“The day I smiled…”

“Just keep breathing. It is all fine. You are alive. And that is all that matters.” Standing in the almost empty parking lot I was repeating the same old words to my sweaty and tired self.

The last meeting of the day had been a disaster. My reports were obsolete, and presentation had grammatical mistakes. 10 years of doing the same work and I still managed to make amateurish mistakes. I wanted the day to just come to an end already. I was craving for the warmth of my bed and a couple of bottles of white.  

My breath was still short, and my mind was running. In directions I did not even know existed. What if I get hit by the car reversing in the parking lot? I started to walk faster towards my car. Almost running in not very comfortable yet appropriately professional high heels. Heels make me look like a responsible professional. The professional that has typos in her presentation. I could kill the person who made heels, with my bare hands. I can, I thought to myself.

Then again, I could be raped in this parking lot too. It was quite possible. I will die a random death working day in and day out doing the same job until my last breath. I wanted to scream, but there were people around me now, so I stopped myself. My throat hurt now as well. The silver lining was, at least I will not be raped now. There were enough women and men in the parking lot now. “Have a good night.” The couple walking past me smiling and greeting me politely. I had seen the girl many times in the elevator. She always wore the most beautiful heels and pantsuits.

The car started and so did I. First, I screamed, loud. Then I fixed my hair and face, to prepare for the public viewing. You have no idea how many people peep into stranger’s cars while waiting at traffic signals. I don’t, though I always give back polite smiles. Tonight, I was not going to smile. I will return the stares with a blank look. Yes, that’s it.

My car bumped out of the parking lot crossing over the self-righteous speed bumps. I was at the first traffic signal, when my phone beeped. It wasn’t the text beep or even a caller tune, it was an unusual sound and continuous. And then I saw the name on the screen. Shocked to his name, trying to breathe and unable to understand what kind of call it was, I missed it. Relieved and sad I brought my eyes back to the road. ‘It must be a mistake.’ I thought to myself. It cannot be him after all these years. And then it beeped again, this time I was able to take the call while driving. We looked at each other and smiled.

Living in different time zones and oceans away. We still did not have any words but only smiles and nervous laughter for each other. It was me who finally spoke, “you look old.” He replied in his usual I don’t care about looks laugh, “like you don’t? we are only few months apart.”

But you look oooollllldd. Hhhahahaha.”

The car was filled with our laughter and loving smiles reminiscing the old days. The noise of the world was turned off, not just muted. My feet slipped out of the high heels to press on the accelerator a little gently, wanting the drive to never end. For the first time I was not nervous about my looks or my frizzy hair having a mood of their own. Or the dark circles around my eyes. Not even the way my eyes wrinkled when I smiled too much. It gives away my real age. I was breathing without even realizing. For a change it was just something that happened not something I had to remind myself to do. It was a feeling I had not experienced in a long time. It almost felt new. You know like when you find an old pair of favorite jeans lost in the closet and you just put them on without any hope. And surprisingly they fit perfectly. Making you look and feel, the best. It was that kind of feeling.

It was like I was existing all this time and suddenly I started to live from that moment on.

Well, long story short, I quit my job next day. I am now a travel blogger.

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