Shoelaces and love
|Kate loves her bed. She is in a very intimate relationship with it. It understands her. In the morning, it is always a struggle to get out of bed. The comforter surrounds her in a cocoon, making it impossible to leave it, soft and fluffy against her skin. However, reality beckons and it is time to get up. Oh, how I wish I could stay in bed all day, thought Kate.
She brushed her teeth, washed her face, paused to look at herself in the mirror. Still the same. Nothing has changed. Just getting older. She pinched her cheeks and made a funny face to try to put some life into her. Failed. Oh well, let's get on with it. Breakfast was a simple affair of last night blueberry muffin and a cup of coffee. The one thing in her apartment worth a damn was her coffee machine. Like her bed, she couldn't live without it. Coffee was food for her soul. She could drink it whenever, day or night and still sleep like a log. It's like the caffeine has no effect on her. Her phone started to buzz and beep on the side table. A message appeared on the screen.
"Get your ass over here right now."
"On my way". she typed back. She continue to drink her coffee and savour her breakfast while daydreaming, about another life, where she would still be in bed, snuggling against a handsome guy who was hers. As if.
She signed dreamily and another message beeped at her.
"I mean it. Stop daydreaming and get moving. I know that you are still in your pjs." Kate looked down at herself, at her pyjamas, which was a dark blue T shirt with a unicorn at the front with matching shorts that has the unicorn's rear at the back. Another message interrupted her. "I made your favourite cookies." That was the magic word. Kate immediately finished up the last bit of her muffin, drained her coffee and practically flew to her bedroom. She quickly changed into a pair of cut offs jeans, an oversized T shirt and her favourite Vans sneakers. As it was her off day, she couldn't be bothered with any make up. Just some sun screen would suffice. She grabbed her bag and jacket by the door and locked the door behind her. After saying a quick greeting to Mrs.Hubble next door, who was on her way out as well and Mr.Toby, the friendly security guard, who was already opening the front door for her, she rushed out and turn right, making her way towards the bus station. It was only a few stops to her friend's place. Laura was her best friend, her only friend in the world. They grew up together, graduated together, did everything together until Laura met the man of her dreams and got married. After that, Laura moved out of their shared apartment and moved in with her husband, got pregnant and gave birth to a baby boy named Gabriel. Gabriel is a gem. Kate fell in love at first sight and claim to marry him in twenty years. Jack, Laura's husband choked on the juice he was drinking, in which Laura just laughed out loud and whacked Kate on the head. In your dreams, she told Kate. Yeah, Kate thought, she will just keep dreaming, no problem at all.
The sun was bright and smiling right in her face. Kate rummaged through her bag for her sunglasses, hoping that they were in there somewhere. Suddenly, the sun was gone. Something or someone was blocking her way. She looked up and saw a man standing in front of her. He smiled at her. Kate ignored him and tried to move pass him. He blocked her way. She fake a left and suddenly turn right to get away from him. "Wait!" shouted the man. Kate stopped. Some people passing them also stopped to look at what was going on. She ignored them, turned around and looked up at the man. "What do you want?" She has no time for whatever this guy was up to. The man hesitated and then looked everywhere but at her. She continued to stare at him, waiting for whatever that is going to unfold. People around them slowly lost interest and continue on their way. "Well, if it is nothing, I'm gonna go." She turned around without waiting for a reply.
"I need your shoelaces." a voice said.
"What?" Kate turned back around and looked at the man again. This time, he managed to make eye contact with her. His mouth slowly turned upward into a smile again. "I need your shoelaces." He repeated. "It's very important." The smile was gone and a serious face replaced it. "It means life and death to me. Please help me." He looked down at his own shoes. Kate looked down as well and oh well, what do you know. Not one but both of his shoelaces had broken off in a few places. As if someone just ran a scissors through them. Kate lift both her eyebrows and tried not to roll her eyes. Seriously? This is what is happening to her right now?
"I'm sorry, but I'm kinda in a rush." The man explained nervously. "I'm totally not a psychopath or anything. My interview is in 10 minutes." The words rushed out of him like a waterfall. "There's no time to rush to get new ones. I've been begging everyone who walked by for shoelaces but everyone ignored me."
"Please. I'm begging you. You are my last resort." He closed his eyes and put his palms together, in a praying gesture towards her.
Kate stared at him for a little while longer, took a long breath and exhaled, blowing up her bangs in the process. Oh boy, what am I doing. This is crazy. Before she can regret it, she bend down and quickly start to untie her shoelaces. The man slowly open his eyes, no doubt expecting that the woman in front of him would have bail out on him. He looked down in surprise. Kate adjusted her "new" shoes and handed the shoelaces over to him. He stared at them in his hands, as if he cannot believe that someone actually was helping him, after all the begging he had done to countless people like a mad man. "Break a leg." She then patted him casually on the shoulder and ran towards the bus stop. "How will I return them to you?" The man shouted after her. Kate just waved her hand in good bye and boarded her bus.
Laughter could be heard throughout the whole apartment. Kate bet that someone will be knocking on the front door soon, threatening to call the police if it did not stop. The sound came from her only friend in the world, laughing up a storm while holding her baby boy. Gabriel just laid there in Laura's arms, looking calmly up at her, perhaps wondering why his mother couldn't stop shaking. He looked like he was also enjoying it, his grubby fingers reaching up to grab Laura's hair. Kate just sat at the kitchen table, munching on a cookie, trying to ignore the lady in front of her. After a few moments, Laura finally composed herself. "So, was he handsome?" She asked Kate, prying Gabriel's fingers away from her hair, while making baby noises at her son. Gabriel chortled happily. "That's the first question that pops up in your head?" Kate shakes her head and finished off the last cookie. She have to stop eating. Laura's cookie were going to be the death of her waistline. "What else should I ask? If he was a psychopath, at least he was handsome." Without looking up, Laura reached out her hand to grab another cookie but came up empty. She looked at Kate accusingly. Kate just smiled at her sheepishly and shrugged her shoulders. "Sorry, your cookies are irresistible. That's why you bake them right? For me to come over and finish them."
"Thank you, smarty pants. So did you get a number or something?"
"No, why would I? It was just shoelaces. I can always get new ones."
Laura just looked at her, making Kate feel like a small child. She lifted one of her brows. "So some random guy asked for your help and you didn't think to get his name or even contact number so he can maybe return the favour? Perhaps take you out for a drink or something. It can be like a date."
Kate lifted both her hands as if in surrender. "Wow wow wow there missy. Let's backtrack here okay? How did a date come into the picture? It was just a random kindness to a random stranger on the street."
"You could have made it into something more if you just took the time to talk to the guy."
"What if he was really a psychopath? Huh? Stalking ladies asking for shoelaces just so he can hang it up in his temple of shoelaces at home." Kate got up and took the empty plate to the sink. She rinsed it and put it in the dishwasher. She then walked over to Laura and lifted her arms towards Gabriel. "My turn. Who's your favourite aunt?" She widen her eyes and smiled cheekily at him. Laura passed him over. Gabriel settled calmly in the crook of her arm as if he hasn't a care in the world. This has got to be the calmest baby in the world, thought Kate. She sat back down and slowly rocked her arms from side to side.
"You watch too many thrillers. You need to think outside the box. When a man lands himself in front of you, you have to take matters into your own hands. Be bold. Put yourself out there." With her hands now free, Laura took two mugs out of the cupboard and put them under the coffee machine. The smell of coffee starts to fill the kitchen.
"And you read too much romance. It's not like I am going to see him again. I don't think he is from around here. End of story, Laura."
"We'll see about that." Laura slowly sipped her coffee and winked at her.
to be continued