Life, As Is - Chapter 4
Jim was already in the shower at 6:30 that Sunday morning. For the love of God...6:30 on a Sunday morning! I hardly slept at all. Apparently, he was getting ready for his morning bike ride. Why he was taking a shower before his bike ride as opposed to after was beyond me. I didn't ask him about this because, first of all, considering how long we had been together, I should know the answer to that question; second, I honestly couldn't have cared less. As I stretched, I heard the water shut off and a minute later Jim was walking into the bedroom, drying himself off.
"Going to the gym, today?" he asked me. Something about him asking me that kind of bugged me.
I tried not to look annoyed or startled by the question as I told him no and that I hadn't slept well.
"Usually, a workout makes you feel a little better," he replied. "but i guess you should take it easy today. You haven't been yourself..."
"I'm fine." I snapped. I hadn't meant to react in such a way but I was so sick of people telling me that I'm not myself, or acting weird, or acting however they thought I was acting. I had been getting those comments since my trek to 1997 and it was getting really old! However, I had to remind myself that, although I knew I was living a life I knew nothing about, no one else was aware of this. I got out of bed, gave Jim a kiss on the lips and apologized. It wasn't his fault I was in this predicament.
The night before had been awkward. For dinner he fixed us some sort of vegetarian dish that consisted of kale and brown rice. It was as bad as I thought it would be. Apparently I liked spending my Saturday nights reading The New Yorker magazine while he watched nature shows. Although I am a native New Yorker, I cannot stand The New Yorker magazine. I've always found it to be one of the most pretentious publications in existence. I wanted to know what exactly happened to me to make me not only, subscribe to The New Yorker, but also spend my precious Saturday nights flipping through the pages of that self-aggrandizing crap! What had I become?
As I walked into the bathroom to try to wake myself up, Jim asked me, "So if you're not going to the gym today what are you going to do?"
I paused for a second, "I don't know. Why?" It was Sunday, who cares? Something in me couldn't help but feel his question was coming off as a little judgmental.
"Well, I just want to make sure your routine doesn't get thrown off. You've been on a really good streak lately."
"Don't worry about my streak. I'll be fine," I said, then shut the bathroom door. Maybe due to lack of sleep I was feeling a little sensitive. It almost seemed as if Jim was more concerned about me not getting to the gym than my overall well being.
I made my way to the Starbucks where I met with Katrina the day before. As I was getting dressed earlier I received a text from her asking how I was feeling. Although she does come off as a flake, she did seem like a genuinely nice person.
Before leaving the apartment, I glanced at my work calendar for the week. Thankfully, not only had it not been locked with a password, I also had no client meetings or anything else of importance set up for Monday. At least that gave me a little more time to familiarize myself with the drugs I was peddling. I grabbed what looked to be some of the latest pharmaceutical catalogs and made my way down to Starbucks. After making painfully sure my latte was decaf, I sat down at one of the outdoor tables, smiling at the cute barista from yesterday once I noticed he was making eye contact with me.
Nice kid,I thought to myself.
It didn't take long until I was completely bored out of my skull reading through the never-ending blather that I apparently spent at least forty to fifty hours a week pushing. The money must be phenomenal if I've been able to do this for a living for so many years without feeling like I should stick a gun in my mouth and put myself out of my own misery. I had to wonder if the Brianna of this life was honestly happy with how she was living her life...you know, working for Big Pharma, (whom I always believed to be responsible for most of the world's illnesses); drinking weird decaf teas, giving up wine and sugar and eating organic foods that tasted like sandpaper. None of it seemed like Brianna.
Yesterday I Google Earthed the neighborhood and noticed there was a wine bar nearby that had some rave reviews on Yelp. I began toying with the idea of sneaking over there later for a glass of Cabernet when the cute barista walked outside.
"Hey. How's it going?" He asked while wiping down one of the tables. He had dark tousled hair and brown eyes. At first I thought he looked to be in his mid-twenties; but as I looked more closely I could see he was actually in his late teens, maybe early twenties. He reminded me a little of my brother.
"I'm well. How are you?"
He leaned against the chair across from me.
"Ok, I guess." He shrugged bashfully then said, "It's just that I haven't heard from you so...you know."
"Sorry?" I asked.
"Oh, never mind," he said, his face turning red. He looked down at his feet then back up at me. I started to feel bad for him.
"No, no...sorry my mind was somewhere else. Was I supposed to call you about something?"
Now he looked confused. He looked around as if to see if anyone was nearby and said in what was almost a whisper, "Well, you don't want me to call you. You know, 'cuz of your husband and everything."
"Oh...oh, my God!" Now my face was turning red. I think I figured out what I did to keep myself from going insane. This was beyond uncomfortable.
"What...what happened?" He looked around again.
"I'm sorry....um," I glanced at his name tag as I stood up, "Travis. I'm sorry, Travis. I just remembered I was supposed to meet someone. And, I'm late. I will call you, though..." I had no idea why I said that.
"Are you sure? I'm...I'm only asking 'cuz I thought you were gonna call the other day..."
"Sure, sure!" Why was I saying that? I took off as fast as I could while trying not to look like I was running away from him.
Seriously, what kind of person had I turned into in this life?
I didn't want to go back to the apartment for fear of seeing Jim so, forgetting that it was still mid-morning, I walked over to the wine bar only to discover it wasn't open yet. I almost ran to the closest park and sat on one of the few empty benches.
I couldn't believe what I had become. How did this happen? Part of me really didn't want to know. There's no way I could possibly be happy living the life I was living right now. If I was happy, why would I be screwing around with a kid who works at a coffee house while I was living with someone else? And to make things worse, a coffee house right near my home!
This wasn't the Brianna I'd known my whole life.
I pulled out my phone and dialed Katrina but there was no answer. I scrolled through the address book and didn't recognize most of the names stored in there. I suddenly felt I like I couldn't breathe. This was so much more of a helpless feeling than when I went back in time. At least back then I knew who was surrounding me and I remembered who I was at that age. I took a sip of my decaf coffee and took a couple of deep breaths. I scrolled through the address book some more and wasn't sure if I should have been surprised or not by the fact that my own brother's contact information wasn't in there.
As is the case with a lot of siblings, Caelum and I had a love/hate relationship for many years; but when I relived 1997 and he came to live with me and got his act together we managed to bond with one another. I found him one night camped out at my front door after my parents kicked him out of their house. While our parents were on vacation and he was living with them after dropping out of college he - in a drunken stupor - brought someone back to their house resulting in a home robbery. Being the older sister I felt I had no choice but to take him in as no one else in the family wanted him. It all worked out for the best as he ended up getting a full-time job and a place of his own with a coworker. From what I could tell by viewing his profile on Facebook the other day, it looked like things turned out very well for him.
Since I didn't have his number I sent him a Facebook message through my phone telling him to call me, making sure to leave my number in case he didn't have it. I had no idea when we saw each other last; I assumed that since I didn't have his phone number we most likely were not in close contact.
As soon as I sent off the message to Caelum, I recieved a text from Jim asking 'where are you' with three question marks. Three question marks? Really? I couldn't shake the feeling that there was something "off" about my relationship with Jim.
Instead of texting him back, I dialed his cell.
[To read chapter 5 click here: http://hubpages.com/literature/Life-As-Is-Chapter-6]
(c) 2014 Brenda Thornlow
Brenda Thornlow was voted one of the 50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading for 2015. She is the author of the new fiction series My Life as I Knew It; the short story, The Revolving Door and A Godless Love. Available at Amazon. (Link below)
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© 2014 Brenda Thornlow