Changing Avenues

Walking down the street, you encounter a folded piece of paper on the sidewalk. You pick it up and read it and immediately, your life has changed. Describe this experience.

Waking up to my alarm chirping, I glance my eyes up to check the godforsaken time. Yuck, it’s ten thirty in the morning, I have nearly an hour to get to the cafe. I hear rain crashing with the wind against my New York apartment window from my unruly bed. Slowly I rise from my bed and slide to my teeny tiny bathroom, striping my clothes as I walk. I wash my curls and brush my teeth quickly as I shower, not waking up particularly well this rainy morning. Once the shower faucet is off, I slip out onto the steamy bathroom tile and pretty myself up for the cafe.

In my bedroom the size of a closet, I check the time yet again. Yes, it’s about eleven in the morning. Frantically I run around my room looking for something to wear, tripping over dirty pajamas, clothes and delicates. Eventually I find a yellow and white plaid sun dress. What do I put on my feet? Shoes? Certainly not flip-flops, my friends would berate me for wearing flip-flops in the rain to the cafe to meet them. Fine! I’ll wear light beige heels! Impractical? Of course! Amazingly cute, yes!

In the living room I grab my house keys and “jog” down the apartment stairs in my knee length turquoise raincoat out the door into the dismal pouring rain. On the street people are gliding down the wet pavement. I have almost fifteen minutes to walk to the cafe. It takes me twenty minutes on a good day. I hear people talking on cell phones, thunder crash in the sky, and taxi horns obnoxiously honking. As I stand deciding upon which route to take to the cafe people nudge and push alongside me, the wallflower. Why can I never ever be fucking noticed? Anyway, my bad mood aside, I proceed to walk straight ahead. Hopefully I won’t be too late to my date with friends.

After a while I check my watch. Damn, it’s twenty-five after eleven, I’m almost there. My feet are killing me, the slip and slide pavement isn’t an advantage in heels. The rain is still coming down as if there is a monsoon…or if it’s the end of the world. My heart rate is dancing the quick step as I stumble down the streets of New York City. People are still loud and bustling down the sidewalk. My ears have chaotic noise whistling through the tubes. But soon relief floods my veins as I spy the cafe in the near distance, I’m so close.

“Excuse me Miss, but I believe you’ve dropped something in your flushed rush to the cafe.” The man who has caught my arm in his vise like grip points to a folded purple post it on the soaked pavement behind me. This man has a voice of an Italian lover, green eyes that could sink an ocean, thick dark hair and has the scent of Armani Code.

“Oh, that’s not my note, but thank you for your concern.” I smile politely when this handsome stranger releases my arm. Would you like my number, sir?

He laughs and points again to the note. “But it has your name on it Natalie…”

Indeed the purple post it does have my name written on it, that’s odd. I don’t carry post it notes, even in my favorite color. What’s weirder is that this man knows my name. I’ve never encountered this luscious male figure before.

“How do you know my name?”

The man shrugs and says, “You just look like a Natalie to me. But you need to pick up the note before you meet your friends at the cafe; besides you’re already late.”

Has this man been stalking me? He knows my name, where I’m going (that I’m late) and that I’m planning to meet friends there.

“Miss, tis isn’t my note. Clearly it has your name on it. You should pick it up and read it before the rain ruins it.”

Slowly I bend down (teetering on my high heels) and pick up the post it note. It’s not even wet or silt covered. I glance to the countenance of this stranger.

“Aren’t you going to read it?”

What is happening right now? I can feel my heart begin to race and my eyes fill with wide eyed fright. “Should I read this?”

“If you want everything to make sense, then yes. But you shouldn’t be scared.” This strange, handsome man pats my shoulder reassuringly.

What the hell? My shaky hands unfold the note, I read it. “Are you going to help me? What is your name?”

“Of course I’ll aid you with your journey. But read what the note says out loud.” This mystery man requests.

“What you know, who you know and the apartment you live in is nothing more. You will be given what you need and who you need. Natalie, you are going to rewrite the past seven days and try to stop a cataclysmic world disaster that will happen in three days from now if you make a mistake.”

The second time I read the note, everything is seeming extremely real. “I can’t do this, sir.”

“You don’t have a choice”, this stranger leans down to kiss my clammy wet cheek.

Oh, his lips are full and soft, so nice. “Fine, I’ll do it, but you’ll have to help me. What is your same?”

“Hmm, my name? Just call me R.J Sanchez. Miss, you can’t fail. Sure, all the odds are against us, but we cannot fail. You shall go about your day as you would have if I hadn’t found you. At nine tonight I will come meet you again and our journey will begin.”

R.J Sanchez is swift and his confidence gives me confidence. When I look in his direction once more, he is gone.

What just happened? Do I believe this shit? It seemed very real, but nothing has changed. It’s still down pouring. I sigh and gather my bearings and turn to walk to the cafe for lunch. But I look around now. There is no one walking the sidewalk, zero taxis in sight, or in earshot, everything is still. The world is empty and silent except for the dreary weather, my intermittent heartbeat and my ragged breathing. Everything I know is nothing more.

My mind processes the scene in front of me. I slide to a sitting position on the sidewalk and begin to violently sob and scream. Nothing absorbs my pain and pointless noise as rain pours upon every surface. Selfishly I realize that I have nothing but my name, the clothes on my body and somebody called R.J Sanchez.

This post was inspired by a nightmare and a rainy day


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