Caution, some language may not be suitable for children and most adults.
The tube was still in a tattered state so I had to take a taxi to the shop. Which suited me just fine. I couldn’t imagine myself trapped in the closed encased moving tomb. While we sat at a red light I watched the congested sidewalk packed with people, strollers and dogs. Life out in the streets were crammed thanks to the terrorists. As if traffic in London wasn’t bad enough. Now, we had to endure more foot traffic. I pouted when the taxi lurched forward. I had managed to leave my flat without a single panic attack. For that I gave myself a quick pat on the back. As the taxi pulled over to the side of the road letting me out, I gave myself another pat on the back for not changing my mind. I stood on the curb watching as the little black cab disappeared into the distance and almost instantly I wanted to call Luke. I knew he was busy at work. Paperwork, sorting out things that happened in the tube and I was sure he needed to touch base with his family.
Swallowing hard, I took a deep gulp of breath, then another. Looking over my shoulder at the small shop behind me I wondered for a split second how badly I needed deodorant. Perhaps I could just stop wearing it. While I was at it I didn’t really need razors. I didn’t need to bend to the will of society and shave my legs. I would let myself be au natural. And while I was at it perhaps I didn’t need to wash my hair anymore.
I closed my eyes.
“You are so stupid.” I whispered to myself.
Squaring my shoulders I took a few steps towards the front door. I was a damn American! I imaged a long line of strong American men and women behind me shaking their heads at me for cowering like this. I owed it to them to get into the damn store and buy some fucking razors!
As I walked down the small aisles my heart pounded. So loud that I could barely hear the quiet conversations happening behind me, in front of me or beside me. My mind couldn’t seem to focus on any one thought. I think I sat in this aisle reading the back of the deodorant label six times before I decided to toss it into my hand basket. I rolled my eyes at the daunting task of finding my shampoo. Which, to my horror, they no longer carried. So I had to really concentrate as I chose a different one. Taking sniffs of sealed up shampoo bottles and getting frustrated that the scents were not penetrating through the foil covering the opening, I started to feel overwhelmed. Confusion then started to settle with in me, seething into my veins, speeding my heart up further. I chose the small pink bottle promising to smell like strawberries then proceeded to the checkout.
The lady behind the counter wore her hair up in a half bun, her cheeks flushed from the cold. She smiled at me, and chatted pleasantly while she rang up my items. Little did she know her words were like nails scratching down a chalkboard.
I forced myself to smile.
“Twenty pounds ninety.” she said sweetly.
I handed her my notes without even looking at what I gave her. Looking outside through the opened doors while she counted my change I wanted nothing more than to run into the rain. I didn’t care about the things I was buying, they were just objects. The rain began falling down harder, deepening my urge to take off running. I wanted to be put out of my misery. I wanted to stop looking over my shoulder, as I was doing right now thinking the woman behind me in a over sized trench coat was concealing a bomb.
A sweat broke out on my forehead, I had enough. I grabbed my bags thanked the lady and told her to keep the change.
“But this is close to thirty pounds!” she screamed at my back.
Once outside I felt as though I could breath. Though I didn’t feel any safer, I no longer felt confided. The rain felt cool and refreshing against the flesh of my face. I close my eyes and looked up towards the sky taking in all the rain my small face could handle.
“Get out of the way!” Some guys yells at me in a thick Irish accent. “Nutter!” he says to my back.
I don’t care. I open my eyes after another breath or two then start to walk soft down the sidewalk. My clothes sag against my body. The plastic bags I held in my hand are waterlogged, but the straps hold. They dug into the soft pad of my palm but I liked the pain. It made me feel something other then fear.
When I finally got home I was shaking like chihuahua. Peeling my clothes off I began to feel a bit better. Once I got some oversized warm clothes on I light a fire and sat in front of it. I relished in the heat loving the feel of being too warm. Closing my eyes I closed all the thoughts out of my mind. My apartment was quiet, the windows locking out the noise from outside. I absorbed it like the heat. Loving the feel of not having to worry about anything. Then I started to think about Luke. As soon as the idea of him entered my mind, my phone buzzed on the coffee table.
I grabbed it and immediately frowned.
I want you to meet my parents.
What? I looked at my phone in utter disbelief. Luke had text me the strangest request. I hadn’t seen or heard from him in over two days. He could have started the message off with hello, or how are you, instead of this.
I was so very glad that text messages didn’t emphasis the tone that I had written in that one little word. If he had been in front of me then he would have seen my face was screwed into a scowl, my eyes were narrowed and my lips were pursed. Even as I typed I had said the word out loud in a high pitched shrill.
Sorry, I had to touch base with them regarding the bombing. I mentioned you and now they want to meet the girl who saved me.
I snorted. As I typed my response I pulled my feet up and curled them under me getting more comfortable on the couch.
You saved me
I laughed pulling the covers over me. I didn’t want to admit to myself that I didn’t want to think about that day. I had tried so very hard these past few days in keeping myself distracted. I was doing anything from cleaning my house, multiple times, to jogging. Normally, I liked working out in a gym but the space felt to confided. If I wasn’t in the safety of my own home then I needed to be in open spaces. My phone vibrated and I smiled when I read his response.
We saved each other
When do they want to meet?
I made a mental note to get something presentable to wear. I wouldn’t want his parents to think that I was not well put together. From the sound of Luke’s soft British accent I assumed he came from a family with money. At least middle class.
I was not expecting that! In fact I figured I would have had a ton of time. Wouldn’t they need time off from work. As I started to send him my apologies he replied.
My father is a MP and will need to leave to Brighton this evening. That is why the short notice.
Great! I snorted, his father was a member of parliament. Oh well better dress in my Sunday best.