I hung up the phone and rushed out of the office, leaving Kevin standing there expectantly. Terri looked at me with the skillful I-told-you-so expression she has cultivated over years of working in an office. She had, in fact, told me so.
“I know, I know,” I said as I ran by her desk. “You told me I forgot something today. You could have at least told me what.”
“Oh, no,” Terri said, jotting something on a sticky note and smoothing it onto the edge of her desk in her own form of intra-office communication. “I wouldn’t dare. You informed me in no uncertain terms that you hadn’t forgotten anything and that you couldn’t possibly have missed anything in the first place because today was the day you were working on the fundraiser and interviewing for the open position.”
I glared at her from where I stood in front of the world’s slowest elevator.
“I really hate you sometimes. ”
“I already have you listed as taking a personal day today.”
“I love you.”
“The stairs are faster.”
"Kevin, we"ll have to reschedule!" I shouted.
I turned and ran further down the hallway toward the door to the dark, narrow stairs that wound down the back of the building. I always thought this staircase seemed to have been built with the clich" climactic chase scene common in horror movies in mind. I hated the stairs and only used them when absolutely necessary. More often than I would like to admit, I would be running late and sprint down them so fast I would lose control, trip, and end up on my ass with my skirt pushed up around my waist.
Like right now. Shit.
I scrambled to my feet, pushed my skirt down, and burst out of the stairwell into the parking lot. I berated myself the entire way across the pavement to where my car was parked in the far corner. I had started parking as far away from my building as possible to try and get some extra exercise during the day, a decision I was really regretting at this moment. How could I forget this appointment" It was the only thing Thea had been talking about since she managed to snag a coveted slot in the months-out reservation window that was usually imposed by the boutique. It was the only reason she had flown into the city this weekend. Maybe if she had let me pick her up from the airport and bring her to my apartment the night before instead of insisting on staying at a hotel because her flight came in so late, I would have actually remembered this morning. Maybe we could have hung out and had brunch together somewhere before the appointment. Too late for that now.
What could have made me so freaking flaky that I forgot something this important"
As I got into my car and skidded out of the deck, I realized that I knew precisely what had pushed the appointment out of my mind. There was something else occupying that space, and if I was going to get through my responsibilities as maid of honor, I really needed to get over it. I had to. I had been preparing for this event my entire life.
I had also prepared to live out my adult years in a town where cars could actually make their way down the street faster than the pedestrians could, but that was all blown to hell when I impulsively decided to move to New York less than two years ago. I had adjusted fairly well to my new life during that time, but I still wasn"t comfortable driving in the congested, gridlocked city streets. I could feel time ticking past me and felt like the wheels of my compact car had barely moved an inch, even though I had been sitting with the throng of other vehicles outside of my office building for several minutes. Finally, we started moving, and I was feeling hopeful, only to slam on my brakes a few seconds later.
Frantically, I looked around, trying to identify the source of the delay, even though I knew there probably wasn’t one. An image of Thea standing outside of the boutique, her hopeful, love-filled eyes getting progressively sadder the later I was, suddenly flashed in my mind and I knew this wasn’t going to work. I spied a parking garage ahead of me and willed the traffic to move forward enough that I could turn in. When the cars ahead of me inched forward, I accelerated and made a death-defying turn, screeching into the structure and spiraling through the levels until I found an available spot. When I did, I ran back out of the garage, around the corner, and down a block before I started flailing my arms to get the attention of a cab driver.
Some people hail a cab. I flail.