Luke in the Sky

May 14, 2008
By Kelly Martin, Traverse City, MI

7:20 A.M.
His bloodshot eyes were already open before his alarm clock started it's relentless beeping. He slammed his fist down on the box to turn off the alarm. Luke was not a morning person, nor a night one. His curly hair was matted down on the back of his head, flattened by tossing and turning all night on his perfect tempur-pedic bed. “Bleh, Crab Won Tons”, he said out loud as he tasted the lingering flavor of his unpleasant dinner the night before.

7:22 A.M.
Luke crawled out of bed then jumped right back in as a screeching meow pierced his ears. Just like every other morning, he stepped on the stupid cat's tail. There was nothing cute about this cat; not even it's pathetic name, Petunia. The resident's that lived in this dirt hole of an apartment before left the animal for Luke to deal with. Despite loathing it, the cat’s company was his only relationship he had with anything in New York. He had moved here 5 months earlier to get away from his recent breakup back in Chicago. “Take a step back from this situation and get a breath of fresh air.. It would be best if we took a break from each other.” his ex said as she walked out of their once shared apartment in Traverse City. His breath of fresh air was this musty apartment in the busy city of New York. Ah, Fresh.

7:29 A.M.
He dragged his freckled chicken legs to the shower and turned it all the way to cold. The freezing shower was his only place to think solely by himself. “Call and get the orders from Mr. Hillman for the Thursday meeting at 4:00, turn in the copies of last weeks observation of the interns, get my suit dry cleaned.. S***! I forgot to make that appointment for Mary.” Luke rambled on as he massaged the shampoo onto his head. What did it matter anyway? Luke would get it done, even if it meant taking a few pills to make him alert so he could stay late at the office. Then, the next day he would have an entire list of things to run through again in the shower. If he didn't get it done, he'd simply be fired. No second chances in “the real world”.

7:47 A.M.
He walked out of the shower and put on his wrinkled gray suit as he watched the morning news. “A beautiful day for September in New York. The sun is shining and there isn't a cloud in the sky! It's a wonderful day to walk to work!”, the plastic newscaster practically yelled across the newsroom. The buildings were too tall that the sidewalks made it appear to always be gloomy and cloudy. If it was raining or snowing outside, Luke would walk to work. Who had the extra cash to sit in a car that smells like sausage and catered them to their job? Luke didn't even have the spare cash to buy cereal.

8:04 A.M.
Running, never walking. Late, never on time. Luke brushed other stranger's arms on the sidewalk as he made his way 15 blocks down to the subway. He was running late this morning because his stupid cat climbed out of the window and made it's way over to his neighbor's house. Luke should have left him, but Petunia was his only friend in New York. His briefcase accidentally knocked someone in the arm. “Watch where you're going jacka**”, the crooked toothed elderly woman screeched. “What a lovely lady..”, Luke grumbled under his breath. No time to stop and pretend to be interested in anyone around me. Sidewalk, Subway, Work, Home. Sidewalk, Subway, Work, Home. Sidewalk, Subway, Pills, Work, Home.

8:22 A.M.
The scent of gasoline and sewage was enough to make you queasy this early in the morning. Down by the Subway is where Luke received his entertainment for the day. Bums were jousting with stolen umbrellas, hookers were leaning against trash cans with their black eyeliner smeared on their cheeks, and stiff business woman kept their noses so far in the air that Luke could look straight into their empty brains. Luke sat on a cold metal bench as he waited for the subway train to make its way out of the black tunnel. He already wanted his day to be over. He wanted to lay down in his down comforter bed-the only thing to look forward to in his day.

8:40 A.M.
Luke walked his way up the subway steps as he thought about his college building corridors. He dragged his feet up those steps to get to his dreadful classes. Now he dragged his feet up his apartment steps to reach his dreadful room. Today he dragged his way up to the city to go to the job that he never once loved. The same bum was sitting on the top step like he always was, everyday. Luke read on a cardboard sign written in permanent marker, “When is the last time you talked to God?”

8:50 A.M.
“Pills, I need to pick them up”, Luke thought as he made his way into Rite Aid. A horrible remake of “Ain't no mountain high enough” blared through the ceiling speakers. Luke stood in line, impatiently tapping the lid of the pill bottle to the counter. Luke bought his little savior bottle of Yareeba and slid the tiny bottle into this suit pocket. As Luke walked out the door, he heard a piercing scream. This time it wasn't his cat. The lady standing on the sidewalk was craning her neck up to the sky as tears glittered on the sides of her cheeks. She was screaming at the sight of the plane that was hanging halfway out of the World Trade Center.

9:00 A.M.
8,274,527 single people living in New York, and for the first time you could hear your beating heart pound through your ears and your heavy breaths give way through your polluted lungs. This second was the only time Luke could recall where New York stood still and silent like a clear meadow. Bums and Policemen stood whispering to each other, looking up to the sky for answers as if they were praying to God. This was a horrible accident. This was the only simple answer people could summon up in their boggled minds. Luke dropped his leather briefcase on the sidewalk and ran into the nearest Starbucks.

9:10 A.M.
The same newscaster that was broadcasting how beautiful the day was earlier that morning, was spreading the news of the mayhem that hung in the sky in New York. Her rosy cheeks were now the tinted with shades of green and white. She struggled to speak but could only tremble out the latest news. “Um, United Flight 175 from Boston has crashed into the South Tower at the World Trade Center at approximately 8:46 A.M. This was not an accident; this was an attack.” People gasped and shouted as our newscaster Kara looked straight at the camera, her eyes showing us the state of fear that New York was in. “We have just been reported that the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has shut down all New York area airports.” Luke spun around to see people dropping their coffees on the floor, abandoning their Double Chocolate Muffin’s at their cozy little tables in the corners. Just like down in the subway, Luke walked outside just to peer into everyone’s nostrils as they kept their graze straight up to the sky.

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