Disclaimer: None of the characters belong to me.
A/N: I saw The Butterfly Effect this weekend, great movie, great plot, great characters (plus, it's written by the same guys that wrote my favorite movie ever, Final Destination 2 so that's a plus.) I came up with two short stories based upon the film, this is the first. Please enjoy and review.
Late again. I can't believe it. Even as I stare at my digital watch, waiting impatiently for the elevator to reach my apartment floor, I still can't believe that for the third time this week, I'm going to be late to work. And, to make matters worse, it's only Wednesday, which means I've been late every single day since the work week started. I am, after all, Kayleigh Miller, pristine and professional lawyer...yet how professional is it to be late to the office every day?
Finally, the elevator reaches that floor where my homey apartment resides and the doors slid open with a ding that I have come to know and expect. Without waiting for the doors to fully open, I hustle in, using my leather briefcase to buffet the doors open the rest of the way and impatiently jab the button marked L.
Even if I wasn't late for the third time this week, I know I'd be in a bad mood. Lately, that's the only mood I've been in, though I have no reason to be upset about anything. I have a perfect job, perfect apartment, a nice cat, and a supportive family; in layman's terms, I have the perfect life. Yet, here I am, bustling about like everything has gone wrong all my life; my life has been perfect, almost as though someone spent a little extra time insuring that I'd be happy forever. Maybe it's the weather, or perhaps there's something in the back of my mind that has been gnawing away, a problem just waiting to make itself known. Well, I'll just cross that bridge when I come to it.
Thankfully, the elevator dropped the entire way to the lobby without a detour -since everyone else is already at work- and the doors slid open with that familiar ding though today I don't take the time to appreciate such a cheery noise because I'm in no mood to be cheery anyway. The only thing I'm thinking about as I tear of the lobby like the hounds of hell are following me is how many taxis are on the corner and how long it will take to get to my law firm, estimating the amount of traffic on the streets at this hour. Estimating the traffic density at eight thirty in the morning is something that I have become rather good at doing since I've been in eight thirty traffic for the past three days.
Staring at the taxi-less street gives me something solid to base my bad mood upon. I'm late to work, with no way to actually get there in an excusable time; it's New York City, for Christ sake, when isn't there a taxi waiting for a passenger?
Screw this, I'll never get to work if I spend the rest of the morning wishing for a cab to magically appear and whisk me to Polk, Taylor and Associates. Turning away from the street with a final scornful glance, I begin heading down the sidewalk in the direction of the law office that might just decide that today is the day to fire me. It's only eight thirty in the morning, yet I'm just waiting for this day to get much worse. That is, after all, the mind frame I have been in lately.
My high-heeled, Prada pumps are not the ideal shoes to be wearing when walking great distances, but then again, I'd had no idea that I would be trekking to work when I choose the shoes to match my beige cooperate America suit. For a moment, I considered slipping the shoes off and walking barefoot -I'd probably make better distance that way- but I ditch that idea as soon as I look down at the sidewalk beneath my feet. The concrete is littered with crumpled candy rappers, soda and beer cans, food particles, cigarettes and other unidentifiable substances that I have no desire to stick my stocking covered feet into.
Still trying to decide what one of those unidentifiable substances actually is, one of the other New York pedestrians jostles my shoulder, causing me to look up and glance in his direction. I think about snapping off a typical New Yorker comment, but his face looks apologetic enough, so I decide to let it go; he is, after all, quite cute with shaggy brown hair the color of his eyes.
I turn away from this man, only to feel his eyes upon my back, as though he is staring at me. Suddenly, I feel as though I know this man, or should know this man, who I have never seen before in my life and probably never will see again. Yet, I have these sudden images in my head, pictures of us together, when I was only a child. We're playing in my backyard with my older brother, Tommy, in medieval costumes like something out of Robin Hood.
The image of me and this strange playing Robin and Maid Maryann disappears just as suddenly as it appeared and is replaced by one of us in the movies, sneaking into see the Brad Pitt film Seven, which I have never seen in my life. The cinema disappears, taken over by quicker flashing pictures: images of me in college, in a sorority, of me working in a dinner, of me living in a shitty apartment with cockroaches crawling around the ground.
When the images finally disappear, I feel as though I have just watched home movies of someone else's life, only staring myself in roles I've never played and never will. It all seemed so real, so solid, almost as though I was experiencing long forgotten memories.
I turn to face this man again, as though staring at him will answer the sudden questions that have sprung unbidden in my mind. He is, however, no longer staring at me and has begun continuing on his way once more. Who are you? A part of me wants to ask this question out loud, but I'd rather skip the strange look he'd be sure to give me and I'm late for work.
I force myself to continue toward the law firm, trying to conjure the images up in my head once again. They had gone, however, almost as though they were never there, as though my even seeming them was some sort of horrid accident. The things I remember about the pictures are floating away as well, leaving me with nothing more then a bad case of deja vu, which will surely disappear soon anyway.
However, I can't help but think about the man I had bumped into, the man that had supposedly conjured the images in the first place. Who could he be? And why had I seen him in all of my "flashbacks", when I have never meet him before.
Unable to contain these questions any longer, I whirl around again, my eyes searching the crowd for his face once more. He has, however, been swallowed up, disappeared, just an ordinary man, leading an ordinary life, heading to an ordinary job or an ordinary house. I feel foolish to think that he could have conjured up those pictures, as though he were some wizard or sorcerer.
Whoever that man was, he had nothing to do with my strange memory lapse, that's for sure. He's just an ordinary man I have never meet and will never see again. Just another face in the crowd.