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There was nothing better in mind to do today that I could think of to waste the afternoon away, so I figured riding along the coast of the beach would be a better adventure than nothing. I zoomed down the smooth pavement bordering the beaches edge in my faded red beach cruiser, clad in just my white bikini top, high waisted ripped jean shorts, and a lavender colored floral cardigan kimono. It was a warm and sunny day out still and despite being smack dab in the middle of summer, the weather was pretty much always up in the 90s in California whether Sumer called for it or not. So down the streets I cruised, an ear bud in one ear while I people watched with the sun on my back.
There was a considerable amount of people along the street, the slight disparity from a typical congested crowd due to the fact that it was just a Wednesday. Which meant more room for me to lazily swerve left and right in great big arcs. It was during one of these arcs, as I hummed along to the song on my playlist, that I would witness the greatest stumble I’d ever seen in my life.
Just ahead of me, a couple of feet away, a girl bounding out of line of an ice cream truck came into my view. She had a tray full of waffle ice cream cones, probably about five, and could’ve easily hopped over the little curb onto the sidewalk she was nearing with essential ease. Except that she didn’t. Instead, and to my flabbergasted horror, she’d misjudged the height right as she bounced off the ground and totally lost her footing. And I mean LOST IT.
Her feet went every which way to keep up with the momentum while she had the tray of ice cream cones thrusted out in front of her to keep from dropping right out of her hands. For a second, I thought she could actually pull it off and recover as she managed to traverse the full length of the sidewalk, but then she bobbed and weaved and eventually dipped down face first off the edge of the walk into the sand. There’s about a foot high inclination between the street’s wide sidewalk and where the beach begins and the girl had seriously dived right down there, from everybody else’s obscurity.
My mouth was agape as I stopped in my tracks, unsure of what I just saw and if I was still in the real world, as everyone passed by without a notice. I scurried towards the edge of the sidewalk where she’d fallen and peered down to see her sprawled flat on her stomach, face down, and the ice cream cones an absolute scattered mess. I rushed off of my bike and hopped down the edge to see if she was ok, a little worried if she was still breathing or not.
“Hey! You alright?” She didn’t move at the sound of my voice and just laid there, defeated. I picked her up from her shoulder and under her arm and finally, she tried to get up. “That was a really bad fall. Are you hurt, or anything?”
Her bleach blonde bed of hair, which was dark at the roots, parted from her face as she lifted her head and I realized she was actually pretty cute, amidst all the sand on her face. She winced and groaned as I got her on her feet and huffed as I stood her up straight. I watched her for a second, concerned the fall might’ve scattered her brain until eventually, she spoke.
“The ice cream…” She uttered dismally.
My lips went up in a tight line as I stared at her with a poker face. What?
“I totally…dropped all of them.” The sadness in her voice was serious business.
I flared my nostrils at the belated comment. No shit.
“Er, um,” I tried to think of something in response to this unexpected dismay at the state of the ice cream cones. No residue of embarrassment or pain lingered on her face. Just disappointment. She reached for her purse and pulled out her wallet, her expression deflated further at the sight of what was probably the fact that she had no money in there. I cleared my throat, “I could buy you some more if you want…” The sight of her was just too pitiful to ignore.
She gave me a look of surprise, her pale green eyes begging. “Seriously? Are you being serious?” She pleaded.
Even I was doubting myself. Was I really going to do this for some random chick just because I felt bad? I sighed. Yes, yes I was. “…Sure. Why not? We all have our bad days. A couple of cones won’t kill me.”
She gave me that look like I was the damn messiah.
After visiting the ice cream truck and witnessing her trip again; banging her knee against the side of the vehicle from tripping on seemingly nothing but her own two feet, I suggested I could hitch her a ride on my bike to where ever it was she was going. I knew the ice cream wasn’t going to last otherwise if I let her be. She asked me if it was really ok and I insisted – after everything I’d seen – just as long as she didn’t drop the tray on my head. I gestured to the wooden rear rack on my cruiser while I swung my tan leg over the bicycle and waited for her. She approached and sat on it sideways; putting an arm around my waist to balance herself. “You good?”
“I’m good.” She replied, all giddy again about her new batch of ice cream.
“Cones are good?”
“Cones Ankara escort are totally good.”
She directed me towards the beach shore so I rode all the way down the wooden strip laid down in a long zigzag across the sand until she told me to stop. She hopped off and called out to a group of people set up near the water. They waved her over and she quickly turned back around to me as she waved back. “Thanks again. You’re, like, the coolest chick I’ve ever met. I owe you big time. I don’t have much right now, but here you go.” She rummaged through the small pocket of her tight jean shorts, sticking out her tongue, and eventually extended her hand palms down to me when she pulled it out.
“Oh no, you’re fine. You don’t need to.” I reassured her. She gestured with her chin to take it, leaving me no choice as her resolute doe like eyes stared me down. I looked at her with uncertainty, but in the end, unfolded my arms to let her put it in my hand. I felt something warm slide into the nook of my palm and then she sprinted off; waving back with a toothy grin on her jubilant face. I glanced down at my hand to see a single crinkled piece of gum.
What the heck.
Since then, it seemed almost without fail, I’d see her around. It was the little coincidences that I didn’t mind so much. Seeing her here and there, being at the same place at the same time. It only became increasingly bizarre when I realized our encounters were starting to become a regular thing, although it was always only me who saw her in the crowd. Or maybe I wasn’t just seeing her more often now but rather realizing her existence in my daily surroundings.
And every time, she was always tripping up or causing a massive scene with her clumsiness. Her feet must’ve been her worst enemy but it was probably her lack of quick reflexes that owed her the bigger apology.
I’d be walking my dog and catch a glimpse of her bicycling with her friends when all of a sudden she’d wipe out. Or one time when I was buying groceries and saw her a couple of sections over shopping too, doing her own thing. As if on cue, she picked up an orange from the bottom of the slanted pile of mounted oranges and caused a chaotic land slide; tumbling down along with the citrus delights as she tried to catch them.
She was a hot and clumsy mess. Every single time. Without fail. I was starting to think she was developing a reputation here in this city, she had to have been. Or maybe she’d already had a hefty reputation and it was just me that had been oblivious. After all, she was really cheerful and kind of quirky, and every time I saw her she was always with a big group of friends. I couldn’t imagine there be no talk about a pretty jolly girl who so happened to be the klutz of the century. Just seeing her would fill me with anxiety but at the same time, I kind of started looking forward to coming across her.
After a couple of weeks, however, I stopped seeing her around. Anywhere I went, she wasn’t there, and eventually, I just forgot and went on with my life. That Friday, I went out for lunch with some friends to some burger place across town. The place was always busy and crowded, but the burgers were worth it. I was already digging into my fries at our table, joking up a storm with my friends as we laughed with our mouths full, when I saw her pass by. What a coincidence, I mouthed.
It was the girl, again. See, from one look at her, you’d probably think she was your typical California girl. The type of girl who was really conceited, wild, party crazy, and snooty. I probably would’ve steered clear of her myself if I hadn’t already known the bit about her that I did. She wore a cute nude colored romper with some accentuating accessories and her nails and makeup done up all stylish. I looked on at her curiously, so fascinated by the contrast her looks offered compared to her personality. Even some of my friends eyed her, some with jealousy, others just not being able to help but look at beauty when they saw it.
My eyes wandered and I noticed the several scars and bruises running along her smooth tanned legs and arms and the couple of band aids covering what was probably recent injuries on her youthful skin. I smirked to myself and couldn’t help but imagine the trip ups she must’ve had to get those bad boys.
Nothing looked out of place in regards to her nearby surroundings that she could potentially trip over, and it was kind of a refresher to see her doing normal things without an incident for once. She turned the corner and continued walking ahead, and because of a recent habit I’d developed over our encounters, unconsciously, my eyes followed her to make sure she didn’t hurt herself. Just when I was satisfied with her safety, I began to turn away, when suddenly, in the corner of my eye, she accidentally stepped on her loose shoelace and hurled forward.
It was as if everything after that happened in slow motion.
My mouth slowly dropped open in astonishment as she took several quick steps to regain her balance, her legs going every which way in a frantic dance Ankara escort bayan only to bash her tray on the corner of the trash can, smacking it right out of her hands. That’s where the fiasco truly began. The tray hit the waste bin at just the right angle and impact for optimal debris explosion and maximum splash effect. In short, her food went flying. Her drink exploded on everyone near and her fries and burger decorated the far walls and chairs. Finally, she fumbled onto the ground in a big grand heap; her legs slapping the tile floor hard.
For a moment, everyone looked on in stunned shock. Then the murmuring began and people started to get up from their seats, but by this point, I was already long gone from my seat. I sprinted towards the fallen girl and kneeled beside her.
“Hey! You ok??” I questioned hurriedly. She slowly lifted herself up and over as I supported her by the arm and under her armpit. Her hair was in disarray and without thinking, I brushed her bangs away from her face and tucked it behind her ear. Blinking several times, trying to shake off her probable concussion, she looked up at me. For a long time she gave me a blank stare, and then like a lightbulb, the life returned to her eyes and her mouth opened in surprise.
“Bubblegum girl! She exclaimed. “Funny running into you here.” There was a sheepish grin on her pained face that was kinda cute but overlooked as I registered her apparent nickname for me.
“Uh yea, how funny. Look, we need to get you up.” I helped her to her feet and gathered some napkins to wipe her off. Some of the other patrons offered to help too and quickly, she was in better shape than before. “I feel like we’re always meeting under such bad circumstances. This has got to be the worst of the bunch though.” I softly laughed, trying to make light of the situation.
She looked at me with wide eyes. “We’ve met several times before?”
I cringed on the inside as I realized I’d given myself away. She must think I’m a stalker or something now. I shifted my gaze. “Well – I mean, not meet meet, j-just that I’ve been seeing a lot of you lately. Really.” I tried to cover. She continued to stare at me blankly until suddenly a red substance began to drip off her right eyebrow. Her head was bleeding. The restaurant went into another uproar as I tried to stop the bleeding and yelled for someone to call 911.
What happened after that was a frenzy of events. The ambulance came, her friends and my own followed us to the hospital, and she was treated for a minor concussion and a laceration on her forehead.
All the while, I’d spent the time during the emergency surgery chatting with her friends in the lobby, who were actually pretty cool, and by nightfall, we all became pretty comfortable with each other. Hours later, she finally came out, her head wrapped in a bundle of bandages. By this point, her parents had already arrived and we’re waiting for their little girl.
I watched her for a moment hugging her parents and joshing around with her friends until I decided it was time to head home. I ushered my friends out the entrance and we all sighed in relief of the whole outcome. However, I didn’t get to take more than two steps when abruptly, I was pulled by my arm. I turned around only to be nose to nose with the girl from before.
“Not so fast, chicka. You really dipping out on me right now?” She looked on at me with bright eyes and a crooked smile. “I owe you. Big. You’re, like, my hero. I can’t let you leave without at least getting your name.”
My mind couldn’t catch up to her speed and I found myself stuttering a bit to answer her. “I-It’s Hayley. And don’t worry about it, being hailed a hero is hardly befitting haha.” I shrugged.
She grabbed both of my hands in hers and pulled me in closer; going off on a hyper tangent. “What’re talkin’ bout? You’re reaaaally nice, you know? Probably the nicest person I’ve ever met. I can’t believe we’ve met before. You know, after our first one. Or I guess before our second one? Anyways! You should’ve said something! We’ve gotta hang out sometime. Hold up, gimme your number and I’ll call you! Oh, better yet, here,” She dropped my hand and beckoned for me to pull out my phone, “c’mon gimme.”
A little apprehensive but reluctantly running to the beat of this girls rhythm, I gave it to her, to which she snatched up and quickly began to press in her number. She handed my phone back.
“I’ve got the memory of an elephant, so you just hold onto that.” She had a triumphant smile on her vibrant face as she offered her hand for me to shake. “My names Tatiana. Tat for short. Man, if you were a guy I could just kiss you right about now,” she boldly blurted, “I’ll be calling you sometime soon so save this space!” She ran back inside, waving behind her as she did and leaving me dumbfounded by the girls candid spirit.
Wasn’t she supposed to be suffering a concussion? And what was that just now about a kiss?
A few days later, I found out the incident at the restaurant had apparently became known as the infamous Burger Joint Escort Ankara Spill. I think there was a video going around about it too, or something like that. I wondered if she was aware of the attention she often got because of her clumsiness. Every time she did have her episodes though, she never seemed to be fazed or embarrassed. Usually I was the one who was on her behalf.
The day she called me – she wasn’t lying when she said she had a good memory – was the day I chose to sleep in. I blinked several times and groaned at the muffled sound of my ringtone blaring underneath my pillow. Ruffling my long mahogany hair away from my face, I fished for my phone and blinked at the unknown number. For a split second, I thought about dismissing the call, but for some reason I had a feeling it was important. I answered it and immediately, an overexcited voice boomed on the other end; making me jump.
“Hayley! What you up to?! Got time for me? Let’s go shopping! How about we meet halfway, yeah? Let’s shoot for 2:30, cya there!” Tatiana rambled. She went on some more about where to meet and what to bring and then finally hung up after an enthusiastic goodbye. The string of information came and went all too fast and I just laid there, still half asleep. Groggily, I glanced at my alarm clock: 2:17. I jerked out of bed and scrambled to get ready.
The minute she saw me when I finally got there – barely in time I might add – she greeted me with a big smile and gave me a hearty hug. A subtle scent of coconut invaded my sensitive nose as she hugged me close to her ample chest. We chatted a bit, small talk as things like this always were, until we boarded the bus that would take us to the shopping center she had in mind.
Tatiana was quite the talker, which I didn’t mind, and I found satisfaction in knowing that she really was the quirky dork that I thought her to be, which was extremely endearing. As we spoke, I found myself liking her more and more.
The bus was a bit crowded when we boarded, so we ended up hovering around the handgrips when the bus began moving. Tatiana was leaning against one of the vertical hand rails while I held onto the handles above our heads with my back to the front of the bus as we watched the outside scenery. It was going to be about a 20 minute ride to our destination, so we weren’t in a rush to try and fill the silence whenever we ran out of things to talk about.
It was in one of these gaps of conversation that I noticed Tatiana’s eyes flutter a bit, until eventually, she couldn’t bother to fight the drowsiness anymore. I watched her head sway lightly from the momentum of the bus, admittedly admiring how pretty she was, and slipped my fingers that had been holding the hand grip between the pole and her forehead before she could bonk her head against it. She rested her delicate head there, against the back of my small hand, her mouth ajar just a tiny bit.
I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself thinking how hopeless the girl was. What a klut-
Suddenly, the bus stopped at a screeching halt, jerking everyone forward. I lurched backwards with Tatiana closely following and slammed against the metallic floor with her on top of me. Instinctively, I had wrapped my arms around her waist mid fall and ended up completely bear hugging her in a disgruntled heap on the floor in the aftermath of the sudden stop.
I groaned at the hard impact and the ache in my back but couldn’t help break out into a whimpering throaty laugh at the irony. It was totally my fault I was on the floor right now because I’d let go of the handgrip and here I was calling Tatiana a klutz.
There were others who’d fallen out of their seats from the momentum too, but as far as I could tell, we were clearly the center of attention. I flew a couple of feet for Christ sake! I tried to shake the laughter off and get a grip as I lightly shook Tatiana to get her attention.
“Tat – Tat you ok?” I tried to stifle the amusement in my voice. She rose her head from my chest and rubbed her nose. She had fallen between my legs and had bumped her nose on my collarbone during the impact; her pelvis hiked up against my own as we laid there.
“I think my nose is broken,” she jokingly whimpered, “why are you laughing? You hit you’re head? This is serious.” The rising chortle in her voice said otherwise though. I couldn’t contain myself.
Eventually, she rose to her knees and pulled me up with her. She held my elbows close, our face almost touching as we breathily giggled. Then we stopped for a second, to regain our composure, but just looking at each other set us off again and we broke into another fit of laughter.
Needless to say, we ended up becoming really close after that day. Frequently, we were calling and texting each other and eventually, our hangouts started to become a regular planned thing. Even our own group of friends started mingling together. Suddenly, Tatiana and I were no loner strangers to each other anymore. How I felt about her though was nothing more than a close friend. She was different, yes, and for some reason I felt I was separating our level of friendship apart from my other friends, which I was aware was a little strange, but she was just so down to earth as a person. I’d never really met anyone so honest and in tune with their self.
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