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The first time we crossed paths, I didn’t really notice him. It was only my second week in the city, so it was all still sinking in.
I was buying my first frappucino in New York at the Starbucks near my apartment. It was a normal day, I guess. I have to say, though, the guy who handed me the coffee was pretty cute. His dirty blond hair was slightly messy, and his eyes were the same color as a Hershey’s chocolate bar. The nametag on his shirt said, Hello, my name is TODD.
“Hey,” He said.
“Hi!” I replied, practically fainting. “Umm…,” I stared blankly at him. That’s me, always great at small talk.
“So uh… See you around,” TODD said.
“Yup,” I could feel my face begin to turn red. I quickly shuffled out of the store.
I didn’t think about that encounter again for a while. I was too caught up in the whole reason I flew all the way from Colorado to New York City. I wanted to be a writer for one of the funniest shows on TV, Saturday Night Live. So far, that wasn’t going so well. I was still looking to write on smaller shows, so when people hear, “Sarah Patterson” their first reaction won’t be, “Who’s that?”
I was walking by myself back to my apartment after I had had dinner with some friends. I was kind of pondering how I could really get my career going, and, well, I kind of spaced out in the middle of the road. So of course, I didn’t exactly notice the taxi cab COMING RIGHT AT ME until it’s headlights were glaring in front of me. The taxi was speeding closer and closer, and not knowing what to do, I closed my eyes and braced myself for the impact. Someone grabbed my arm, and I fell to the ground. I could feel the wind as the car sped past me.
“What do you think you were doing?! You could have gotten yourself kilâ€”” my rescuer looked down at me angrily, but then a look of recognition spread across his face.
“Wait a second. Didn’t I see you at work today?” He put his hand through his gorgeous dirty blond hair.
“Um… Yeah… I think you did... I’m kind of new around here,” I said shyly, looking away from him.
“Oh. Well, I’m Todd,” he said, offering me his hand. I grabbed it and he pulled me off the pavement.
“I’m Sarah,” I wiped the dirt off my jeans, suddenly becoming more self-conscious than usual.
“Maybe I could show you around sometime,” he said, “I’m off from work tomorrow, so if you wanted to see Times Square or something I could go with you. Y’know, to make sure you aren’t hit by any cars,” Todd grinned.
“Ha ha. Fine. How about I meet you in front of the Starbucks tomorrow?” I replied.
“Sure. See you tomorrow,” He waved and walked away. I sighed contently. So what if work wasn’t going so well? This is definitely just as good.
The next morning, I turned the corner and saw Todd waiting dutifully in front of the store. He wore jeans and a gray sweatshirt, which was strange, considering it was over seventy degrees out today. On his head was a Boston Red Sox hat, turned slightly to the side. I laughed,
“I’m surprised no one’s beaten you up,”
“What are you talking about?” he asked incredulously.
“Your hat! Aren’t we in Yankees territory here?” I began to feel dumb, and I started to think maybe I was wrong. But Todd laughed and smiled. Our day continued on like this for a while, and Times Square was the most fun I had had in a while. But what sticks out in my memory most from that day is what happened when he was walking me back to my apartment.
Todd yawned and stretched his arms in the air. His sweatshirts sleeves dropped down just a bit, but enough that I could see marks on his wrist. I gave him a befuddled look, and he looked back at me, puzzled. I gasped.
“What’s that on your wrists? Todd? Are you okay?”
“It’s… Nothing. Don’t worry about it, Sarah,” He shoved his hands into his sweatshirt pocket and looked away. The way he was reacting to my questions was starting to scare me. I think he could tell, because he said,
“Look, I’m just kind of… confused right now,” We walked in silence for the last few steps.
“Promise me you won’t jump off any buildings or anything when you leave, okay?” I said, only half-kidding as I reached the door to the lobby.
“I think I can resist,” he said. There was a slight smile on his face as he opened the door for me. I smiled back and he waved and left.
Once I reached my apartment, I plopped down onto my bed, exhausted. I leaned over the side to my table where I keep my rabbit’s cage. I unhinged the door and scooped out my adorable bunny.
“Hello, Princess,” I said, putting my face in her white fur. Princess is short for Princess Nudelqueen. My younger sister named her. I don’t think I’m “creative” enough to come up with a name like that.
“People are so complicated,” I sighed, “Too bad humans aren’t like rabbits. Everyone would just be tired, or thirsty, or hungryâ€”Oh whoops! I forgot to feed you!” I smacked myself in the forehead and fed Princess N. I was sound asleep within minutes.
A few days later, Todd and I were walking to Central Park together. It was a gorgeous day; there were hardly any clouds, so the sun shone brightly and a slight breeze danced through the air, keeping us cool.
“So… You ever been to Central Park before?” Todd asked me.
“Nope! This’ll be my first time,” I replied.
“It’s pretty coâ€”Oh crap! Sarah, watch out!” He pulled me to the other side of the sidewalk, and I turned just in time to see Todd splattered by a huge glob of black paint.
“Uh… Sorry!” A short, stout, and balding painter with a thick Italian accent yelled from above us.
I started cracking up, and Todd’s face turned tomato red under the splotches of black paint. He flicked some of the paint at me, and I squealed. He chuckled,
“So much for that idea. Well, there’s always tomorrow!” We obviously couldn’t go to the park like this (Or else we would look like a couple of lunatics), so we exchanged goodbyes and walked back to our apartments.
He lied though. When Todd said, “There’s always tomorrow,” he was lying. There wasn’t a tomorrow for us. Even though he was able to save me from a speeding car, I couldn’t save him from himself.