“I can’t believe I’m gonna be late,” I mumbled through gritted teeth as I lugged the suitcase down the front steps. The cabbie made no move to help me with my baggage. I silently cursed him and visualized his tip decreasing with each passing second.
“What airline?” the cabbie asked when I finally made it to the curb.
“Delta and I’m late so the quicker we get there, the better.”
The cabbie moved to take my bag and I grabbed my purse sitting on top. A flash of something caught my attention. I turned to my right just as my purse was ripped from my hand. I could only watch as a young boy raced down the street with everything I needed to finally be free.
“You have got to be kidding me!” I yelled. I looked at the cabbie who only shrugged. For a split second, I almost let it go. I could maybe still make my flight. But I had no money and no license. This didn’t bode well. I had put the move off for a year, praying that he would come back to me. It had taken all my strength to let him go and decide to leave the city I had grown to call home.
Before I let myself think twice, I took off down the street after the kid. I would not let this punk ruin my chance at a new life. The streets were practically empty due to the early hour of the morning. The few onlookers we passed just stared in amazement. None of them made a move to stop the little thief.
After a few minutes, I could tell the kid was slowing. I watched as he ducked down an alleyway. I hesitated before following him down the dark passage. Who knew what waited for me down there?
My eyes adjusted to the dim lighting and I saw the child standing in the middle of the alley. He was smiling.
“Kid, just give me my purse back. I have to be somewhere but I could chase you all day if you want to go that route. Just throw it to me and run. I won’t follow you.”
We stared each other down for a few moments. The kid wouldn’t stop smiling. He finally heaved my purse back and threw it at me. I caught it and looked inside to find everything where it should be. When I looked down the alley, the kid was gone.
“Well, that was just weird,” I muttered.
I looked at my watch and knew that I would miss my flight. I groaned before turning back toward home. As I approached the house, I saw my suitcase sitting on top of the steps. The cabbie was gone. I clenched my fists and looked up at the sky. The sun beat down on my face as I waited for the anger to subside.
“It’s just one morning,” I whispered. “It doesn’t mean anything.” I closed my eyes and took a deep breath before turning toward the stairs. I would just find the next flight out and forget about this morning.
I stuck my key in the door and opened it to the empty house. All my things were already on their way to my new home. I smiled at the prospect of my new life as I lugged the suitcase back inside. I pulled out my computer and booted it up. I was rubbing my eyes in exhaustion when the knock came. I stared at the door and wondered who it could possibly be. The knock came again and I walked slowly to the door and opened it.
He was breathing hard and heavy as if he’d just run a mile. He smiled when he saw me.
“Oh thank god,” he said. “I was afraid you’d already be gone.”
I stared at him without speaking. I had made it a year. I had let him go. What was he doing here?
“Annie, please,” he said, stepping into the house and pulling me close. “You can’t leave. Please give me another chance. I can’t live without you anymore.”
I felt my body relax for the first time that day as I melted into his arms and thought of the boy who wouldn’t stop smiling. Through the clarity of retrospect, the obvious conclusion surfaced: things don’t always turn out as planned.
Come Get Sloshed at the Speakeasy!