She was alone in a sea of people. Despite the close knit fabricated by the bodies, coldness still managed to bite her. She drew her frayed coat closer around her, trying to retain nonexistent warmth. Waiting for the subway was low on her list of enjoyment. She scanned the nearest people around her. Typical. A woman desperately trying to control her crazed children. A bulky man that looked like he could punch the daylights out of her. A young man clad in a suit, gripping a briefcase. Probably business man. Lawyer. Waste his life away in an office. He kept a straight face, because in his world the poker face was a necessity. Already going downhill, but frantically trying to pull his life together.
She blinked. No, his life probably wasn’t anything like hers. Or what used to be of it.
After agonizing minutes, the bullet pulled into its place. Like a herd of cattle, the ocean of people surged forward. Sucked into the tidal wave of boarding, she managed to squeeze through the doors. It would be a fight for a seat, but she was willing to claw her way to one. After today, she needed to sit down.
She mentally checked off what had gone wrong today. Rent was overdue. Job going to ashes. In fact, she hated it. What happened to her dream? It crumbled, and now she was left with the ruins she had now.
She mentally checked off what was going wrong in her life. Boyfriend had put her out with the trash. Boss had recently replaced his heart with a stone. Happiness was like a mirage. Seeing it, she ran full on, but once she arrived, nothing was there. Reality was there. Nightmare?
Pulling her bag on her lap, she fished out a photograph. A younger version of her grinned back at her, enveloped in the arms of four of her friends. Endless memories wove through them, each one stitched together with love. At the end of high school, promises blossomed. Yes, I’ll call everyday! You know we’ll be visiting each other every weekend. Driving up to your school isn’t a problem at all! It was goodbye, just an extended vacation without them. It’s just college. A few miles can’t stop us.
Apparently, distance held more weight than they thought.
A reunion. Proposed by the most creative one out of their group. After six years. To her knowledge, everyone had enthusiastically agreed. Heck, it had felt like a huge weight had been lifted from her shoulders. Maybe, it would be like there had never been an absence. Maybe with everyone back together, her life would pick itself back up and everything would be a blissful ride like it was in high school. Maybe they could fix her.
Friends can’t fix lives. The joy of reunion slowly decomposed to anxiety. All her friends were probably successful. Half were most likely married. Rich, even. Mothers, possibly? Self-consciousness swallowed her. What was she? Poor. Desperate. Failing job. Well, you’ve got it going on. What if they judged her? This question brought forth a new wave of fear that was starting to drown her.
Well, there’s no going back. The subway had kicked her onto the curb of her destination. An up-scale restaurant. She hoped she could afford an appetizer. Who chose this again? Oh yes, mutual agreement. She must have been on something when complying.
Take a gulp of air, she began walking toward the restaurant.
“Look! There... she is...”
“Oh! Um, hey?”
“Wow look at... you!”
Embarrassment slapped her on the face, leaving a blush. This was a disaster. She had fallen since high school. She didn’t belong with these people. They had risen above her. How rude wold it be to turn around and exit? She could say she had forgotten something...
The vision left her mind. Oh, God. What if that happened? She was screwed. If she had half a brain, she would turn around now. Stand them up. Sure.
She pushed the glass door open. One step at a time. One breath at time. She spotted them. Insecure, much? Too late to dash, they’ve spotted you.
Four pairs of arms attacked her at once. They held her tight, their babbling voices cheerfully pecking her with questions. But she didn’t hear them. They still cared. That was all that mattered. They still loved.