Wednesday morning Garrett entered the hospital, coffee in hand. As he was walking towards the elevator, the door opened and a girl emerged, walking straight into him. Upon the impact of their bodies, his coffee was immediately thrown into the air. In just one second,the hot liquidwas everywhere - on both their shirts, pants, shoes and all over the floor.
"Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry! I just wasn't looking where I was going." The girl looked extremely flustered.
"It's fine," Garrett sighed, rolling his eyes. "Except that now I have to go back to my hotel to change my clothes," he muttered under his breath. "This is just great."
"Well there's no need to get an attitude. It was only an accident after all," she said, apparently trying to ameliorate things. "Like I said, I'm really sorry."
By now several people had noticed the strangers' unfortunate incident. Instead of trying to help clean up the mess, everyone simply stared as Garrett and the strangerfinished their spat.
"Whatever. I'm leaving because I have more important things to do." And with that he stalked away angrily, tossing his empty coffee cup into the nearest trash can.
"What a jerk," Garrett heard one of the observers say..
"Yeah that guy has some serious anger management issues," said another.
Well, it wasn't my fault, Garrett thought.
Ella was soaked to the skin. She had made an effort to be nice and polite when some guy spilled coffee all over her, but he hadn't exactly returned the courtesy. With no dry clothes to change into, she wasn'tin the best mood.
Thankfully, just a few hours later Angie was ready to be discharged. The Tonesdale's house was only a few minutes away so once the ride was over Ella was finally able to change her outfit.
Wow it feels really good to be in fresh clothes, she thought. Why does coffee have to be so gross? At least the jerk was a stranger - Ella definitely wasn't planning on seeing him again. She tried her hardest to think about something positive.
It was almost lunchtime. Ella decided she should make something for her parents.
"Hey what do you guys want for lunch?" she called to her mom and dad, who were watching TV in the living room.
"How about a turkey sandwich for me and some soup for your mother."
"Okay, sounds good. Everything'll be ready in ten minutes."
"Thanks Sweetie Pie."
"No problem Mom." She smiled to herself, remembering her resolution to at
leastattempt tohave a better relationship with her mother.
For the second time that day, Garrett entered the hospital where his grandmother was staying. Thinking back, he realized he had been kind of mean to that girl, perhaps a bit obnoxious; he wondered if his temper had been too extreme. But then again, it was the girl's fault.
Oh well, it's not really a big deal, he thought. Yet now that he was thinking about her, he realized she had been kind of attractive - sort of tall and skinny with long curly brown hair and nice green eyes.
Just then the elevator dinged and Garrett stepped out onto the second floor. He saw the same nurse as before, sitting there talking about "mah baby" on the phone. She looked at Garrett, smiling, then winked.
What a weirdo, thought Garrett as he crept past the woman who had to be at least twenty years older than himself.
"You look nice and awake this morning," came the energetic British voice of his grandmother as Garrett walked into her room.
"Yup, I guess I got a good night's sleep at Dad's hotel. So, how much longer do you have to stay here Grandma?"
"The doctor told me I can leave tomorrow."
"That's great," he responded with a smile. "I guess I'll go back to UMB tomorrow then. Ooh I get to return to all the fun of college," he added, rolling his eyes.
Mary sighed, "Garret, why do you always have to be so negative? Can't you find something, or somebody" - with this she had a little sparkle in her eye - "to make you happy?"
"Hmm, I'll think about it. Why don't I just say, no." Normally Garrett wasn't that sarcastic, but something about today had just put him in a sour mood. "Grandma, you know once you go back home, you'll have to take good care of yourself; and whatever you do, don't break anything else." He figured changing the subject and talking about someone besides himself, might lighten his mood. It actually worked, at least for the time being.
"Sure, I'll be careful... after I put on a bikini and go try to catch some rays. Or maybe I should parachute out of a plane. Don't worry Garrett" - she inserted, noticing her grandson's worried and simultaneouslydisturbed face, "I'm just kidding. Don't take me so seriously. But, I have to admit, I was a pretty hot babe when I was your age. Oh, I wish I were young again. Life was so carefree then - no hospitals or broken hips that's for sure."
"You know Grandma, I never realized how much spunk you have in you."
"Well you'd be the same way if you were 76. Once you get to be as old as me, you have to entertain yourself somehow, or else life'll get too boring."
In spite of his own depressing life, Garrett couldn't help but smile at how happy Mary was. He wanted more of her joy but he just couldn't seem to attain it. He felt so insecure, so confused, and so devoid of joy on the inside. Whenever he tried to tell someone how he felt, he'd just receive the label of an "emo freak" because he wasn't happy enough.
About a week after driving back from the hospital, Garrett's life was back to normal - or at least as close to normal as his life could ever be. For him, normal meant completely dull and boring. It was a rainy Thursday night and his Business Management class was finally over.
Exhausted and devoid of all energy, he sluggishly walked to his midnight blue BMW and drove to his off-campus apartment. Walking up steps to the fifth floor, he realized he was hungry. Remembering the leftover Chinese he had in his fridge, he walked in the door and laid down his umbrella, heading toward his little kitchen. He pulled out the Kung Pao chicken, rice and Lo Mein, and popped everything into the microwave.
Just when he was ready to shovel a bite into his mouth, the phone rang.
© Copyright 2016 Corinne Smith. All rights reserved.