Story 2 – “The Frenzy” (with a quote from Walden)

Hey, everyone. I’ve neglected you all and I apologize. When I woke up this morning it just dawned on me that I have this short story that’s based on the ideals of Walden (yes, the classic book by Thoreau). I hope you like it! Please leave a comment with your opinions – I accept constructive criticism as well.

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The bright morning sunlight cast its rays over a worn bed with a faded flower pattern, inching over the form sound asleep inside it. As its light trickled over the figure, her eyes immediately snapped open, glancing at the alarm clock.

My flight to New York departs in two hours, she thought, and I have not even stepped out of bed!

With that reasoning, she hastily threw back the bedcovers, producing even more wrinkles in the fabric. As soon as her feet made contact with the icy wooden floor, she sprinted to her closet and fumbled through the heaps of clothing, searching for her favorite soft grey woolen sweater.

However, she could not locate the sweater among the abundance of clothes, and instead flung shirts and skirts into her suitcase in an agitated frenzy. The suitcase was threatening to burst; corners of fabric protruding out of it could easily be seen by any observer.

She dashed down the stairs towards the kitchen two at a time, her hefty baggage clanking after her, as if it carried all of her load of worries and thoughts for her so that she could keep a clear head. There was no time to sit down and have a real breakfast, for – looking at her watch – she had already squandered ten minutes of her time. Instead, she snatched a packet of instant coffee and poured it into a cup of boiling water, stirring in the beans until the air was filled with a pungent aroma.

As the last drop of coffee slithered down her throat, she thrust her arms into the coat sleeves of her chunky black jacket, pulled her stuffed bag behind her, and opened the door, bracing herself for the cold that penetrated her entire being.

For the entire ride to the airport she fretted about missing her flight, as the load in her bag seemed to increase in proportion to her anxiety. She also thought about the family that she had to leave behind without even saying goodbye, but promptly shoved that horrible thought to the back of her mind. When she finally arrived at the airport, she strained to lift up her suitcase because it was stuffed with troublesome thoughts piled up on top of each other.

The lady working at the airport counter informed her, “You are very lucky, Ms. Jasmine, for had you arrived here five minutes later, you would have missed your flight.”

Jasmine sighed with relief, but involuntarily shuddered at the thought of missing her flight, for she had a vital business meeting to attend that evening.

The feeling of soaring through the air enlivened Jasmine’s spirits, but as the pilot announced that the airplane would begin its decent into New York her mood plummeted as she thought about what lay ahead.

At the meeting, she attempted to concentrate on the deals that were being signed, but she could not prevent her mind from wandering – and so the boat of her thoughts drifted to a secluded island where only her loving husband and two children resided.

“Ms. Jasmine?”

She started in her chair, abruptly snapped back to reality. Her cheeks turned a bright shade of red as she realized that everyone in the room was staring at her.

“Yes?” Jasmine managed to murmur in a hoarse whisper.

One of her colleagues, Andrea, asked, boring her eyes directly into Jasmine’s own, “Is everything quite alright?” Her concern was genuine, and it astonished Jasmine that Andrea could effortlessly discern that Jasmine was troubled.

“No.” The word thrust itself out of Jasmine’s mouth before she could prevent it. All the eyes in the room gaped at her as they waited for an explanation.

But she did not give one to them. Instead, Jasmine walked out of the room as fast as possible, willing herself not to run. As she approached the door, however, she could not refrain from sprinting, and so she did exactly that.

Outside the door, Jasmine could not help but smile knowingly to herself. The moment of bliss did not last for long, for she heard high heels clacking on the wooden floor that were coming in her direction. One of her colleagues was undoubtedly coming after her, so Jasmine raced down the hall in her high heels to avoid a confrontation. Halfway down the hall, she peeled off her heels in frustration, tossing them onto the floor.

“Jasmine! Come back!” Andrea’s voice pierced the silence, just as a knife cuts through fruit.

Jasmine involuntarily stopped running and turned around to face Andrea. She gazed at Jasmine from across the hallway, visibly distressed.

“Everyone at the work can tell that you are not focusing during the meetings. What is going on?” Andrea inquired, walking closer to Jasmine as she spoke.

Jasmine sighed. How much should I tell her? She thought.

Andrea waited patiently for a response. Finally, Jasmine decided to tell her the entire truth, for something about Andrea made Jasmine trust her – perhaps it was the sincere look in her eyes.

“I cannot handle this job anymore, because it is preventing me from spending quality time with my husband and children back home in Albany. Every week or so I must travel here to New York for the job, and so I am constantly rushing everywhere without thinking or enjoying my life,” she burst out.

Andrea nodded with understanding. “I didn’t think about it before, but I feel exactly the same way,” she said, surprising Jasmine with her words. “My fiancée lives in Boston, and we hardly get to spend time together.”

“Maybe we should both quit this job and go home,” Jasmine suggested, marveling at how free she felt after she spoke those words. “After all, it is only making our lives worse, and the good pay is not worth this struggle.”

Without hesitation, Andrea smiled in agreement, and the two women gaily sauntered out of the building and into the bright sunlight, embracing the new day. Finally, neither of them had to catch a flight, for “the swiftest traveler is he that goes afoot” (96).

-writersblock55

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