“I’m so sorry. I should’ve been paying more attention, really,” A hand reached down to help me up. A man’s hand.
All thoughts of Alex and Maria and the office were forgotten as I looked up at the handsome stranger, his hand still outstretched to me. I put my hand in his and allowed him to pull me up. He had soft hands, for a man. I brushed the bits of gravel and rock off my skirt as he bent down to pick up my purse.
“Are you all right miss?” He asked again stooping a little so we’d be at eye level.
I peeked up at him through my lashes, giving him a shy smile, “I’m fine.” He was handsome. His blonde hair was perfectly coiffed, his collared shirt ironed and pressed, he wore khakis instead of jeans. My eyes slid over to his left hand third finger… no wedding band.
“I’m terribly sorry. It’s been… it’s been a difficult day,” He ran a hand through his hair.
I smiled again gently taking my bag out of his hands, “We all have them.”
“Well I’ll be off I’m sorry again miss…?”
“Grace. Lola Grace.”
“Miss Grace,” he tipped an imaginary hat to me before heading off in the opposite direction.
I was late again. It was a bad habit of mine, being late. I couldn’t help it though, as my mother always said, ‘a lady is never late, everyone else is early’. But my boss wouldn’t take a Louisiana debutante’s words of wisdom as an excuse for my tardiness. Usually it wasn’t so bad but today the stars had aligned to wreck havoc on my day. The coffee maker which had been tottering on it’s last legs finally died so I had to stop at starbucks, I had left my wallet sitting on the kitchen counter making me miss my train and having to walk to work, and to top things off the weather as slowly turning my hair into a ball of fluff perched on my head. Maybe I could get Alex to cover for me at work. I walked along, thinking up excuses I could give Maria that I hadn’t already used when I found myself sprawled on the sidewalk.
I walked without really knowing where I was going. Meeting up with Cora had been a terrible idea, but I had desperately wanted to see her. I’d secretly hoped that things with the rocker would’ve been going bad, that seeing me would’ve stirred up old feelings, that she’d come home. You know when you hear of amputees feeling like they’ve got an itch on a leg that doesn’t exist anymore? It’s called phantom limb. That’s what being without Cora felt like, a phantom limb. It felt strange to be in the apartment without her, without her clothes, without her books strewn about, without her perfume lingering in the air. I even missed that god damn dog. Sometimes I could swear I could hear her, humming while vacuuming the living room, playing fetch with the beast. But instead of looking at me with love and adoration as she had for the last eight years, she had looked at me with pity. It was pathetic. I was pathetic.