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Gerard Butler GALS

A New York Moment


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A New York Moment

The City has a mind of its own. It marches to the beat of its own drum. It beckons you in, entices you with its wiles, and seduces you with its wares. Sometimes, it lets you go. But eventually, it always draws you back.

At least that's how it happened for me.

I walked down the crowded sidewalk, taking in the sights and sounds of my beloved City; storing up the memories, savoring them for later. Nothing escaped my attention: the sweet mixed aroma wafting from the flower bodega, the thick, biting, garlic scent as I passed by the open door of the bakery, the incessant and intermittent honks of the taxi cabs that traversed 8th Avenue, and the gentle rumbling as hundreds of pairs of feet traipsed the walk around me.

The clouds had descended on the City that day, lingering, dark, and ominous, but they could not touch my mood. I'd left the City too long. It was my heart, my soul, and my muse. Though I'd crossed the country and settled in Los Angeles for a good reason, the City would always be my first love.

I wasn't back on vacation. I wasn't visiting friends or family. I wasn't sight-seeing. I was City-seeing. I had flown across the country for no greater purpose than to visit my favorite hot dog vendor and sit in the Park on a sunny day. Those were the little things I craved. I just wanted to be. To be, in the City.

I'd already walked several miles that day. Although I didn't set out of my picturesque Village guest house with a plan, I had figured that on this, my first day back, I would likely spend the day wandering; getting reacquainted. To that end, I was wearing a comfortable pair of jeans, a Shamrock green tank top, and a pair of athletic shoes. Anticipating that it would be a bit chilly that day, I'd grabbed my black zip-up hooded sweatshirt.

Taking a lean on a window ledge, I watched the faces of those who passed me by. Most visages were focused. Places to go, people to see. Some days, the City is all business. A few eyes glanced speculatively into mine before quickly averting and continuing on their way.

The thunderclap overhead, booming out of nowhere, turned my face skyward. The clouds had darkened since I'd last taken notice. I felt one heavy raindrop plop onto my shoulder. Then another on my head just behind my ear. Another on my left forearm. Spots began to appear on the pavement around me, and I could sense the urgency of the people nearby. Several seemed to fly to the streetcorner, throwing up their arms and beckoning the taxis that were zooming by. A few calmly reached into shoulder bags and retrieved compact travel umbrellas. I had just enough time to consider making a last minute purchase from a street vendor when the sky opened up and the rain began to pour down on me with unnatural force.

I turned the corner and ran along 14th Street, catching sight of my goal. Though I'd had no destination when I set out that morning, I surely had one now. The awning of the condominium was only several yards ahead, but it seemed to take me forever to cover the distance. I threw the New York Times that I'd been holding above my head in a vain attempt to shield myself from the onslaught of precipitation. It was a rather meaningless gesture, as the downpour had caught me off-guard and I was already quite soaked. In fact, all it accomplished was to hinder my vision so I didn't see the man sheltering under the awning until I'd already run into him.

The contact jarred me and sent me back a few steps as I ran full tilt into his side. He reached out and placed a strong hand on my wrist, catching me before I fell back outside the protection of the canopy and onto the sodden sidewalk below. He released me once I'd steadied myself again.

"Thanks," I smiled self-consciously, letting my newspaper fall to the side and glancing up into his eyes for the first time.

"No bother," he answered dismissively, meeting me with his own grin.

It was seconds before it registered that he'd spoken. I was lost in his face. It was a face I knew only too well. I'd seen him in enough films to recognize that handsome visage anywhere.

I was suddenly that girl again; the one who had come to the City at eighteen seeking life, love, and adventure, with no idea what was in store for me. I became the shy, naïve teenager who second-guessed herself at every step and based her self-worth on what everyone else thought of her. In the few seconds that I had glanced into his enchanting green eyes, I had completely regressed and unlearned all the lessons that the City had taught me.

I shook my head and laughed, suddenly very interested in the sidewalk at my feet. I wasn't that girl. I hadn't been that girl for some time. I was the strong, formidable, business-savvy woman, with unerring focus and unshakeable nerves.

"What?" he asked, with amusement in his voice. Apparently I hadn't hidden my surprise as well as I had been hoping for. He had seen the change go through me.

"The rain," I responded shortly, nodding out at the continuing downpour around us. I didn't want to acknowledge that I recognized him, anymore than my traitorous reaction already had. He deserved some anonymity, or at least the appearance thereof.

Still, I couldn't keep my eyes from wandering his way after another few minutes. He glanced back to me as well, and we shared a shy smile as our eyes once again averted.

"Doesn't seem to be letting up, does it?" he ventured slowly.

"Sure doesn't," I agreed, leaning out to the edge of the awning and risking a glance up at the angry sky.

"I hope you weren't headed anywhere important."

"Just out for a walk," I told him politely. "You?"

"Headed back from a business meeting," he informed me. Out of the corner of my eye I could see him remove the earbud that he'd had in since I first walked up and slip it, and the cellphone that it was attached to, into his left jeans pocket.

Silence fell between us again, and we both watched the spatter of the drops, listening to the rhythmic droning of the rain on the canvas overhead, seeking some indication that the storm was letting up. There was no such indication. The City was crying.

"The way I see it," I began, turning and speaking directly to him for the first time. I hesitated slightly, losing focus and tripping over my desire as I once again gazed into his eyes. "We have two options," I resumed. "We either make the mad dash for the shop," I said, pointing back down toward 8th Avenue, indicating the souvenir shop that was sure to have umbrellas for sale, "or, we buy an apartment in this building."

Though it was a terrible joke, he was kind enough to laugh. This time, it was his turn to lean out from under the awning to examine the clouds above. He pulled back, seemingly satisfied that the rain wasn't likely to cease in the near future.

I turned away again, not wanting to stare, but glanced back to him after only a few moments, as I felt his eyes on me. He was looking at me mischievously, a crooked half-smile settling on his roguish façade. I saw his eyes travel up and down my body, though what they were seeking I had no idea.

"My vote is for secret option three," he answered finally. Before I could manage to raise my eyebrows in a quizzical fashion, he had grabbed me by the hand and, taking two large steps backwards, pulled me out of the safety of the awning above, and into the pouring rain.

A startled cry escaped from my lips as the chilly rain stung me all over. He was still holding my hand, down at my side, though we were only a few inches apart. I stared up at him, mesmerized. I watched the water dripping down from his now soaked and flattened hair, running like rivers over his shapely cheeks to his chin. The smile didn't leave his face.

I looked up at the sky and closed my eyes, now savoring the feel of the wetness on my face. I opened my mouth, drinking the moment, and laughed. I let my eyelids retreat and lowered my chin, looking back at him again. By now, my clothes were all completely soaked. My shirt was clinging to my wet torso, and the soles of my shoes were filled with water. They made an indescribably enjoyable squishing sound as I shifted my weight from one foot to the other.

"Didn't you ever play in the rain as a kid?" he asked me, still deeply enjoying the moment.

I nodded and laughed again, wiping my hand across my face, squeegeeing the moisture off before it was quickly replaced by the water dripping down from my mat of soaked curls. I thanked my lucky stars that I was wearing waterproof mascara, though faraway in my mind I imagined that the rivers of black streaming down my face could only make this situation that much more picturesque. I was enjoying the moment as well.

As we looked deeply into each others eyes, his smile faded. He leaned forward, painfully slowly, and my smile receded as well when I realized what was coming. Before I could adequately prepare myself--which may have taken a lifetime--his lips brushed against mine, very softly. In a breath, it was over, and he pulled back, sheepishly.

"Come on," he said, tugging on my hand, which he still clasped from when he had pulled me into the rain. He turned and took one step further into the storm, urging me with him down the street. "My place isn't far from here. We can dry off and warm up."

When his eyes once again met mine though, it was no longer necessary; his childlike gesture and sweet smile had warmed my very soul.

The City lives, and inspires life.

And sometimes, the City even has a sense of humor.

Steph

Edited by AbandonThought
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That was absolutely wonderful, Steph. You really have a way of pulling the images out of the story. I really hope you decide to contiue with this. I would love to read more.

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Steph,

AMAZING short story. I am so impressed. Your vocabulary is colorful, your wind-up is beautiful and you put that ball right across the plate.

I feel inspired to go to my own writing and try my hand at it. It's been years since I've written in short story form. Thanks for waking up my slumbering imagination.

Sharon :wave:

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  • 2 weeks later...

Steph, you need to find a way to start submitting your stories to magazines or whatever is out there now. You need to get published. You are too good to write just for us, although I sure appreciate it. It's time to get serious and write a book or short story for publication. If a friend of mine by the name of Robert James Waller from Cedar Falls, Iowa could do it with a night's writing that gave him, "The Bridges of Madison County" then you can do it also. He was the Dean of Business at U.of N. Iowa. It can happen to you. You just have to get a story in your head and go with it. That's what happened to Robert. He wasn't writing for publication, he was writing because the story was in his head and he had to put it down on paper. He couldn't stop and wrote all night until it was finished. His book had no publicity, it moved by word of mouth across the country and around the world. It could happen to you. Make it happen!!

~HUGS~ Kathy

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Steph, you need to find a way to start submitting your stories to magazines or whatever is out there now. You need to get published. You are too good to write just for us, although I sure appreciate it. It's time to get serious and write a book or short story for publication. If a friend of mine by the name of Robert James Waller from Cedar Falls, Iowa could do it with a night's writing that gave him, "The Bridges of Madison County" then you can do it also. He was the Dean of Business at U.of N. Iowa. It can happen to you. You just have to get a story in your head and go with it. That's what happened to Robert. He wasn't writing for publication, he was writing because the story was in his head and he had to put it down on paper. He couldn't stop and wrote all night until it was finished. His book had no publicity, it moved by word of mouth across the country and around the world. It could happen to you. Make it happen!!

~HUGS~ Kathy

That's my dream! That's my plan!

I am submitting my stuff to literary journals, but to be perfectly honest, I'm not sure it's unique enough for serious consideration. As silly as it sounds, I think I have a better chance of getting a novel published. Novels are published for the general public, whereas these lit journals are for the writing community, which intimidates me a little. I'm still doing it though.

I've been thinking about my novel a lot more lately, and one night a few weeks ago I had a rush of ideas for it. I spent a long time (at 3am) doing character development. I'm getting more into that mindset. I can't start that project until I finish Uncovering The Past though, because I don't have the capacity to multi-task in that way. :lol:

I'm also on the final stages of my book of poetry that I'll be self-publishing. I've been much more proactive lately about all my writing, and I know it's mostly because of all of you gals and your encouragement.

Well, off to write another short story! :)

Steph

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Steph, you need to find a way to start submitting your stories to magazines or whatever is out there now. You need to get published. You are too good to write just for us, although I sure appreciate it. It's time to get serious and write a book or short story for publication. If a friend of mine by the name of Robert James Waller from Cedar Falls, Iowa could do it with a night's writing that gave him, "The Bridges of Madison County" then you can do it also. He was the Dean of Business at U.of N. Iowa. It can happen to you. You just have to get a story in your head and go with it. That's what happened to Robert. He wasn't writing for publication, he was writing because the story was in his head and he had to put it down on paper. He couldn't stop and wrote all night until it was finished. His book had no publicity, it moved by word of mouth across the country and around the world. It could happen to you. Make it happen!!

~HUGS~ Kathy

That's my dream! That's my plan!

I am submitting my stuff to literary journals, but to be perfectly honest, I'm not sure it's unique enough for serious consideration. As silly as it sounds, I think I have a better chance of getting a novel published. Novels are published for the general public, whereas these lit journals are for the writing community, which intimidates me a little. I'm still doing it though.

I've been thinking about my novel a lot more lately, and one night a few weeks ago I had a rush of ideas for it. I spent a long time (at 3am) doing character development. I'm getting more into that mindset. I can't start that project until I finish Uncovering The Past though, because I don't have the capacity to multi-task in that way. :lol:

I'm also on the final stages of my book of poetry that I'll be self-publishing. I've been much more proactive lately about all my writing, and I know it's mostly because of all of you gals and your encouragement.

Well, off to write another short story! :)

Steph

Good for you!! I'm glad you are pursuing your writing in both areas. The more you write the better you will become at your craft. I have read novels that aren't written as well as you write. Keep it up. In many novels some authors print their Internet address and love people to write them. Have you ever contacted any authors about getting advice on your writing career, as in how to get started in getting your work published, etc. I have Sadie Montgomery's email address. She wrote the five sequel books on the Phantom. We have corresponded about her writing many times. She also teaches writing skills. If you would like to write her and ask advice I can give you her email address. She is very nice and open to everyone. You can see her books on Amazon.com. Just SEARCH her name on Amazon to see her books. She is a member of GBGALS and GB.NET.

~HUGS~ Kathy

Edited by Forbes girl
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Good for you!! I'm glad you are pursuing your writing in both areas. The more you write the better you will become at your craft. I have read novels that aren't written as well as you write. Keep it up. In many novels some authors print their Internet address and love people to write them. Have you ever contacted any authors about getting advice on your writing career, as in how to get started in getting your work published, etc. I have Sadie Montgomery's email address. She wrote the five sequel books on the Phantom. We have corresponded about her writing many times. She also teaches writing skills. If you would like to write her and ask advice I can give you her email address. She is very nice and open to everyone. You can see her books on Amazon.com. Just SEARCH her name on Amazon to see her books. She is a member of GBGALS and GB.NET.

~HUGS~ Kathy

I would love for you to give me Sadie's e-mail! I read her first book, and bought the next two but haven't gotten around to them yet. Too many others on my "to read" pile! :D

I would love getting tips on avenues to pursue for getting stuff published, but I'm always hesitant to ask for writing tips. My writing is so intensely personal to me that the idea of someone tearing it apart is very painful. Also, everyone has a different style, and I'd hate for someone else to suggest stylistic changes and basically alter how I write.

I wish I were 100% committed to writing as a career, but it's like I'm two people. I want to write, AND I want to be an FBI Agent like I'd always planned. I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to be fulfilled doing one or the other, but I'm also not sure I can make it work to have both. *Sigh* Life is too complicated.

Steph

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Steph...I'll PM you Sadie's email address. I agree, you should keep your writing style and don't tamper with it. Sadie can give you pointers and suggestions on how to publish your work, etc.

Why can't you be an FBI agent and write also? Many women write on the side until they make an income on their writing that allows them to write full time. Don't think negative think positive. It can be done.

~HUGS~ Kathy

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Steph...I'll PM you Sadie's email address. I agree, you should keep your writing style and don't tamper with it. Sadie can give you pointers and suggestions on how to publish your work, etc.

Why can't you be an FBI agent and write also? Many women write on the side until they make an income on their writing that allows them to write full time. Don't think negative think positive. It can be done.

~HUGS~ Kathy

I second all of this. You have an amazing style and a good editor/mentor should not get in its way.

I have enjoyed everything you have written and that says alot. Good luck!

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