A hundred days divided by one person equals a hundred chances, days that can change your life. That’s just simple math. I must admit that I am lucky. Did I deserve all that I wanted? No , but I still have it. I was never owed the shiny life through hard work or a multimillion idea. I just got it through inheritance, the easy way iPressing the button, the elevator soon stops at the top floor. I insert the keycode 102310 and feel the rush of cold air as I open the door. Marie must have turned the heat off. Hat, scarf, gloves and coat now hung away, I switch the fireplace on and wrap a blanket around me.
Buffalo is having one of its coldest winters, with today having record breaking chill. It was surprising seeing anyone outside except those required. The plows are having a field day, with people working overtime just to keep the roads decent. The lack of people makes the streets look like a ghost town. I cast my eyes toward the window, the snow coming down in large clumps, when I realize that I was staring at a person, their eyes equally locked on mine.
Her back is hunched, her hands clenching a wooden cran. Long, frizzy black hair draped most of her face revealing only a glimpse of deep set wrinkles and piercing blue eyes. She looks like any other old lady except for her clothes. It’s barely fourteen degrees out and she’s only wearing a yellow sundress with no shoes. No one seems to be with her, maybe she’s homeless.
I fish out one of my mom’s old coats and run out the door. I dress into my winter gear, before pressing the button for the lobby. Rodrick is shoveling snow off the hotel’s walkway. He only started working for my father a few weeks ago but he’s already proven himself. Hotel residents adore him and he never complains about the workload. I’ve never actually seen him frown. We exchange a quick hello as I skid across the street. The old women was not there.
She was right here a few minutes ago, did she leave that quickly? I pace a few blocks before returning to Rodrick. There were few people out because of the conditions but the ones that were wouldn’t even imagine the person I described. Rodrick wouldn’t give me a straight answer either.
As I go back up to the apartment, I question why no one has seen her. Maybe they just didn’t come across her. Rodrick must have at least seen her once, he was out all morning. Opening the door, it didn’t take me long to realize how cold it was. Freezing, I try to start the fireplace. The attempt was unsuccessful but it’s electric. The lights are working but not the fireplace? On top of that the thermostat must be broken too so I set up an appointment to get it fixed. In the meantime I try to stay warm with the use of blankets, layers of clothes and tea,
I wrap a thickly knit blanket my mother made and set out putting the kettle on. I take out the loose tea my therapist recommended and placed the honey next to it. Now all I have to do is wait. I trek around my apartment looking for things to do or clean. The place is pretty bare for a place so upscale. Father always tells me to do something with my life but I guess I just can’t find anything worth doing. I can’t or I won’t? I’m lucky, blessed even, with things people would kill for and what do I do? Nothing, always nothing, and I know why. Father says I’m lazy, conceited; there’s nothing I need and nothing I want. So I’m here, the most privileged child with nothing to show for it. I don’t deserve this, I don’t deserve anything.
I lay in bed, looking out the window as it all comes back again. She is staring at me. Her eyes don’t move, the blue of them; they can’t move. The women is the same as last time, wearing the same yellow sundress. Did she come back or never even left in the first place? I can only stand here until she moves. It’s the only way to prove to myself that I’m not...the whistle. Damn, the kettle! I rush to turn the oven off, and sprint back to my room. She’s gone. I check a hundred times but she never turns up again. I don’t want to give up but I have to, I always have to. I make my tea and go to bed to sleep the day away. Waking up at 3 am as usual, I trud to the bathroom, coming back to see a women in my bed.
Hey, how you’ve been? I’m doing well. I try to remind myself that I made the right choice. These one hundred days have been good to me. See, I counted! Still all that matters is that mom supports me. I’ve been helping in the garden and she appreciates that. Georgia’s a pretty place. The heat is something to get used to. So I hope you do well and get that promotion. You deserve it.
I place the letter into the mailbox and bike the way home. It’s funny; here seems more like home than that empty apartment ever will. I get to see my mother too. Sure my father didn’t want me leaving the business but I needed to, and if it took all of this to happen, then so be it. I lock my bike and swing open the door, stopping in my tracks.
“Good your back. Meet Mrs. Cyrus, she just got back from visiting family up north. Even brought back some chorizo-stuffed medjool dates for all of us to share. You want some now? “
I couldn’t hear any of my mother’s words. A yellow sundress and icy blue eyes.