You know what day it is.
I’m not giving out the writing prompt until the end, of course, but I will add that when I was writing this, I was totally envisioning an old British woman’s voice narrating. (You’re welcome to conjure up whatever voice you’d like though… obviously.)
This is a story about a young woman named Mary, Mary Hughes.
Mary’s life was entirely devoted to her routines, and absolutely nothing else would suffice.
At precisely 5:45 AM, her alarm would go off. She would not hit snooze and prolong the inevitability of leaving her bed, but would rather turn it off, stretch, and swing her legs out from under the covers.
She would then proceed to pad across her one bedroom apartment to put on a cup of coffee.
As her drink brewed, she would use her toilet to relieve her bladder. Her shower would be approximately 105° Fahrenheit, where she’d use 1 tablespoon’s worth for her shampoo, conditioner, and body soap.
While she brushed her teeth for 3 minutes, and 3 minutes only, she would be sure to stroke each individual tooth back and forth and up and down.
She then would take her damp hair, blow drying it for only 10 minutes until it was mostly dry. At the end, her mousy, thin tresses were pinned into a tight twist at the base of her skull.
Mary always wore the same basic, neutral outfit. Khaki skirt. White blouse. Crisp black flats. Her sweaters never came in patterns or bold colors. They were either navy, black, or gray- and nothing in between.
She would place her brown framed glasses on the bridge of her nose, pour her coffee into a 16 ounce disposable cup, and gather her briefcase with her premade lunch securely tucked inside.
From her apartment, Mary Hughes would walk to her car parked in a space with her building number, 1206, painted on the asphalt.
At approximately 6:30 AM, she would pull her car into her designated spot at the top of garage 2 for her job at the Makenzie Howard Building in the downtown metropolitan area.
Mary Hughes sat in a cubicle at a desk and in front of a computer, made in 2010. The only disruption to her constant mouse clicking and keyboard typing would be a frozen screen, to which she would respond by simply switching to a different task.
She only took two breaks. Her thirty minute lunch would begin at noon, to which she’d nibble on a homemade sandwich and read the daily newspaper. Her fifteen minute break was spent chewing into a Granny Smith apple, and counting down the very seconds until she’d return to her tasks.
She’d arrive home at precisely 7 PM each night, eat a hearty dinner at 7:30, and watch the local news until she went to bed at 9 PM- only to begin her same routine the following day.
But on that fateful Tuesday, for everything truly terrible always happens on a Tuesday, at approximately 1:37 PM- her entire world built on precision would be forever changed.
Of course, it started out as normally as any day did for Mary. She put on her coffee. Ensured her shower was at precisely 105° Fahrenheit. But as she dried her hair, the warm gust mingled with the droplets that caressed her skin momentarily broke her concentration.
She suddenly began to wonder if this was what it felt like, to be at the ocean shore with a gentle, salty breeze tugging at the ends of her hair.
She shook the thought as suddenly as it had appeared to her. Better not be late.
She yanked on her clothes with determination, but caught her reflection in the floor length mirror. As ordinary as ever, Mary pondered at what she would look like with just a splash of color. A hint of makeup. Perhaps, perhaps if she wore her hair down.
No, no- she determined, slapping on her shoes. Best be getting a move on.
She poured her coffee, adding 1 single sugar packet and 1/8’s cup of half and half. Then, she was off.
At work, her fingers cramped against the monotonous movements. She paused to stretch them, just as a co-worker within the cubicle next to hers took a personal call.
“I am so fed up with Denise. She needs to woman up and quit crying over every little thing that doesn’t go her way.”
Mary’s first instinct was to listen more- her mind plunging into a world of daydream and possibility.
Her second instinct, to which she immediately obeyed, was not to eavesdrop.
At noon, Mary was prepared to pull her paper bagged lunch from her briefcase, when someone called out to her from behind.
“Uh, it’s Mary, right?” She swiveled in her chair to find a man half her age. She vaguely recognized him from meetings, as he always wore bright bow ties with mix-matched socks.
“Would you mind if we switch lunches? I have…” Mary scarcely regarded his words, for she’d been blinded by the sun. No, it was simply the man’s fluorescent yellow bow squeezing against his neck.
Nevertheless, the damage was done. Mary agreed, unknowingly, to her inescapable demise.
By the time 1:30 rolled around, Mary felt exhausted. Work had never left her feeling quite so drained, and she assumed it was the lack of strict schedule for the day.
Not only had her mind wandered endlessly into the void of her computer screen, but she’d missed her usual lunch time all because of a bow tie.
She unwrapped her stale sandwich, taking empty and calculated bites. But instead of picking up the newspaper and reading through the business reports, Mary’s eyes drifted across the break room.
And there, entering the tiny and unforgiving space, Mary spotted him.
His hair was neatly combed and parted. His pants were khaki, his buttoned shirt white, his blazer navy, and his shoes black. When he sat down at the table, several seats across from her at the other end, he pulled out a paper bag.
He unwrapped a sandwich identical to hers, and chewed quietly. He reached for the paper, meticulously flipping through each page until he reached the business section.
The clock on the wall clicked down the seconds until 1:37 PM. But Mary was mesmerized by the realization that this man, this man who she had ever noticed before, was her equal. Lost in discovery, she blindly reached for her 12 ounce styrofoam cup filled with water.
The clock’s hand reached it’s destination, just as Mary’s own hand accidentally tipped over the cup, spilling the liquid across the table’s surface.
She blushed fiercely, leaping from her chair to grab napkins. To her dismay, the man was glaring down at the now soiled newspaper. His eyes slashed upwards to her, ready to cut her down with bitter hyperbole.
But when they met hers, the harshness became something else entirely.
She apologized. He shrugged it off. And then their mundane worlds collided.
A couple weeks later, Mary Hughes was unrecognizable. She waltzed into work one minute late, wearing a new dress with flowers sprinkled throughout the fabric. Her long brown hair flowed down her back in free abandon. Her strict, monetonous lifestyle thrown out the proverbial window.
But these things didn’t matter.
What mattered was the smile that stretched across her lips and settled behind her eyes. That smile wasn’t because of the way a man made her feel, but rather the way he made her realize how to feel about herself.
The time of her death was approximately 1:37 PM. The beginning of a new, extraordinary life- 1:38 PM, Tuesday. For every wonderful thing always begins on whatever day you let it happen.
Writing Prompt: Write a story that includes tons and tons of numbers. (Just kidding. I actually didn’t have a writing prompt this week, and wrote whatever the British lady told me. So you can blame her.)
Anywho, tomorrow is the big day! I’ll be posting a link for my first ever YouTube video! Hopefully, it won’t disappoint. (But it probably will.)😝😝😝😝😝