Pink Sky

A story of coming to terms with past, present and future love.

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1. Panic

 

When she finally looked up from her computer screen and out of the window across the New York skyline, Maria noticed that the bright afternoon sun had given way to a beautiful pink dusk that almost took her breath away. She felt a smile flicker across her lips but stopped it in time to remind herself that she had taken an oath of solemnity. A wave of panic washed over her body as she rebuked herself for her momentary lapse. In an attempt to banish the feelings that weighed heavy on her heart, she shook her head, clicked save and shut down. Slipping her shoes back onto her feet, straightening her blouse and fluffing her hair, she grabbed her bag and stepped demurely out of her office closing the door quietly behind her. Inhaling deeply, Maria steadied herself, turned and began to walk, her steely grey eyes focused on the elevator through the glass doors at the end of the corridor. She wasn’t in the mood for the various uncomfortable looks of sympathy that had become all too familiar, and knew that the minute she stepped out of sight she would hear the hushed tones of people whispering behind her back.

            ‘How are we today, Miss Evans?’ Great. The first person she’d see had to be Iva. She related, did Iva - to everything! It took a lot to stir Maria’s sentiments these days but Iva managed it; she was officious, interfering and infuriating.

            ‘I’m fine thank you, Iva.’ Maria’s long legs quickened their pace and scuttled past with little Iva waddling behind trying to keep up, her high pitched voice breathlessly reassuring her, for what felt like the hundredth time, that she understood and was there if she needed to talk. Murmering in polite gratitude, Maria let Iva’s intrusive voice fade into the background as she hastily made her way to the elevator. She drummed her fingers against her bag impatiently as she willed it to hurry up. After what seemed like an eternity, the elevator came to life with a dull roar and the doors swallowed her up leaving multiple sets of eyes boring silently into the metal wall where she had just been stood.

Maria breathed a sigh of relief as she allowed her mask slide; she was by no means the sociable, carefree woman she once was, but was merely enduring work, a week at a time, without collapsing into the quivering wreck she was just millimetres beneath the surface. She felt angry with herself. She knew she couldn’t continue like this, knew what people were thinking about her. She recognised that it was time; time she learned to communicate again, time she learned to breathe again, time she learned to live again. But she couldn’t. She felt trapped inside herself and trapped in a feeling she couldn’t, and wouldn’t, fight: Guilt.

She stepped out onto the busy pavement and was immediately dragged into the slipstream. Propelled by the undercurrent, Maria moved thoughtlessly in the direction of the East Side until a sudden warm breeze caused her to look up. The pink hues of the sky were beaming down on her face. She felt her breath catch in her throat, a rush of anger and, finally, the desire to be out of the light that appeared to be taunting her. Her eyes darting around uncontrollably, Maria caught sight of the subway and dashed towards it, stumbling down the stairs like a woman possessed. Once she had reached the bottom, she seized the handrail to stop herself, took a deep breath and felt her racing heart begin to slow to a regular rhythm. Looking around fearfully, Maria prayed that no one had seen her manic performance. As could be predicted, heads were bowed as her fellow subway passengers endeavoured to not make eye contact with anyone else. For once, Maria was grateful as she caught sight of her wild hair and flushed face. The power of a moment, a feeling and a snapsnot of remembrance astounded her.

Maria looked up to see that the next train was six minutes away. Making her way to the nearest available seat, she sat down, placed her bag gently on her knee and took a deep breath. She reached discreetly under her blouse to touch the pendant that was laid unmoving on her chest.

‘What have you done to me?’ she whispered.

 

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