“Bad news isn't wine. It doesn't improve with age.” - Colin Powell
There are many reasons why going to see my publisher was never a fun outing, some of them being the location, how I had to make myself look, and lastly the looks I received. No matter how successful I would become, or how much money I made for the company, they would always look at me like some stupid teenager trying to sell them another manuscript.
Which was why I tried to keep my appearance up, wear fancy office clothes and do something to make my hopeless hair look kept up. I had to wake up earlier in the morning just to make it to the office early enough, it was farther into the city than where I lived. So, I dolled myself up only to be put under the torturous ride of the local subways. Because it doesn't matter how good you look when you get on, you'll still look like you've been riding a horse for a couple of hours.
Sometimes I wonder if there was a rat in my apartment that would nest in my strawberry blond hair at night. I brushed out the waves so it lay down, still with the uncharacteristic volume that you never see in any magazines. I pulled the feathers I had stuck in it back so they were somewhat hidden. I loved them, the stuffy workers didn't. My black pencil skirt was in its usual state, straight and just as uncomfortable as the heels I'd bought to wear with it. After pairing it with a white blouse, I was ready to make the trip into the jungle that is inner New York.
I boarded a subway, avoided the stares of everyone else on it and tried not to think about how badly the seat next to me smelled. Just being in that place made me impulsively clean my glasses over and over again.
In my fancy business wear no one recognized me, a huge relief. I spent my ride reading a book I'd grabbed from my own personal library. I dove into it somewhere in the middle, I'd lost count of how many times I'd read it, anyway. After so many times I just end up reading my favorite parts.
I avoided touching anyone around me as I got off the subway, squeezing lastly through the door as it was about to close. Since my strategy is non-confrontational, I'm always stuck in those kinds of situations. At least the door didn't catch onto my mane. Again.
I stalked off away from it, slowly climbing higher onto the surface streets. I could smell the rain in the air, a storm that had only just passed. Such a smell used to be my favorite; I dreamed of dancing in the rain in my favorite dress, I put it into one of my books. But being in New York had ruined the smell.
Living out in a small town for 18 years of my life, I'd become accustomed to the wide open space, the breeze that carried the smell of rain easily and how it smelled like rose dew and my wildest dreams. The close-knit buildings of New York smelled nothing like real rain. It was stingy, humid, and hinted to muck. It wasn't my rain. I hated when it rained in the city, it ruined my memories of what it should smell like. Back when my mother and I would watch it pour into the wee hours of the night, only seeing each other's faces off the glow emanated from the bolts of lightning. We used to make a guessing game at how many inches came down. City rain wasn't mine and I didn't like it.
The humidity didn't do me any favors, either. My hair was coiling and I could feel it, I stepped quicker towards the looming skyscraper that housed The Little Black Book Publishing Company. The Broadway font of its business sign stood out in bold, black letters on the streets. I stepped inside of it, feeling the same nerves I had on my first day. The feeling that everyone's eyes are on you set in. Kind of like when you're walking down the street and trip on air, landing embarrassingly on your face. When you get up and look around, you don't see anyone watching. But, you know they secretly are. That's how I felt whenever I walked into the building. The day I do trip on nothing will not be easily forgotten.
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