“Taxi!” raising my hand to fetch a cab because I am running late. I normally walk, but I may or may not have enjoyed myself a little too much last night, hoping the Yankees-Red Sox game would happen, despite the stormy forecast. “Sweet,” giving a little fist pump, I never get a cab this quickly in the morning. It’s so nice today, how could it have been a shitty day yesterday? BEEP BEEP! I love this town and hate it at the same time. If I had a dollar for every time I had almost been hit by a taxi I would be a rich man, or would at least break even from the night before.
“Where you headed to?” asked the cab driver.
“Starbucks at 250 Vesey Street,” I yawned.
As I complain to the taxi driver about last night’s rain delay and my lack of effort this morning he shows no empathy and just like a one night stand he sends me packing at the end of our date.
“12.50,” he barks.
“Alright,” jesus thats a beer and a dog at the stadium.
This part of the financial district is always crazy in the morning. All I can hear is the “Beep Beep” from the cabs all around me. It’s almost as if someone is trying to get my attention every second.
Sadly enough, I walk in and I am greeted by the Starbucks employees. They have seen me at my best and my worst, and well, lets just say they know what today is.
“Henry we going with the usual today?” asked Jennifer, the barista.
“ Hmm let’s do the usual, but put two shots of espresso in there for good measure”
“Hung over today?” she asked with a smile.
“Maybe, there was no baseball game last night, but let’s just say my team still loss,” I sighed.
Looking down at my watch I realize its 8:00 am, shit I took a cab and I am still late. Walking in to work, shoulder-checking everyone walking the opposite direction for 3 blocks I finally reach the revolving doors.
“Henry!” the security guard yells.
“T Dog!” I screamed across the lobby.
I have seen T Dog five days a week for about 6 years now. Most of our exchanges last just minutes, but he’s probably the one who knows me best in this big town.
“T Dog, hows the little one liking the baseball?” I asked eagerly.
“Man, he’s ok, he’s diving around like Jeter every chance he gets though,” he explained with a grin.
“Ahhhh, no worries he’s just a kid. He’s enjoying getting those clothes dirty, I’m sure.”
“ Yeah, your probably right, driving my wife insane though with all those grass stains,” he shrugged.
“ I bet, lemme know when Joe Torre starts callin’,” I joked, “I’ll catch ya later man!”
“Yep I’ll see ya man,” he waved.
Oh nothing makes me feel like a piece of cattle like piling in the elevator hallway trying to get up to the office. I always give out a good MOOOO for humor as everyone starts to file in.
“Ding!” the elevator next to me rings, This is my lucky day.
“Where ya headed?” John, the elevator operator asked.
“Well, you know you have to go to 78th sky lobby, then go up to 80th on a different set of elevators right?” he called out with his back to me.
“Yes John, it’s Henry, I see you everyday.”
“Well Henry why didn’t you say so?” he smirked, “we got a Red Sox fan here people!”
All the Yankees fans turn and look at me in complete shame in response to this common alert, To hell with them.
Beep Beep! Man I hate that cell phones are everywhere these days, it’s like a constant alarm. I am pretty sure John hates it in the elevator to.
“ 78th floor Sky Lobby,” John turns and winks at me.
“I got it, I got it,” I give a half-hearted wave of gratitude.
Looking at the clock I realize its already 8:43. I can’t believe this, I am actually going to be fifteen minutes early.
“Ding!” elevator time again.
“Ryan, my man!” we embark on the “bro hug”, you know what I am talking about, the half hug half close quarters hand shake that causes people to stare and smirk. They are just jealous.
“80th floor I presume, my fellow sox fan?” he laughs.
“ You bet ya.”
“ Take it easy Sox,” Ryan calls out behind closing elevator doors.
Without a chance to respond, the elevator starts its way up to the remaining floors. After the door closes behind me and not a second later I hear a big bang and the building shakes. I can’t make out what’s in front of me. All I see is white smoke, what is going on? Haze. I am hearing screams but I can’t see a thing. In a panic, I move blindly towards the stairwell. Whats going on? I start running down the stairs and all I hear is Beep, Beep, Beep, Beep from the smoke alarms. I get to the 79th floor. I trip and fall, but no one is behind me. Beep, Beep, Beep. I stumble down the stairs, gaining no ground, the chaos of the moment is getting to me, calm down Henry, breath, keep moving, don't stop.
Beep, Beep, Beep. The alarms are so loud. They are getting louder. Beep, Beep, Beep. I fall to the ground again. White. Batting my eyes, I hear the Beep, Beep, Beep. My clock cries its 7:35 alarm and it has happened again. Turning off the alarm, I cant believe they are gone and I am still here, switching to radio mode I hear the weather forecast. Rain.
Hello, and good evening everyone. Grab a chair sit down and allow me to vent. My mother is gay, I remember the day I found out. After 25 years of marriage her and my father had split, and everything around me seemed to lose traction. In the last year and a half, I have returned to the class room with an unimaginable focus and dedication to my academics. In this journey of studying social justice theories and structural oppression and relating them to my own life have led me to a point of reflection. I was sitting in front of members of a club that myself and another person had formed to help spread equality and understanding and passion for everyone's views. I recall telling them that I have came to the conclusion that however betrayed I felt by mother I never truly understood the sacrifice that she had made in order to be herself. It took me 10 years to be able to say that about my mother and it surprised me that it was in front of individuals that I have only known for about 7 months. After the words came out of my mouth I was rushed with emotion (its hard to hold it back now) Moral of the story is, I respect my mother for the decision she made at that point in time in my life. And I am extremely proud to call her my mother and a great friend. She sacrificed everything that was "her" for 25 years in order to be herself at the age of 43. I don't know if you'll ever read this mom but I love you. I am sorry it took so long to be you. I Love you
I've been wanting to write this story for a while, but I can't find the one picture I have of it. Oh well, when I find it I'll just add it on to the end.
Full from dinner, we get into the elevator as we always do. The rumor is that the more likely one is to cause trouble, the higher in the dorm you're assigned. The first year I was put on floor four. The next, floor 24. I guess you could say that we became acquainted.
As the elevator brings us closer to our dorm we notice that the hatch in the roof of the elevator appears to be unlocked. We push the hatch open and stare at the dark above us.