The Expectations of Life

June 21, 2013
She was running at full speed down the block, cognizant of nothing but the time. The time, oh the time. It was 8:37, and she had an appointment at 8:45 with seven blocks to go. Great. This morning had so not gone as she had planned, let alone the night before at her sister’s party. To start off the most important day of her non-existent life, she had woken up an hour late, spilled coffee on her coat and to top it all off, forgotten to lock the apartment door behind her. So now, she was hurtling down the sidewalk of Tremont St. with five inch heels on and her green tote bag. She rounded the corner onto Huntington Ave., and slam! She fell backwards and landed hard against the concrete, the contents of her tote bag upheaved. She heard a low groan in front of her and opened her eyes.

“No!” She said, looking at her papers strewn everywhere. She stood up despite her severe dizziness and began picking them up frantically.

“Oh, god! I’m so sorry!” Said a voice with a heavy accent. She didn’t turn to see the person, but cursed him under her breath.

“I’m Chris.”

“I’m late! You should really watch where you’re going.” She said, picking up the bag.
“You’re not wrong about that.” She finally turned to meet him. He was tall, she noted, with friendly eyes and a dusting of whiskers framing his face. Most people, well, most girls, could probably consider him hot. But she didn’t have the time to be burned. He handed her the papers and craned his head, noticing the letterhead.
“Harvard?” He asked.

“Med school. I’ve got an important interview this morning.

“Sorry again.” He said, and meant it. She gave him a half smile and shoved the papers back into her bag. She was coming off ruder than she wished to.

“It’s alright. Besides, it takes two to run into each other.” She said, looking down at her shoes. “I’m Bri, by the way.” She said and proceeded to walk down the street, the smallest hint of blush on her cheeks. When she was almost at the corner, she turned, and their eyes met for a split second before he crossed the street.

It was a bright morning, I noted as I pulled my sweatshirt on. Last night had been a blast, even if I was still reeling from my hangover. I needed coffee. Unlike some unfortunate drinkers, I lived less than a block away from the best coffee shop in New England; Austen’s Brew. It’s not like I drink a lot, I actually barely drink at all, but hey, a girl only turns 24 once. On top of that, I had passed the exams yesterday and had begun my final semester at Yale. I glanced at the phone before walking out the door, wondering if I should call her before or after the interview. After. I took the steps two at a time and opened the doors of my apartment building with a flourish, welcoming the beautiful Friday. It was mid-spring, which is the best time of the year, because the cozy heat of the summer is slowly creeping up, and everything is turning green and healthy again. It was early, so only a few people were out, most walking their dogs. I opened the door to the shop and inhaled the comforting scents of fresh coffee beans and straight-from-the-oven bagels.
“Hey Jane.” I said to the redhead behind the counter. Me and Jane had been friends since college, and we barely see each other anymore.
“Hey, Sam! Want your regular?” She asked.
“Yeah, but put a little extra kick into it.”
“Still recovering from last night?” I laughed and she smiled, disappearing under the counter.
“Order number ten’s ready!” She called out and placed a cup of coffee down. “Sam, can you help me with something back here real quick?” Jane called from behind the counter. I nodded and walked through the door to the back.
“Can you put these up front at the bar for me?” She asked, rummaging through one of the cupboards, coming up with a fistfull of straws.
“Sure.” I turned and pushed open the door. The next thing that happened confused me for a second, but then I groaned, realizing the only logical explanation. I looked down at my sweatshirt which was now covered in warm brown liquid.
“I’m so sorry!” I looked up and met a pair of pale blue eyes. I looked down a little and saw a red tee shirt, and then a pair of jeans and then a pair of black converse. I looked all the way back up to see the guy’s face, and I have to admit, it wasn’t an eyesore. I snapped back to reality, the coffee having seeped into the tank top now.
“Um...should I get some napkins or...”
“You know what? It’s okay, my apartment’s less than a minute down the road.” I can’t think straight with him looking at me! But then again, he’s not looking at me, he looking at my coffee-soaked sweatshirt.
“Really, I’m so sorry.”
“It’s okay!” I said and laughed a little, which probably sounded weird. What the hell. His coffee cup was on the ground and he turned to grab a bunch of napkins, mopping it up. Realizing they were still in my hands, I put the straws on the nearest table and turned back to the guy.
“I’m Tom.” He said after throwing away the sopping wet napkin bunch.
“Sam. Nice to meet you.” I stuck out my hand, which of course was weird and stupid, but he shook it anyway.
“Do you come here a lot?” He asked.
“Yeah, Jane and I have been friends for years.”
“That’s great. Most of my friends are back in England.”
“So that’s the accent.”
“Better be careful, lots of girls go for the british guys.” Again, stupid and weird.
“Let’s just hope it’s the right one.” He smiled and walked over to pay Jane, who handed him a new cup of coffee.
“I’ll see you around.” He said and walked out the door. Jane leaned over the counter and raised her eyebrows at me, a mischievous smile spreading across her face.
“Let’s just hope it’s the right one? And British! Good fishing, Sam. I’ll give it two days time before he asks you out.”
“Shut up.” I said, trying to hide my smile as I walked out the door.

“Over here, Caleb!” I yelled to my friend. It was a stormy day, but rain was the best weather to play futbol in. Caleb punted the ball right to me and I easily headed it to John, who chested it to Mike, who passed it back to me. The four of us always got together on Tuesday mornings to play futbol in our favorite field down by Mill Pond. There was always the occasional passer-by, but today there was only one girl sitting on a bench with a notebook, a good fifty feet away. She was probably a Cambridge student, seeing as how campus was barely a half mile down the road. We all went to Cambridge, but spend most of our free time here. I looked over at the road for a minute to see if anyone was passing by, which was probably the biggest mistake I could have made.

“Alex!” Mike yelled, but it was too late as I caught a glimpse of the ball fly past me. I turned and, to my own horror, saw as the red and blue Barcelona ball hit bench-girl square in the face. Her notebook went flying out of her hands and she lost her balance, falling backwards off the bench.

“Be back in a sec.” I yelled back to the guys without looking back and jogged over to the bench. Looking over, I saw her lying in a heap on the grass, cupping her nose with the palm of her hand which was already smeared with blood.

“I’m so sorry!” I really couldn’t think of anything else to say, but at least I meant it.
“It’s okay, wouldn’t be the first time i’ve been clocked with a soccer ball.”
“You’re american?” I asked.
“Yeah, moved over for Cambridge.” I rounded the bench and pulled her up, noticing the full effect of her bloody nose.
“Is it broken?”
“No, probably just bruised. It was a powerful pass, though.” She said and laughed slightly. I know this’ll sound really cheesy like something a guy would do in a chick flick, but I pulled off my sweatshirt and handed it to her. I guess it wasn’t all bad, seeing as how I was still wearing a tee shirt underneath it.
“Thanks, but you really don’t have to.” She said and tried to hand it back, but I pressed it against her nose. Now that I was looking at her, she was actually kind of beautiful with long chocolate hair and dark eyes, short and curvy, but not overweight. Her skin was an olive tone with a couple of what looked like words scribbled in ink along her hands. It was a cold day, so she was bundled up in a Cambridge sweatshirt and jeans with those boots that all the girls in America were raving about; ergs? uh’s? icks? I couldn’t remember. Thankfully, her hair was pulled up so the blood wasn’t getting into it.
“Do you live close by?” I asked.
“Yeah. I was heading home anyway, so i’ll just bandage it up there. You should go back to your soccer game.” She said, nodding towards my obnoxious friends who were, very unceremoniously looking her up and down like a soccer jersey.
“Are you sure?” It seemed like she was letting me off too easy, like there was a catch or condition coming.
“Yeah, you guys looked like you were having fun. I have to get ready for class anyway. I’m Charlie, by the way.”
“Alex.” She gave me a sweet smile and grabbing her notebook, turned and walked up a little red car.

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