Three dollars and five cents ,was all that you had in your pocket but it was enough to make your day, the exact price of your favourite coffee from the local café just a few blocks from your apartment. You headed there, clenching onto the money, full of excitement. Walking on that winter morning with your foggy glasses and your face muzzled deep into your scarf to protect you from the cold, was the same as any other morning. Holding firmly onto your journal in your other hand, that seemed like it was the place where you wrote about every second of your life as if documenting it for someone to read; too immersed into the cycle of doing everything exactly the same, you forgot how to live. You were right on time, just like every other day.
The New York winter breeze pierced your pink ridden nose that made you muzzle your face deeper into your scarf, your glasses still fogging up from your warm breath meeting the cold glass. You watched as the sunlight refracted off the windows of the apartment buildings, making it seem like you were walking through an illusionary palace of glass on the sidewalk.
You smiled reading the billboard of your favourite haven, Topped off, the place where you could get the best caramel iced coffee. You walked in, feeling the heat from inside the shop making its way to your cold skin. You wiped your snow covered shoes on the welcome mat and made your way to the best spot in the café. Well, you sure thought it was the best spot and it was where you always sat, where your journal bound you to sit.
Your presence in the café always sparked someone's interest working there. The barista made his way over to you, fixing his apron. He noticed you vigorously writing in your journal as you always did. You looked up from your journal seeing the waiter. “Hey, can i get a-”, you said, taking off your scarf and moving your bangs out your eyes.
“Caramel iced-coffee with extra caramel syrup?”, he said as he looked at you, awaiting confirmation. His blue eyes glued to your green ones, studying every detail of your face. “Yeah, how'd you know?”, you asked. “I've worked here for a while. I noticed you come here everyday and order the same thing”, the boy said smiling at you. You just smiled back, he knew your order so there was no need for you to continue a pointless conversation. This was your time to continue with your routine. You hid your face in your journal and continued to write about your morning walk to the cafe. You peered over at your watch, 7:30. You paged through the journal checking if your time matched up with the previous day's agenda, a pleasing smile crept its way to your mouth when you saw you were a minute early today.
“If you stare at that book all day you might just miss everything that’s happening right in front of you”, The friendly boy said, laughing slightly, putting your beverage down in front of you. You almost jumped out of your seat from the fright you had gotten, you barely even noticed that he had returned with your drink. Were you really that sucked into this cycle that you didn't even notice your surroundings? “Well, I prefer to do this, thank you very much”, you replied as you gestured to your journal and pen that was laid in front of you.
“I'm just saying, you'll never see the true beauty of life if all you do is stare at the pages of your journal”, the boy said resting his elbows on the bar across from you. “Trust the wait. Embrace the uncertainty, enjoy the beauty of becoming. When nothing is certain-”, he continued on. “Anything is possible”, you finished his sentence in a low whisper and sipped on your cold beverage. The barista smirked, hearing you finish his quote from a book and asked, “So, You read Mandy Hale’s book then?” You nodded at him ever so slightly and rolled your eyes, knowing exactly what he was about to say. “So you read a book about embracing uncertainty and rapid changes... and you do the opposite?” he said, barely able to hide his laughs escaping his lips. You rolled your eyes and sipped on your sweet beverage, trying to hide the urge you had to grab your journal and write about your drink and the unusual conversation with the barista boy.
“Tell you what blondie, give me a day”, the boy said, adjusting the rings on his fingers. “Excuse me?” you replied, quite taken back by his comment. Breaking your network system was one thing but spending a day with someone you just met...you couldn't see yourself doing something so ridiculous. “You heard me. Give me a day to show you how fun life is, you know, not sticking to a schedule and having fun”, he said as he pulled your coffee beverage towards him so you'd focus on him.
You wiped the whipped cream from your upper lip, not expecting him to drag your precious coffee away from you. "I'll show you how to see the world more clearly", he said, lifting his finger and poking the glasses on your face. “Kind of ironic isn't it, considering you already wear glasses.” He let out a small laugh.
“I don't even know your name, so do you really think I'll let you rob me of my day?” you said, putting your hand on top of his, dragging your drink back in front of you. The boy’s hand retreated from your glasses and moved to push his fluffy black hair out of his eyes .Following his hand, your eyes met with the prettiest pair of blue eyes, they looked just like the snow that fell from the sky outside.
“Blake Taylor. And you are…?” he said and gestured to you to reply to his sentence. You exhaled sharply , slightly annoyed from this boys’ peppiness. “Tamara Sanders”, you replied while poking the biscuit that came with your drink, “There we know each other. Now can I kidnap you?” he said jokingly with a massive smile plastered on his face. You exhaled, slightly laughing at his mannerisms.. “I'm not getting out of this am I?” You asked him, hoping he'd leave you be, but deep down you were a little curious as to what you would do when he ‘kidnaps’ you. “Nope”, he said, emphasizing the ‘p’ and started to take off his apron.
“My shift ends in 2 minutes”, Blake chuckled out. “Well, you still have 1 minute and 30 seconds left, guess todays not your day”, you smirked at him. “Lesson 1 by Blake Taylor, I don't know what will happen if I leave work early or stay and leave on time. Exciting isn't it?” he said acting like a teacher. “Hardly”, you replied emotionless to his silliness. “Come on! That was a good lesson”, he said pouting like a five-year-old who just got told they can't get ice-cream.
You slurped up the last drops of your beverage through your straw, noisily sucking air at the end. Blake kept his blue eyes locked onto your movements, once you were finished with your drink he placed his hand once again on glass and dragged it towards him. “Looks like you're done. Shall we?”, Blake asked, his left hand gesturing towards the door as if he was some sort of prince asking for a dance.
“I need to pay”, you sighed out, reaching into your pocket. You caught a glimpse of your watch around your wrist, 7:55. You felt your body move on its own as you grabbed your journal and paged to the previous day. Your eyes widened when you read the times of your agenda, you spent more time than you usually would at Topped Off. You felt anxiety rush over your body, every muscle in your body screamed at you to leave and go home, to continue your day that you planned out.
Breathing faster than normal, you lifted your head with your sweaty hand which held onto your journal tightly. Your nervous green eyes locked on the blue ones from earlier, your breathing slowed and your expression softened; he kept his eyes locked onto yours, there was some sort of magic inside them, how he didn't have to say a word for the fear to just completely vanish, like it never existed.
Were you really that scared about the rapid changes, to the point where you'd freak out over being 5 minutes over time? The thought frightened you. "I already paid, come on”, Blake said, his hand now stretched out in front of you to take it. Your gaze shifted off his hand and into his piercing eyes. He noticed the fear inside them and waited patiently until you were ready.
Would you take the first step, the first step to just letting go, the step that could change your whole perspective on life?
You lowered your hand onto his, your eyes not leaving his for a second, his fingers gently wrapping around yours. You put your scarf back on as you both walked out of the café hand-in-hand, well, more like Blake dragging you out. You clung onto him like a baby learning to walk for the first time. The cold air brushed your skin once again, sending shivers running all throughout your body. The quiet that you once heard was washed out with the sound of honking cars, pedestrians chatting and sidewalk entrepreneurs. Blake walked slightly in front of you, his hand still holding onto yours, slowing his pace when you passed a large group of pedestrians and continued down the sidewalk.
“Sorry about that, 8am rush is pretty hectic in this part of town”, Blake chuckled out and rubbed the back of his neck nervously. You squeezed your journal tighter in your hand as you brought it close your chest, still feeling nervous. “Why did you pay for me? I could’ve done that”, you said, remembering the money that was still in your pocket. “It's nothing, plus, you're one of our regular members at Topped Off”, he said, smiling brighter than before. “Topped Off doesn’t have members”, you whispered under your breath. “I'm nice...”,Blake said, lowering his body so that your eyes would meet, “Would that be a better answer for you?”
“Thank you”, you said, muzzling your face deeper into your scarf. You didn't know if you were hiding from the cold or the fact that he made you blush. “One more thing…”, he said reaching over you, “This is mine for the day.” Blake took your journal from the clutches of your hand and held it above his head. “Hey! Give that back”, you protested at him, hopping on your tippy toes trying to retrieve your journal. You lifted your hand up, trying to get the journal back in your hands. He grabbed your hand gently, still dangling the book above your head like a child.
“I promised you one day of relaxation. Don’t think you can do that if you're hanging onto this thing all day", he said, shaking the journal that was still in his possession. This system you built up for yourself was slowly tumbling down right before your eyes, by a bulldozer named Blake Taylor. A boy that no matter how long you looked at, it was impossible to find a single flaw. The very person who promised you a day, a single day where you would be routine-free.
You walked with him down the street, passing all the sidewalk shops and food stalls. Your eyes followed his every movement from observing his body language to the way he played with the chain that hung from his jeans. Stopping suddenly, causing you to walk into his back, Blake turned to face you with the most dorky smile plastered on his face. He let go of your hand and stood behind you, your eyes continued to follow him, exactly what he wanted. The warmth of his hand still lingered in yours, part of you wanted that warmth to return, but you insisted to yourself that it was because of the cold.
He placed his hands on top of your head and slowly slid them downwards, covering your eyes. “What are you doing?” you asked him, "You're gonna dirty my glasses”, you added. Blake did not respond but you could hear him snickering and laughing under his breath. “Oh come on! Where's the fun if I tell you where we're going?” he asked, you sighed as you went along with whatever he was planning, walking like this with him for a while until he stopped.
“Ta-dah!”, he exclaimed as he removed his hands from your eyes, “A...a wreck room?”, you said, slightly confused, turning to face him while you raised an eyebrow. “Yes! You can get all that stress and frustration out”, Blake said circling his hand over your face. “And who said i was stressed and frustrated?” you said as your expression changed into complete disregard. “Lesson 2, never question Blake Taylor”, he said pointing at his temple, "Okay I Know it's not the most relaxing thing to do… but how fun would it be to go smashing stuff with a big hammer?" He asked.
You had to admit that sounded fun.
“A mind troubled by doubt cannot focus on the course to victory - Arthur Golden”, Blake said, “Have you just read every book with inspirational quotes in them?". Blake laughed at your clear attack at him. His laughing stopped as he stretched his hand out, waiting for you to come to him, for you to take his hand.
You took his hand and as soon as you did he raced towards the door excitedly. You held your scarf as you two ran like little children, you let out a slight chuckle as you made your way to the front doors. Blake entered first and immediately went to the front desk to get tickets. You stood in the middle of the lobby, slowly making a 360 rotation, admiring the interior. You heard Blake thank the ticket clerk and felt his hand enter yours once more, dragging you to the safety gear rack where Blake helped you put the safety goggles and explained the rules to you. You started to get lost in his eyes instead of paying attention to what he was saying. He smiled and grabbed the massive hammer next to him, swinging it over his shoulder like some construction worker.
You both entered the room, you stood in the corner, remembering your journal that you were told to leave in the waiting room. Blake noticed you fidgeting with the hem on your shirt and took a step closer to you. “Hey, come one, just try it. It might help”, he said handing you the hammer and gestured to the plasterboard wall in front of you. You gripped onto the hammer tightly and took a swing at the wall, leaving a massive hole in the centre. You breathed heavily and stared at the hole, feeling a hundred times better than earlier. It was like that wall was the imaginary wall you built around yourself in your mind, the wall that was blocking you from being free and man it felt good. You let out a breathy laugh, smiling the brightest Blake has ever seen on you.
“Now, how’d that feel?” he smirked, “The best way to lighten your mood is to lift the weight of the world off your shoulders - Rob Laino”, you replied. Grinning from ear to ear Blake replied, "Look who's quoting authors now”. The time flew by as you were in your white jumpsuit and the hammer on your shoulder, destroying the wall that kept you from your freedom.
Exiting the wreck room, you stood outside in the snow facing Blake, his smile never once left his face after he saw how much better you were. You smiled realising that you haven't thought about your journal for a single moment, not once did you feel the overwhelming need to catalogue your life. You felt free, like the chains binding you had simply lifted off you. “Here”, he said, handing you back your journal. You took the journal and tucked it under your arm, not opening it at all. “Wow, Blondie. I'm impressed”, Blake said, feeling like a proud teacher.
“What? No comment about your lessons?”, you asked. “I don't think you need anymore”, Blake said, laughing at how you actually remembered his ‘lessons’. “See you tomorrow, Blondie”, he said, as he turned around and began to walk off. “What happened to ‘Give me a day’?”, you shouted, letting out a choked laugh, shocked that he was just leaving. “I have a second shift! And that last part was for dramatic affect! Your ruining it” he said shouting slightly as he turned around and began to walk backwards slowly.
“What do you think this is, some cheesy book!” you shouted back at him, laughing so hard you couldn't hear his reply. He playfully rolled his eyes and kept walking backwards, smiling at you and eyes still locked onto yours. You smiled, shaking your head. “Yeah, see you tomorrow”, you whispered to yourself before turning around and walking home. With your journal still unopened and tucked under your arm, you looked up at the sky, watching the snowfall.
“Tomorrow it is”