There have always been two voices of the society telling us how we are supposed to be, a first voice telling us,” Be Yourself” but the second voice telling us Be yourself but not up to the extent of sliding off from the usual norms of the invisible rules that the society has set.
We can be what we want, break the rules or stay inside the bubble, the norms which society have established for us. I am one of those that always try her best to stay within the bubble, always the careful and planning one. And I am also the one who has mapped out everything about how I want my life to be. I always knew what I wanted.
The road map of my life that I have built for myself and had dreamed of having is happening exactly the way I wanted. I couldn’t be more thankful and happy for whatever I have achieved. I feel I’m a fully contended human being.
I smiled at that feeling of contentment as I adjusted my left hand on the pivoted grab handle of the subway train as I waited patiently for the train to take me to my destination. As I did that I glanced at my ring on the ring finger and a smile formed on my lips warming my heart thinking about him.
I am so in love with my fiance Richard with whom I have been dating for the past six years since college. My relationship with him all those six years was not a smooth sail. Like every couple, we had our ups and downs but in spite of the many shortcomings in our relationship we managed to stay together and it just got cemented permanently when he proposed. I smiled thinking about his simple sweet proposal. It was just a regular weekend evening we were at his penthouse; we had just finished dinner and were lounging on the sofa enjoying a glass of red wine. He suddenly placed his glass of wine on the center table and nailed in front of me grinning widely holding a pink princess cut 8-carat diamond ring.
“Richard?” I gasped questionably.
“Ell we have been together for six wonderful years and through all my troubles you have always been there for me, there were many times I hurt you but you never complained. You always understood me, putting me always before your needs. I’m a happy man and would be the happiest if you would do me the honor of becoming my wife. Will you marry me, Ell?”
And that was it, one year exactly since that proposal and we are finally getting married next month. I was pulled back from my reverie by the sudden halting of the subway train, making my body jerk forward and backward slightly, realizing that it was my stop I got down from the subway train and pushed myself towards the exit through the sea of busy travelers. As I climbed up the subway stairs I decided to call my best friend Jemima Moretti, whom I call Jemi in short and ask her if she was interested to have lunch by the park which was located opposite the subway. That way we can discuss our client Linda Banks, whom I went all the way to Queens to meet. Finally reaching the top of the subway stairs I dialed my best friend’s number. She picked up after four rings.
“Hi, Jemi are you free now,” I asked a little out of breath from all the climbing of stairs.
“Yes I am, I was just thinking of ordering lunch. Should I order for you too?” she offered.
“No need for that, listen why don’t we have our lunch at the park opposite to the subway gate number one instead of the office. I’ll buy the lunch.”
“Sure why not. I want a turkey sandwich and a large ice tea please.”
“Got it. See you.” Cutting the call I crossed the road and walked towards the small cafe that was located just near the small recreational park. I ordered the same as Jemi’s and headed towards the park with the food. Just at the entrance, I spotted an empty bench, breathing a sigh of relieve I walked towards it and settled down on the bench. Keeping the food and my handbag on my left, I kicked off my blue wedge and let my aching feet rest on the bed of the soft grass. Subways in New York are always crazily packed with hundreds of people commuting every day for various purposes. You hardly get a seat to sit, an unlucky day for me I had to stand the whole way from Queens to Brooklyn and my feet are numb with all the standing.
Joining my legs together and stretching it forward relaxingly I decided to call my grandpa while I waited for Jemi.
Taking out my phone from my handbag I called my grandpa. The phone kept ringing but he didn’t pick up, he must be busy in the shop I thought. My grandpa is a florist; he runs a small shop in Ohio. This is where I am from since my parents passed away in a plane crash when I was just six years old it had been just me and my grandpa Adam, my father’s father.
Growing up I did feel the void of being an orphan especially seeing my peers in high school with their parents. But I grew up so loved, cared and sheltered by my grandpa that I hardly felt lonely or unhappy.
I finally saw Jemi walking towards me from the opposite side of the park; I waved at her as she stopped in her tracks and looked around the park for me. She waved back as she located me and walked towards me and settled herself down on the bench beside me to my right.
“I am starving. My stomach was growling the whole way from the office.” She exclaimed.
I chuckled and handed her the sandwich and the ice tea. She took it from me and Unwrapped the sandwich,” So how did the meeting go with Linda Banks?” she asked as she took a large bite of the turkey sandwich.
I chewed and swallowed the sandwich before I answered Jemi,” As discussed I have told her we will be fighting the case Pro bono for her. She was still very shaken by the incident, I couldn’t get much out of her, and she requested me to give her some time to get herself together. I told her to take as much time as she wants. As it is we won’t be able to start the case right away.” I said thoughtfully.
Jemi nodded in agreement as she took a sip of the ice tea, “The first hearing is in three months, so we have ample time. Is she staying alone or with her parents.”
“For now till the case is settled she is going to stay with her parents. I told them it is better that way, not good to stay alone when one has gone through the things she went through. I just hope we will be able to deliver justice for her.” I sighed deeply.
“Don’t worry Ell, we will do our best and I have confidence we will win the case. After all, this is the sole reason why we decided to open our own private practice, so we can help people like her get justice and stop living a life of being a victim and put the bastards behind bars.” Jemi assured.
It was true. Since Jemi and I graduated together from Yale University for two and a half years we slogged hard working two jobs at a time to save enough money to open our own private practice. We were both scholarship students and didn’t come from rich backgrounds, so we had to really work hard to realize our dream, it was all worth it.
And finally, have saved up enough money we finally rented a small office in Brooklyn and became two proud young Human Rights lawyers with their own private law firm. We coined the firm; Dickens and Moretti Law Firm.
Jemi was my roommate in college and from the first day itself we got along so well. It was like destiny had woven its magic to bring two people together with passion in their hearts to give something back to society. Personality wise we were polar opposites, she was loud and free spirited, I was quiet and low key. But we had the same vision as to how we wanted our career paths to take shape. We uplift and are always there for each other through thick and thin. We were family to each other.
“Aunt Gwen wanted us to stop by her bar for a drink later after work. You’re up for it?” she asked taking the last bite of the sandwich.
“I would love to; I have been dying to try her exclusive cocktails.” I mused, an image of Aunt Gewn flashing through my mind. Her body was covered in colorful tattoos and each tattoo has a meaning and a story behind it. She was a very strong and independent woman, I admired her. Jemi was raised by a single mother, but her mother died when she was only ten of breast cancer. So Aunt Gwen, Jemi’s mother’s younger and only sibling took her under her wing and took care of her.
“Great! I’ll just text her that we will be dropping by.” Jemi began typing the message on her phone.
“Speaking of texting, I should call Richard and find out if he is free to go for the cake tasting this weekend,” I said and called him while taking a large sip of the ice tea.
“What is it?” He responded.
“Someone is wearing his grumpy pants.” I murmured taken slightly aback by his gruffness.
“Not now Ell. I am busy, was there some emergency?” His tone sounded annoyed. I really didn’t like it.
“Richard when are you ever free?” I questioned annoyance lacing my voice. What is up with him lately, he always sounded irritated or angry whenever I talked to him over the phone because physically meeting him was getting to be impossible these couple of months. I understand being the Vice- President of his family company Spencer Enterprise, he was really busy and stressed but I wish sometimes he would just give me a break and see things from my perspective too. Just because I tolerate all his crazy mood swings doesn’t mean he will keep snapping at me.
I heard him sigh at the other end,” I’m sorry Ell, I didn’t mean to be rude.” He paused before speaking again,” You know how hectic work is. I am trying to finalize a deal and it’s getting more complicated and difficult to close it. Did you need something?”
Swallowing the hurt like always I sighed,” I just wanted to know if you were free this weekend. Remember I told you about the cake tasting, it will be better if we get it done early.”
I heard him sigh again,” Ell I am so sorry I totally forgot about it, I have an important meeting scheduled this weekend and it will be impossible for me to cancel.” He finished the sentence with finality. Meaning there was no room for argument and there was no way he would make it.
Sadness laced my tone,” I understand. We can reschedule it again when you are free.” I heard Jemi huffing and rolling her eyes at me. She hates it when I compromise, which she tells me I do it all the time and I know she is right. But I just feel I should be the understanding one in the relationship after all he is under so much stress.
“Ell I got to go. I’ll call you later okay.” He said abruptly and hung up the call before I barely got to finish the word okay.
“Hmm, that went well.” I heaved a deep sigh.
Getting up and throwing her hands in the air,” I just can’t stand to see you get disappointed and hurt like this. What is wrong with him and what is wrong with you, especially you. Where is that smart, independent woman who lives her life by her own terms and never letting people step over her huh? Why are you letting him treat you like this, is it worth it?” Jemi crossed her arms over her chest and glared at me angrily.
“He is just busy.” I almost whispered. The words that tumbled out of my mouth sounded so unconvincing and fake even to my ears.
Jemi rolled her eyes at me,” Yeah right he is busy. So busy he has no time for his fiancé, so busy he has no time to prepare for his own wedding. Why are you putting yourself through this Ell?” Her tone was filled with concern no longer angry, as she sat down beside me.
“I love him Jemi. Its okay, I am sure once he takes over the company as the CEO he will be more relaxed and will have more time for us.”
Shaking her head, “I will never get why you would always let yourself burn like this. I am no expert in a relationship but if a guy loves and cares for you truly he will never stand you up like this. I’m sorry if I sound harsh but I care about your well being Ell. I just hate seeing you like this.” She finished her lips pressed together in annoyance.
“I completely understand your apprehension for me Jemi. But hey, don’t worry I’ll be fine and besides if he hurt me more than I can handle. I give you free reign to fix him up.” I joked to lighten the tense atmosphere.
Jemi chuckled her blue eyes gleaming with mischief,” Oh that I will. You don’t have to ever worry about it. Besides he knows I am watching him. One wrong move and it’s his balls I am crashing.”
I laughed feeling a little lighter. Trust Jemi to always have my back and make me feel better when things are tough. We are there for each other always. I have my share of dramas and her too, but we always try to sort out each other’s messes. But right now I hoping desperately that I am not in a mess and like I said to Jemi I hope things would get better and these setbacks I am having with Richard will settle down for better.
I have strictly cocooned myself in this world with him that although it does get exhausting most of the time I don’t dare to find out the possibility of life outside of it. I am stubborn to the default of trying to patch things up even though I end up losing myself and draining myself in the process.
I am never a risk taker; I like the routine simple life, except for when it comes to tackling cases regarding work I never take a risk or go with the flow. Personally, I am very dull, quite predictable. But as they say never say never well let’s just say I did manage to be carefree, flexible and took a risk for once in my life after that incident...