with the opportunity to continue her pursuit of the American dream. But, though she had a routine route to work, her route to pursue the American dream was not so routine. As Helena was a curious, quirky, and clever creature, en route to pursue her American dream, she was one to think for herself at work. Thinking for herself helped her procure promotion. Not only that, she was one to think for herself when it came to the mentions of the media and the masses surrounding the uproariousness of American politics and the deepening divide and deepening drama between the rivalling political parties.

Now, as all these thoughts about what had happened a month ago whirled around in her mind, her train of thought came to a halt as an image of the chauffeur's coffee jumped at her in her mind’s eye.

She stopped in her tracks.

Her gentle, dark eyes widened as, for a moment, she stood as still as a statue—a (grayscale) statue of liberty—on the sidewalk.

Then, it began:

Helena commenced a crazy, coffee-craving-charged coat pat-down.

"NO!!!"

She began to frantically dig into her pockets.

“Urrgh! My credit card!” she exclaimed as she stomped in protest of her forgetfulness, swiftly turning around to retrace her steps toward home to get her wallet that she had left on the kitchen counter. As she retraced her steps, she noticed a few signs lying on the sidewalk in front of her. One read “TRUMP SUCKS!”. She rolled her eyes. Then, she made a little leap over the sign, landing her jump while keeping her balance. A Perfect 10-out-of-10 landing! The obstacle course wasn’t over. In front of her, she saw another sign. This one read “BIDEN STINKS!” She rolled her eyes again. Then, before her eyes unscrewed and fell out, she readied herself for leap attempt #2. And, she leaped, sticking another perfect landing.

After a little more walking, she approached the condo’s overhang. She noticed the chauffeur seated inside that sparkling, classy black car.

After a quick courteous wave toward him, she blurted:

“HI AGAIN, SIR!”

He seemed startled and looked like he almost spilled his coffee.

“Opps!” she mumbled to herself as she paced toward the almost-hotel-like revolving doors. That was harder than she thought. But, practice makes perfect. Next time, she’ll nail it like how she nailed those leaps.

And, before you knew it, she quickly made it through the revolving doors at the front, heading for the elevator.

“I think I over did the ‘sir’ back there,” she thought to herself as she sauntered back through the lobby hall, still heading for the elevator.

Then, the concierge turned to Helena and called to her forewarningly, “Helena, the elevator is out of service!” His voice echoed through the grey-and-white echoey lobby.

“Thank you, Connor!” replied Helena to Conor, the concierge. So, she quickly changed her brain-GPS toward the stairwell door. Approaching the door, she murmured to herself under her breath:

“Urggh, I’m gonna be late!”

“Urrgh!”

“COFFEE! I NEED coffee!”

Then, as she reached for the handle, the door abruptly swung open, almost slamming into her.

A young man appeared from the doorway.

He was well dressed. He wore a well-tailored, San-Marino-blue suit, holding a very, very, very large bouquet of deeply crimson-red roses, speckled with delicate baby’s breath. It was the most color that she’s seen in that lobby in ages (seemingly. It wasn’t that long in reality but, in the eyes and the mind of a Millennial, it was very, very, very long).

Wide-eyed and mouth agape in surprise, the bouquet slipped out of his hand. And, as if in slow motion, the bouquet fell, almost gracefully with a quarter-twirl, to the floor. And, with a little bounce, you could hear that little 'boosh' sound from the crinkling bouquet foliage as it hit the ground in the sudden quiet of that grey-and-white, mausoleum-like lobby.

“I’m so sorry!” they both exclaimed simultaneously to each other, their voices cutting through the silence, as she was caught in the gaze of his brown eyes and deep black pupils.

They both reached to pick up the bouquet. But, before she could even touch it, he managed to quickly grab the bouquet.

There were smiling eyes exchanged in midst of their echoing exclamations as their eyes met, both half-bent over.

Could this be love at first site?

LoveYoung Adult

About the Creator

Prashanth Chandrasegaram

Dreaming of escape to a tropical, teardrop-shaped island, a place of my parents' tearful escape, a place once called home.🌴

Red-blooded Tamil. 🇱🇰

Born and raised on Canadian soil. 🇨🇦

HBSc (Neuroscience). 🧠

Working on a CPA. 🧮

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    Prashanth ChandrasegaramWritten by Prashanth Chandrasegaram

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