Angie Lyst stared at herself in the bathroom mirror as she wiped away the streams of tears that flowed from her eyes like small, sad rivers. She glanced at her watch and her bottom lip quivered slightly in the yellow glow of the bathrooms light bulb. A small rubber duck witnessed the scene with a complacent smile on its beak – seemingly uncaring and cold to Angie’s feelings.
“Ok…you gotta go to work now, Angie lyst. You have to.” She drew in a deep breath and tried to stop crying. It was harder and harder to get out of the house each day. She thought that one day she might not even be able to leave. She’d be some strange, shut in type they’d eventually find after complaints of the smell.
She barked out a laugh and shook her head violently. “Ok…come on. Time to go. Just go and get it over with. You’ll be fine outside.” She swatted the rubber duck off of the sink with the back of her hand, turned and stomped out of the bathroom.
She had to act without thinking. That seemed to work best. She strode t the front door, snatched up her purse and keys, then gripped the door handle hard and turned it. A moment before she jerked the door open, she glanced down at her naked form and released the handle like a hot coal.
“Clothes.” She blinked.
The bright blue daylight streamed through the windows of the Express Café as Angie and her friend Sonnie Fong sipped their coffee in the window seat. Angie stared around the café with a blank expression and toyed with a dime – rolling it around her fingers and palm. Sonnie chattered like a bird, but Angie didn’t mind. Not today. Made it easier not to have to talk.
“So, I just looked at him and said that he better just shut up and put the DVD on before I put my clothes back on, you know? He always pushed it.” She sipped and glanced over at two hipsters who stared back with smiles on their faces. “Eavesdroppers,” She said with a growl as she tossed her shining black hair at them. “So, what’s up with you? You were late again. Ron was grumbling about today. You better watch it.”
“Yeah.” Angie nodded and looked at Sonnie and her perfect skin, eyes, hair, and outfit. On top of all that, she was sweet, cute, friendly, helpful and nice. If Angie didn’t know her so well, she’d hate her. “I’ve been having issues. Just tired, I guess.” The dime dropped to the table and Angie stared at it a moment before picking it back up and rolling it though her fingers again.
Sonnie nodded. “More sleep. Or, more coffee. Something. How’s Stanley?” She looked back over at the hipsters and re-crossed her long legs. She loved the attention and loved hating them for looking. When Sonnie looked back over to Angie, the dime was gone.
Angie swallowed hard. “He’s fine.” She took a sip of her coffee and sighed. “He’s trying.”
“He’s always trying.” She glanced at her watch. “We should get back to work.” She gulped the last of her coffee and stood, making a show out of straightening her skirt and blouse.
Angie crawled up out of her seat and swept her copper red hair back over her shoulders. “Ok…let’s get.” She took two steps and smashed her leg on the table. Her balance lost, she stumbled two feet to the right and flipped over the table there, sliding the three glass coffee cups and their contents to the floor.
Angie sprang up and held her hands out before her. “Ok…ok...” she muttered as if trying to stop two children from fighting. “Ok, yes. Sorry about that. Sorry.” She laughed out loud when she saw the three shocked faces staring at her. It was rather funny, even though she was the cause of the chaos.
A team of Express Café workers dove into action, asking is Angie was all right and trying to see if there was any legal recourse that could be avoided. Angie begged off, thanked them for their concern, then she walked out quickly before anything else could happen.
Sonnie stared Angie all the way up in the elevator. Concern showed on her face and she didn’t seem to believe Angie when se told her everything was fine.
“You’re a wreck. You should deal with this stuff before it gets worse, you know.” Sonnie touched the cuff of Angie’s coffee soaked sleeve. “Nice.”
Angie glanced at it as the doors opened. “It’ll clean up.” She stepped out of the elevator and into her boss, Ron Marks.
The two bounced off each other and regained their footing – each looking the other up and down.
Marks was obviously annoyed and used this as a springboard. “Angie…hello. How are you?” He didn’t wait for an answer. “I was looking for you earlier, Angie. I really need to see you in here at 9am. We have a lot going on right now and you showing up and 10 and 10:30 just isn’t going to work, ok? Can you make it in by 9? Maybe car pool or get an earlier bus? It’s really important. We have to present a unified front to Kaufman and Clain and not knowing where you are or when you’re going to be in makes it tough. Ok?” His freckled face winced and he rubbed his chest where Angie’s elbow had hit it. He blurted out, “Are you ok?”
Angie blinked, beads of sweat appearing on her forehead. The office noise filled her head. She looked to her feet, then she looked up again up again choking out, “I have a dime in my body right now.” She pointed to her stomach.