As usual, before her alarm went off at 4:30am, she was awake. But today, it wasn’t because of routine. Today it was for another reason. One more profound. The butterflies in her stomach had not given her a minutes rest. Well, they had settled when she fell asleep eventually, after popping a valium. But the minute she awoke, they were back again, as sure as the dawn. She hadn’t needed the little blue pill for months now, but last night, she hadn’t had a choice. A mixture of anxiety and nervous excitement had meant there was no other way. And the fact that she had to wait a couple more hours before she knew was not helping.
At this point she realized, staying in bed on automatic snooze as she usually did, was not an option today. So she swung out of bed, feeling with her feet for her slippers burrowed in the thick carpet she had purchased in India few months ago. She found and slipped into them with ease and headed out the door, flipping on the light switch as she did. Routine. She could do this all now with her eyes closed and she hated it. As she grabbed a bottle of water from the fridge, she used her free hand to jot down on one of the notepads she always had handy, to put her slippers on the other side of the bed that night. Glancing at the clock she noted it was only 5 am. She still had an hour before she got the call, and she realized she would not be able to sit still that long. Sighing in submission, she headed back to her room and traded in her pajamas for leggings and a crop top. She would go for a jog. She piled her hair onto her head in a rough bun, grabbed her IPod, pulled on her sneakers, stretched briefly, and was out the door in five.
5:10 am. She decided to go the longer route as she really had to clear her head. Plus, there was that cutie three blocks down, that went the same way every other day, and it was a Wednesday. So that was a sure thing. She noticed he wore a wedding band though. Definitely a no go area. She simply appreciated the eye candy and knew to give praise where it was due. Plus he had a cross tattoo on his right shoulder blade. Christian? Check. Men like that, or at least what she knew of him, helped her compile her List. The List. Now it was almost complete. And health nut that she was, fitness and good physique were one of the main items on it too. Any form of substance abuse, she could not tolerate. Though that was more in connection with her faith, than anything. She herself didn’t take any meds except the valium, which was prescribed by her shrink for her anxiety. And which she only took when it was absolutely necessary. Like last night.
Her mind went back to the call. She had been the news anchor at TNFY, on the mid morning show for almost a year now. Being the largest news corporation in the country, she felt like she had finally arrived. Almost. What remained for that year was what the call would determine. If she had got the lead anchor role…or not. It was on her resolution list. She lived by lists. They kept her life in order. Her shrink had recommended she try it when she first started meeting her. She was 18, graduated from University and a nervous wreck, unsure of what to do. Now 6 years later, she was still as committed to them as ever. She was so distracted by her thoughts, that she missed three-block-cutie altogether. And she missed the way his face fell when she didn’t return his smile.
It was 5 to 6 when she got back. Just in time to hear the phone ringing. It was one of those wall ones that nobody used any more, with a cord and everything. But she had always wanted one as a girl, and when she had seen one on sale in the hardware store, she had bought it without batting an eyelash. She snatched it up breathlessly and almost screamed her hello!
“Whoa, easy tiger”. It was her boss Ben.
“I’m so sorry! It’s just that I’ve been out running and I just got in and I really want to know. Is it good news Ben? Is it?” She said all in one breath. He laughed as she went on, “Just tell me already! I can handle it, promise!”
“Hey Mac, calm down girl. Before you burst an artery, just let me talk. They called a few minutes ago, I won’t torture you anymore. You got it!”
She let out an animal-like shriek as he laughed. “Congrats girl. We are so proud of you! Do us all a favor and come in a little late today so that we have a chance to get you a surprise cake and all that.”
She had no words. She was bubbling over inside and grinning helplessly, the reality of the moment kicking in. She put the phone back on the hook and set to jumping up and down on her bed. Forgetting that she was still in her sneakers and her previously washing-powder-advert-white sheets were now plastered in mud and other unidentifiable road debris. She couldn’t care less. Moments later she temporarily floated back down from cloud nine to reality and had to clamp her mouth shut with her hands to make sure she didn’t wake up the twins next door.
An hour later she was driving down the highway, for once whilst the sun was already up. Usually, she rushed to beat the traffic. But today she was carefree. She had put in extra effort with her hair, worn super high stilettos and her makeup was immaculate as ever. She even stopped for a latte on the way, breaking her otherwise caffeine-free health regime. And as she backed her Evoque into her slot, she realized that she had arrived.
Mackenzie Johnson had finally arrived.