Peter and Fred boarded a plane six days after I arrived in Beijing. I was busying myself snapping photos at every turn, recording expenses and conversations, for the Travel feature. The sunlight slanted across my frequent haunt, the Palace Museum, in the early mornings of a beautiful spring. I satisfied my homesickness for Washington, D.C. by wandering through this temple to the arts. For the sake of the article, I’d also visited the typical tourist destinations of China, and was now preparing to tour various Buddhist temples in and around the city. I set out for Biyun Si, the Temple of the Azure Clouds. I never got to any temple beyond it.
Disaster; this is how 23 year old NYU art student Clara Reynolds feels tonight and her wryly long brown hair that is thrown in a messy bun is the first clue. Drowned in oversized clothing with period cramps stabbing her stomach, she could only manage to sprawl out on her couch in front of the TV. Her studio apartment smells of pure muliebrity instead of the ink smell that Clara’s art career usually generates, making her freckled covered nose flinch. No bra, no appetite, no self confidence, and no desire to join the happy people on the streets of New York living their best lives, Clara’s eyes are glued to the TV. Well not entirely glued, because even though it is only approaching 5 pm her eyelids slowly closed and for 3 minutes she peacefully dozed off. That of course ends when New York needs to remind the poor girl that the city doesn’t sleep, and she bounces at the sounds of the cabs or homeless people.
Gemma found herself staring out the window at work, a little diner in Whitefish Montana, as she often did when she got distracted by the noise from the nearby Amtrak station. Listening closely, the hustle and bustle was just starting, which meant that the once daily passenger train to Seattle would be arriving soon, probably in about 90 minutes. A swift glance at the clock assured her that her guess was pretty accurate, meaning that a few soon-to-be-passengers would drop by for a quick bite to eat before boarding, something she’d often thought about doing herself, just jumping on the train, and seeing where it took her, but never having had the courage to actually do. Just as she had this thought, the bell above the door tinkled, and she found herself staring open-mouthed at the man who’d just walked in.
It was late in the evening, and we were on a date. Nothing fancy, just a movie followed by dinner. We were talking about how uncomfortable Midsommar made us feel, but at the same time, I found it kind of enlightening. Cris didn't like that. Cris was my middle school crush, cliche huh? Finally, after all these years and rejections here and there throughout high school, he decided to ask me out. Said he had been "meaning to ask me for a while" apparently, I guess people really do change after college, but I digress. He was the one driving. We were on the freeway when someone crashed in front of us. He pressed hard on the brakes, causing him to stop just in time, but the car behind rammed into us along with the car in the next lane, causing our car to flip multiple times. Next thing I know, Cris and I were on the floor. I kept hearing him say to me that everything was gonna be okay, but I knew it was bad. My body was in such excruciating pain that I knew I was dying. It was getting harder to breathe and I was also starting to lose feeling in my legs and arms. He told me to count the birds that were in the sky so I wouldn’t leave him alone. I started counting them, but after five I started closing my eyes little by little. “No! You can’t leave me, please!” I could hear his voice fading away and was replaced by an intense high pitched sound instead. I could see the lights of the ambulance reflecting on his face.
A new day has come and Abby still remained tucked under the covers. The sunlight gracefully spills on the covers. A noisome tick and tacking sound repeatedly hit on her bedroom window. Abby groans in her sleep in response to its annoyance. The sound grows louder and louder causing her to wake up abruptly.
The loud beeping sound of the alarm clock has been on repeat for the past thirty minutes. Abby and her husband, Sam, still remain on their bed, seduced by sleep.
It’s lunch time at Harftford high school and the cafeteria is crowded with loud hungry students. In the center of the circle tables, peppy junior Maya Lathel sits in her cheerleading uniform amongst the cheerleaders and football players. Classic American high school dynamic that never really changes.
The mysterious woman disappears in the crowd, nowhere to be seen. Abby begins her search on the dance floor, looking around for the woman. This game of "hide and seek" was another way of luring her into this unconscious love trap and Abby loved it. She loved every second of it.
The day went by quickly and Abby remained in her office studying every little detail about her client. This felt like a test Samantha put her up to. It was unusual that her boss put so much trust in her. I guess the real question on Abby's mind is—"Why didn't Samantha just convince her friend to purchase that house? It was her friend, right?"
The love between them has been a composition of sweet and sour over the years. Abby grew tolerable of it.
Brock is generous. Sam knows this like he knows that two taps on his ankle under the table means bet red, like he knows Carter is obnoxious, like he knows Anna was so full of life she couldn’t understand him wasting his at the craps table. Brock is generous, and everything is Sam’s fault, so he wrestles the ring off of his baby brother’s finger while he’s sleeping and slips it on. Nothing happens. Sam swallows, tucks James in, goes back to his own room.
The sky is painted black meaning the nightlife on the streets of Melrose has begun. The moon is a speck in the sky and the smell of weed and cigarettes overpowers the smell of gentrified coffee shops.