A young girl trying to find her place finds comfort in an unexpected individual.
| Mr. Sanchez of La Brea & Miracle Mile Fashion wrinkled his brow and looked up from his desk at Maeve. Suddenly, deadpan, he said “Well, your designs are good—but they’re not really good.”
Maeve tucked a loose piece of hair behind her left ear, looked at her feet, and then glanced uncomfortably at Mr. Sanchez. His office was small--really small--yet this company was huge. A few months previous Maeve had sent in her designs to La Brea & Miracle Mile Fashion in Los Angeles, and they had called her, requesting an interview. Just getting an interview at this specific fashion company is a huge accomplishment. Even if she didn’t get it, the interview was a great first step. “Look,” she said, “I really want this internship, and I think I would be really good at it.”
Mr. Sanchez rubbed his temples and removed his glasses. There was a small bookshelf behind him, and judging by the condition of the books, Maeve guessed he hadn’t read a single one of them. Her hatred towards Mr. Sanchez and his stupid small office was growing quickly. “You’re just too young,” he said, making large movements with his hands. “Go back to school, come back in a few years, and I don’t see any reason why we wouldn’t accept some of your new stuff.”
She sighed and clenched her fists, her knuckles turning white as they sat nicely in her lap. His office was on the ground floor of the building, “Okay.” As words of anger ran through her head, she stood up slowly and managed to say, “Thank you for the opportunity.”
Walking out of the clear glass doors of La Brea & Miracle Mile Fashion, Maeve hailed a taxi on the sunny California street. On the way to her hotel she vented her troubles to the non-English speaking Arab cab driver. When at her hotel she paid the fare and apologized for her annoyance.
Up in her room, the hotel beds were nicely made, and the housekeepers had left those little chocolate mints on her pillow. She tore open the wrappers, stuffed them in her mouth, and threw herself helplessly onto the bed. Lying down looking up at the ceiling, all she could think about was James. Maeve had met him the previous night at the LAX airport after her flight landed around midnight. She had been anxious about her interview with Mr. Sanchez, so she had stopped for a drink at the airport bar. It was through wiggling her way around the age limit that she had met James, the bartender.
James listened very intently to what Maeve was telling him, and when she was done he offered his opinion. He said, “It’s the pace that gets to you.”
Maeve looked at him questionably.
“You’re what, just out of high school? And you’re already searching for a career. That’s moving pretty fast if you ask me, and the pace is getting to you.
“The pace is not getting to me.”
“Then why are you sitting in a bar in the airport at midnight drinking illegally?”
Well, the next day, after the fate of her internship had been decided, Maeve found herself once again in the exact same bar talking to James.
“She’s back!” he said at first sight of her. “And it’s only 5pm. I’m assuming you’re staying for another seven hours?”
At first Maeve was silent as she took a seat at the bar, but then she said, “I didn’t get it.”
“Oh.” James said, looking down at his feet. “So…vodka tonic then?”
“With a lime.”
“Right. With a lime.”
She looked up at him, watching him make her drink. “You asked me why I’m doing this--why I started so early.”
James nodded and looked at Maeve, waiting for an answer.
“I have to find my place in the world. Why not start as soon as possible?”
James handed Maeve her drink. “You started searching for your place in the world eighteen years ago.” He smiled and leaned in closer. Almost in a whisper, he said, “Your place in the world is wherever you sit smiling a true smile.”
Maeve raised her brow. “How did you get to be so smart?”
“Just a gift I guess.”
James dropped a lime in Maeve’s drink, and she smiled.