Posted by: fictionopia | January 13, 2009

1.07 – “Is your middle name ‘Polaris?'”

Sarah emerged from the midtown studio of designer Greta Larocco Thursday afternoon laden with bags of new clothing. It turned out that, in her own mercernary way, Larocco really had wanted to help and she had given to Sarah generously. When a very excited Joss called, Sarah barely managed to answer her cell phone without dropping any of her packages.

“We’re all over the internet!”

“Swell,” Sarah replied.

Joss ignored Sarah’s comment. “You know the best part? There’s hardly a mention of KiKi. She might as well have stayed home!”

“Way to be the bigger person, Joss!”

“Bigger person my a–” Sarah’s phone cut Joss off.

“Joss? Joss?” Sarah looked at her phone and saw that the battery had died. Sarah wasn’t surprised considering the phone hadn’t been charged since before the fire. Like everything else, the phone’s charger would have to be replaced but first, she decided, she needed something of a recharge herself. That meant coffee.

Sarah found a coffee shop on the next block. There were maybe eight or nine people inside and no line at the register. Perfect. Sarah placed her order and scanned the room for a cozy spot to set down. She picked out a place near the window and began to imagine a hot cup of coffee warming her insides like a big caffeinated hug.

Sarah’s mocha-fueled reverie was suddenly pierced by a baby’s shriek. Watching as the owner of the world’s most obnoxious ringtone answer her phone, Sarah noticed that every single person in the cafe was talking on a phone. It was like fate was mocking her inability to make calls. Fate? My mother is really getting to me, Sarah thought, when someone tripped over one of her bags.

“Looks like you ran into a sale,” the man said to Sarah.

“No, I just ran into a kind…stranger…” Sarah’s voice trailed off as she turned to look at the room full of cell phone yakkers. It was quite a coincidence. Sarah knew she was going to hate herself in the morning for what she was about to do, but she did it anyway.

Sarah turned to the man still standing next to her at the counter. “I hate to bother you,” Sarah began, “but my cell phone cut out while I was on the phone with my sister. Do you have one that I could borrow for just a sec?”

“I do, but I left it in my office across the street. You’re welcome to stop by, if you like.”

“Thank you so much.”

Sarah grabbed her coffee while the stranger helped her with her bags. His office was a rented space on the first floor of a nondescript building. The man opened the door for Sarah and directed her towards the phone on his desk. Next to the phone was a business card holder with a stack of cards. Sarah picked one up and read:

MAXWELL HAY, CAREER COUNSELOR.

“So is your middle name ‘Polaris?'” Sarah asked.

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