Weekly Writing Challenge The Butterfly Effect.
♦♦♦ Part I – Peter ♦♦♦
It’s like the entire Universe is against me, he thought to himself. Last night Nina blew him off, ruining his perfect plans for their second date. And now he overslept. That stupid alarm clock his mom bought him let him down again.
Peter dragged his feet across the room and pulled the curtains from the window. “Great, it’s raining.” he murmured to himself and headed for the bathroom, stepping on his dog’s squeaky toy. “Barney, I swear one of these days…”
25 minutes later he was driving to work, zigzagging through heavy traffic, assuring himself the boss will be late, too. The car before him suddenly slowed down and forced him to change lanes, splashing pedestrians who were waiting to cross the street.
“Get out of my way! Peter, you are such a loser!” he waved in their general direction and pushed the gas pedal, praying there are no red lights ahead.
♦♦♦ Part II – Maria ♦♦♦
She could swear she heard that crazy driver yelling “Losers!”, adding insult to the injury. With clothes dripping wet and her hair plastered to her forehead, Maria ran after the bus that was pulling out of the station.
“Stop, please stop!”, she waved her hands hoping the driver will spot her in a review mirror, but to no avail. There was nothing she could do, as the bus vanished in the morning fog. One bus and seven stops later, she entered the bakery, thanking all the green lights for not being late.
” I smell like a wet dog.”, Maria took a deep breath and squeezed into her uniform. The open sign was still swinging on a front door, when a woman rushed in.
“Two croissants, please.”
“That will be 2,30 Mam.”
“Oh my, I only have 2,25. Can I bring 5 cents tomorrow morning?”
“No, I am sorry.”
“But surely, you can help me. It’s only 5 cents. Please?”
Maria thought to herself Who ever gave me a break? Certainly not that jerk who drenched me this morning, and said out loud: “Lady, life’s a bitch…Either you pay or move over.”
Simmering with anger, the woman left the bakery, followed by Maria’s voice: “Next!”
♦♦♦ Part III – Yvonne ♦♦♦
I just can’t believe it. She knows me, I am a regular customer, Yvonne thought to herself, angrily walking to the University. “I need a break. Just five minutes.” she said to her colleague, sitting down behind her immaculately clean desk, logging to Facebook. “Just five minutes of Farmville and I can endure whatever comes my way.”
Loud knock on the door startled her and seconds later a student entered her office, with hands full of books and papers, tripping over her own legs: “I am sorry Mam, but could you tell me where Biology 1 exam is held? It seems I lost my schedule.”
Yvonne looked at the student standing in front of her, her frustration returning in full force: “All the students were emailed the schedule and one copy was posted on the message board down the hall. It is not my job to waste time on stupidity. I mean, seriously…you students think I am here only to answer your questions.”
“Actually, Mam…I think that is precisely your job.”
“Get out. Now.”
The girl stomped out of the office and Yvonne turned to her PC, sadly noticing how her Farmville crops withered. “And I was this close to level up.”
♦♦♦ Part IV – Greta ♦♦♦
I am not going to cry, I am not going to cry, Greta ran down the hall to the message board, frantically searching for the exams schedule, finding the board depressingly empty. She froze in place, not knowing what to do. The halls were empty and she couldn’t even start to guess in which building the exam was held. The University Tower clock struck nine and all her hopes vanished with that last strike. The stone bench offered no comfort, reminding her too much of her mother’s grave she visited that morning. Greta picked up her phone and called one person she knew could make her feel better.
“Hey, baby girl. I thought you had your final exams today.”
“I went to the Administration Office to find out where the exam was held, and it seems the lady had a bad day, so she yelled at me and kicked me out. And there are no schedules on the message board. So I am just sitting here, having no idea what to do.”
“I am so sorry, honey. But don’t worry, everything is going to be ok. We’ll figure it out. I’ll see you tonight.”
“Ok, Dad. Love you.”
“Love you back.”
As she ended the phone call, Greta heard someone calling her name. She looked down the hall and saw her friend Alicia waving at her: “Come on, we are going to be late. The exam starts in 5 minutes.” Greta ran towards her, whispering: “All is not lost.”
♦♦♦ Part V – Stefan ♦♦♦
Her picture was a permanent resident in his wallet, reminder of happier days. Stefan closed the wallet and put it in a glove compartment, started the car and eased down the driveway. It’s been six months and it still hits him like a hammer. Gone. Like a leaf, one moment a green splendor on a tree, the next moment falling, crumbling, vanishing. How Greta was coping with the loss of her mother, he couldn’t even begin to fathom. This was the first time she missed the exam, his little Miss Reliable.
Stefan spotted a double parked car just ahead and pulled behind it. Another day, another ticket. Seems people will never learn, he mused, slipping the ticket under the wiper blade.
“Excuse me, Mr.Officer…” a young raven-haired girl was running towards him. “I was gone for a minute, please…Please, take it back.”
“Mr.Officer?”, he asked her, trying to repress a smirk fighting its way out.
“Oh, I am sorry. Is that a wrong thing to say? Will I get another ticket? Another one I wont be able to pay….since I just got fired. My jerk of a boss asked me out and when I refused…Bang…You’re out. I mean, is that fair? I just moved here, found a roommate, a job, a boyfriend…I was on a roll. And now I am on a different kind of roll – lost a job, got a ticket…”
“Whoa, whoa…take a deep breath. I know only one other person in the world that speaks that fast. And she had a lousy day, too. So, I’ll do what someone else failed to do for my daughter. I’ll give you break. No ticket for you, young lady. But, don’t double-park again. Ok?”
“You are the best!!! I would hug you, but I am afraid you would give me another ticket.” the girl smiled radiantly at him and hopped into the car. As she was driving away, she yelled: “Tell your daughter she has the coolest dad in the world!”
Stefan shook his head and smiled, thinking how he and Greta might have a pizza night. After all, it was one of those days.
♦♦♦ Part VI – Nina ♦♦♦
“It’s a beautiful day, don’t let it get away…” Nina sang as she entered her apartment. Shoes off, slippers on, grocery bags flying on a kitchen table, she felt light as a feather. Grandma used to tell her that a single act of human kindness could change the course of history. Nina always laughed at grandma’s words, calling her old-fashioned. But today she remembered those words with tenderness, thinking for the first time that maybe Granny was right.
From the corner of her eye Nina spotted a post-it on a fridge: “Hey roommate, I asked my boss and she said you can come over tomorrow for a job interview. xoxo M.”
“Life is good, life is good!” she chanted, swirling around the kitchen table. “Ticket – no, job – yes, boyfriend – maybe?”
Nina picked her phone, hoping she could fix that mess: “Hi, Peter. It’s Nina. Listen…I am sorry about last night, but I got fired yesterday and…Ah, ok… What about tonight? Would you like to go out with me?….You would?…Same time, same place? That’s great…See you!”
Smiling, she stepped out on a balcony, enjoying the last rays of sun. Nearby one lonely butterfly rested on a potted flower, soaking the warmth…First stars blinked on a sky above…and then the butterfly flapped its wings.