Every morning, without fail, she hit snooze twice, got out of bed, brushed her teeth while checking Facebook, then jumped in the shower listening to the latest podcast she downloaded the previous night. Her morning routine took exactly 22 minutes to complete before she began putting on the clothes she selected the day before and finishing her look with a quick swipe of moisturizer, nude eye shadow, mascara, and powder. From start to finish, she’s been awake for 46 minutes, give or take the 14 minutes she discounts from her snooze button.
One hour . . . one hour every morning to start the day off right.
Until one morning, it took one hour and fifteen minutes. Those extra 15 minutes were unaccounted for in her routine and meant that things would unravel quickly for Elena. Where they came from was anybody’s guess, but once they were in her routine, there was no going back. It could have been that she missed the stain on the front of her blue cardigan last night when she selected it and needed to switch it out for a red one . . . which caused her to change her skirt, too. Then again, it could have started earlier in the routine when she stopped to watch a funny cat video her college roommate posted on Facebook. Or when she sneezed in the middle of applying her mascara forcing her to start again. The snooze button for the third time certainly didn’t help.
One hour and fifteen minutes to start the day off wrong.
Elena’s first glimpse that something was amiss was on her way to grab her morning coffee. “Why is Shelia in Starbucks? She ought to be at her desk by now,” she thought to herself. She had been avoiding returning any of Shelia’s texts about her annual cook-out honoring her days sober because she found a party without a good bottle of wine to be, well, less like a party. And you can’t very well bring a bottle of pinot grigio to a party celebrating 1,460 days sober. Well, not without feeling like an asshole you can’t. Elena ducked her head down and hurried down the street to another coffee shop. Surely it couldn’t hurt to grab a cup from The Grind. But pushing open the door made her rethink her decision all the while waiting in the queue for a medium latte. No longer just 15 minutes late, Elena began to question her reasons for being a crap friend to Shelia while she blew on her latte and attempted to get her day back on schedule
Since she opted to grab her coffee away from her regular place, Elena had to catch her train a bit further down than her normal stop. Not a big deal, she thought. I’ll just catch the yellow line near Daniel’s apartment. She had seen Daniel two night’s prior for their weekly dinner/date/hook-up, and she knew he was still in town until Friday. Maybe they’d catch the train together and walk into the office arm-in-arm, confirming what most people already thought: that the power duo from acquisitions was also a power duo elsewhere. Rounding the corner near Daniel’s place, however, Elena saw Daniel not arm-in-arm with her but rather tongue-in-mouth with the petite redhead who often waited on them at Henny’s Seafood. Staring at the couple while they mouthed their good-byes and examined each other’s tonsils, Elena couldn’t help but notice that Daniel never kissed her like that. Never grabbed the back of her hair with that much passion. Never once bothered to see her out the door. And when she caught his eye for a brief moment, he never once seemed to care that he had just shattered her illusion of the perfect life. He simply went back to sucking the air out of his charming companion and pushing her a little further into the wall with his body.
Elena’s day – now shot to shit not because of the disruption to her morning routine but because of Daniel’s errant tongue – could have been over save for a text from Shelia: Hey, E, I thought I saw you passing by Starbucks earlier but turns out it wasn’t you. She had on a red cardi and today’s your blue day. LOL. You coming this weekend? It won’t be the same without you. XOXO. S. Elena read the text a few times. Was she that predictable that a friend she’d known for over a decade would assume it wasn’t her based on the color of her sweater? What the hell was her problem? She suppressed the tears that were threatening to fall down her cheek. No sense in adding to her crappy day by redoing her mascara. She texted Shelia back while waiting for the yellow line. I’ve been slammed at work, but I wouldn’t miss the party for the world. What do you need me to bring? Elena scanned the crowd, hoping and praying that Daniel and the redhead wouldn’t be joining her any time soon. Shelia’s reply buzzed in. Nothing. Just don’t bring Daniel. He’s a bit of a dick.
Elena smiled as she read the text, and the 9:15 pulled into the station. She walked along the platform towards an empty car as the train slowed to a stop. Turning around in the car, she saw Daniel running to catch the train. Elena could have put her hand out to stop the closing doors, but instead, she blew Daniel a kiss and flipped him off.
One hour and fifteen minutes . . . and the day was starting to look brighter by the second.