Chapter 21

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 "Even heroes have the right to bleed." - Superman, Five For Fighting

I stayed indoors all weekend, tidying, writing, and watching. It rained all weekend, sometimes in spurts or an all out downpour. I kept my living room window open all day, staring out sometimes as the pounding droplets bounced off the cement window ledge. Occasionally, water would seep inside and needed to be wiped up, but I never shut the window. I would sit on the windowpane with a notebook and a pencil, just needing to see my thoughts in some sort of permanence, and I'd watch the rain in between scribbles. I thought about how many times I'd been lectured about water, it takes the shape of its container. I wondered if people were water, only doing what they please when no force acts upon them. Mostly, I wondered if I was water.

My promise I made to myself to be productive wasn't exactly met, but it's not about quantity in the beginning phase of a story, it's quality. The prompts I had written had a strange reminiscent feeling to it, something I figured everyone could find their own memories in.

I dressed to go over to Little Black Book Monday, rising at an unholy hour in the morning, showering, blow-drying, and then flat ironing my hair. I dressed slowly as music played from the laptop in the kitchen, so softly I could only hear the melodies, but I knew the words by heart and sang along. The floral dress I wore whipped around my knees as I walked, tickling and causing a strange sensation, making me want to twirl in circles repeatedly. After I made the finishing touches to my outfit, I gathered my things to show Elliot.

I fit Lappie, some random notebooks, and my special folder into my shoulder bag. The folder was just a manila file folder used in office storage, filled with little clips of papers and forgotten ideas. I searched around the place for more; a few sticky notes here and there on the coffee table, a journal I would write in whenever I found it convenient stuffed in a blanket, those kinds of tidbits I leave all around the apartment, adding to its tendency to malfunction.

My bag was heavy and the laptop was charged, I had so many different prompts and ideas to show him, but in the end I knew they weren't all gems. My unofficial deadline for my next book was quickly approaching, and with an expectancy to fade out into oblivion, I was getting more and more anxious to release news that I wasn't going away any time soon. Respect is earned and paid for with hard work, but the price for young, short, blond girls who come from nowhere seems to be much higher. Maybe number six would change their minds, and maybe I wouldn't have to feel like a kid caught in an adult's world, but probably not.

The trip to Little Black Book had become monotonous; get off subway here, toss tissue in trashcan around the corner, feel uncomfortable passing the homeless man who hadn't woken up, yet, and force myself to climb the stairs instead of taking the escalator. After walking through the doors of the skyscraper instead of taking the rotating door like I wanted to, I saw Marissa at the end of the long hallway and was greatly relieved I wouldn't have to stumble upon her in Elliot's office.

I let my eyes glaze over and not really focus on anything as I continued down the stretch of hallway, the boots I was wearing made soft clicks on the white marble floors. I felt Marissa's head come up to look at me, but I refused to acknowledge her existence. I figured the best way to insult her that day, was to pretend I just didn't care. And that in itself, was one of the hardest things to do.

Upstairs the office was in full work mode and the smell of stale coffee lingered from the break room down the hall. I walked past and heard a few squeaky office chairs turn to see who it was, but my new appearance was becoming normal and their glances didn't linger. I reached his door and heard him working on the other side. I frowned and knocked, feeling like a sense of formality was necessary, now. The load on my shoulder was heavy and almost slipped off as struggled to also hold the few things in my hands, I waited for him to acknowledge someone wanted to see him, the padding footsteps coming to the door.

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