From behind the brim of her coffee cup, she watches the world race from second to second, from street corner to street corner. The fifteen minutes she allots for her morning espresso are the only truly peaceful ones she gets. After these few moments of quiet contemplation and absent-minded people-watching, her day will spiral ahead of her and she will frantically dart here and there between private consultations and board meetings. Intently watching a pair of red stilettos flounce across the street, she is startled by the vexatious whines of her smartphone, simultaneously signaling the end and the beginning of her day. She allows herself to linger two minutes longer and continues to watch the stilettos. From her corner of the world those vibrant shoes look like they’re going places, but reality often has a different hue.
She gives an exasperated sigh as she files away more documents from her most recent meeting. It is now approaching noon and what little energy she had started the day with is now all but expended. Her gaze drifts out her window into the maze of cubicles outside her office. She recognizes a red head with no name knock on the office beside hers. A short conversation seems to take place and then the head of finance – a round, busty, blonde with a nose that seems to grow daily – follows the girl down a row of cubicles, leaving the floor a quiet, desolate place. She turns back to her desk and focuses on the salad sitting in front of her. She half-heartedly stabs several limp pieces of lettuce before laying her fork down. Scourging through her purse, she pulls out several white pills and a silver flask. In one gulp she downs three tablets and a mouthful of warm amber liquid. She stands and ambles to the window overlooking the city streets far below her. Watching the throng of people, she glimpses the redhead bobbing down the street, chatting idyllically with the woman from finance. From here it’s impossible to make out any distinct persons below, but just as the imagination fabricates gruesome intruders from mere shadows, the eye recognizes familiarity where there is none.
Sitting once again at the round, little table, she takes a sip of her espresso. On the opposite side of the coffee shop sits a plainly dressed bald man. To him, the woman with the perfect white smile and neatly groomed hair, clad in the latest Burberry fashions, clutching a Coach purse, is living a life exceedingly better than his a million miles away on another planet. To her, the bald man in the corner doesn’t exist. Once again interrupting her daze, the smartphone buzzes against the table. She absentmindedly silences the phone, lingering a second longer, searching for the red stilettos she saw the day before.