I was slowly walking down the street. Very slowly. The ice from the previous snowy days was slick with anticipation of my demise. I will not fall, I.will.not.fall. I said to myself over and over, frantically willing balance. Staring continuously at my feet, I failed to notice the man walking behind me until he was close enough for me to feel his breath on my neck, its warmth amplified by my flavorless-popsicle-like condition. My chest grew tight with fear and crisp breaths. I wanted to run away, quicken my step and somehow reach safety. I silently cursed my caffeine withdrawal and my penchant for fancy coffee drinks that fueled my one AM trek to Starbucks. Just as my heart began to reach a deafening decibel, the silence was broken by two icy words. “Excuse me.”

You are making your way down the street like an errant Weeble, unsteady on your feet. How many times will you wobble before you fall down? You walk slowly, arms outstretched, with your eyes glued to the ice, as if you can stare it into melted submission. You’ve made it a few feet before you notice that you are not alone. A man is walking in your path, coming up closely from behind. You panic and immediately begin questioning why you couldn’t just make coffee at home. You just had to have a fancy white peppermint mocha in the Starbucks cup that fits perfectly into your right hand. At one in the morning. You’re such a non-caffeinated idiot. Before you can berate yourself any further, the man passes swiftly by. You think you hear him say something, but all you can really hear is your heart beating in your ears.

She made her way down the street holding up the legs of her penguin print pajama pants. As she took another step with her left foot, she slid a few inches, suddenly forgetting her need for dry ankles, spreading her arms like she was priming for a rough landing. The ice patch stretched the length of the sidewalk, slippery remnants of the frigid weather from the days before. She was making her way to Starbucks for a fancy pick-me-up drink that would fuel the procrastination-induced frantic night of homework ahead. Behind her, a taxi driver was walking back to his cab, clutching his half-full 7-11 cup of coffee tightly in his hands. The roads had been hard to navigate the last few days, and he had to work overtime to make up for the lost fares. He passed the girl, eager to get out of the cold, saying a quick “Excuse me.” as he passed by.


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