This story is in the process of being re-edited. I hope you enjoy the changes!
As I sat on the bench outside of my favorite deli eating a turkey sandwich, I watched the people walk by. The great thing about New York City is that on every corner there is something fascinating to note. In my black vinyl journal, I noted everything of interest I saw. I took another bite of my sandwich as I read over what I had just written. I twirled a strand of my long brown hair absentmindedly, wondering whom I should focus on next.
My gaze wandered to the table of five young men sitting outside. They usually ate here about the same time I did. They were different from most people I knew and that made me curious. With their long hair, the group of them certainly stuck out from the normal trendy people around the city.
I looked at my watch. Only a half-hour till I had to return to my job at the bank. Who would have thought my four years of college would have landed me at a job in a bank? My dreams of being a famous writer were slowly fading as the months passed since I graduated. It was already October and I was nowhere near the industry I wanted to be a part of.
After five months of New York City, I was still just scraping by. Lately, I had begun to wonder if I should simply listen to my parents and return home. Jack, my ex, would be pleased with that. I could hear him now telling me how happy he was that I finally figured out this break-up was stupid and how I would love being a lawyer's wife.
"Oh my God! If it isn't Rae Anne Wilkinson!" I froze, lifting up my wide green eyes slowly, the fear immobilizing me. Not today, I thought. Please, not today. "Well look here! I haven't seen you since you left Jack."
I forced a smile at the bleach blond haired woman standing in front of me. Her blue eyes stared back at me condescendingly. We had been friends when we were younger but then high school changed everything. There were the popular kids and then there was me, the outsider who didn't belong to any of the categories that made up our school. I was from the wrong side of the tracks, after all. I had always looked as I did today: ripped jeans and a faded yellow t-shirt that looked as if it was washed one more time, it would disintegrate.
"Oh, so you're eating here? Wow, you are such a risk taker. I would be scared to eat lunch at someplace like this." She titled her head to the side, smiling her perfect smile.
I raised an eyebrow. "Well, you know me. I like to live life on the edge."
"I know. After all, you gave up Jack. I keep telling everyone, what is she thinking? I mean, New York City? Jack knows not to worry. I mean, after all, it's not as if you have this great future to look forward to." She laughed. "How can you honestly think you can do better than him?"
Though I wanted to shout at her and put her in her place, I did what I always did. I let her yell at me. I used the only defense I had: sarcasm. "You know what, you're right. I am here just to see how horrible I can make my life." I put my journal back into my black bag. I would rather go back to work early than have this discussion.
"Oh, are you still playing that you can write?" she asked, that idiotic smile still on her face.
I stood up. "Yes, I'm still playing I'm a writer. That's a lovely way to put it. So why are you here again?"
"No, actually I'm here with someone I know you'll love to see."
I know it would be him as soon as she opened her mouth. Of course he was with her. I was really having a bad day. I paled as the handsome man joined us. With his gray suit, he looked as if he had walked out of a GQ magazine. His short brown hair looked perfect, not a strand was out of place. He matched the beautiful blond at his side. He definitely didn't seem to fit with a disheveled, struggling artist. "Jack," I said, wishing I sounded strong and indifferent to his arrival. Instead I sounded uncertain and nervous as a child.
"Rae, sweetheart. I've missed you so much. I was hoping I would run into you here."
He didn't approach me, much to my relief. I was too aware of the people around us. I looked over at my favorite table. To my chagrin, the young men were staring back at us curiously. The man in the middle with the dark curly hair grinned at me sympathetically.
I hurriedly turned back to Jack and Missy, flushing with embarrassment. "You should have told me you were coming."
"I did. You wouldn't see me." Jack's grin was forced.
Missy linked her arm through his arm possessively, shaking her head at me. "Now Rae Anne, that isn't very nice of you. We're all just worried you might get hurt out here. It's been three months now. When are you going to grow up, sweetie?"
I clenched my jaw. "I don't know."
Jack sighed. "I knew this was a bad idea. Rae, you know I'm getting pretty tired of sitting around waiting for you. One day, I'm not going to be there."
"Yeah, I keep hoping that day will come." I surprised myself as much as them with that comment. But our relationship had ended long before I left town. I left the two of them standing outside of the deli, with their mouths hanging open.