Chipped pink nail-polish. That’s the first thing he noticed about her. Jacob suffers from a severe case of OCD of having things kept in the proper manner that her chipped pink nail paint caught his eye. It made him uneasy. Her face was hidden behind a newspaper. So he couldn’t see her. But looking at the way she was dressed, Jacob was certain she was a well-educated and a working woman. Maybe my mother would also have had these nails, if she was busy taking care of me, dad and if she was also working. Who knows? He looks back at the woman and notices that she carried with her a satchel, which was made of leather and a name tag hung from its corner. Something was written on it. And Jacob tilted his head to read it. But just like everything else, when he sets his mind to know something, however silly it may be, he does find out what it was. And on this subway ride to work, he really did want to know what was written on that name tag. He looked closer and found a neat, rather artistic handwriting that wrote the following words on it: “Sunshine in your day”
For a moment Jacob was disappointed. He probably expected her name on it. Or maybe an address. Not that he was going to follow her there, but he just expected something and finding something totally contradictory was a little unsettling. But it was a pleasant thought anyway. “Sunshine in your day” Who writes that on a bag?
The woman moved, almost as if she knew someone was watching her and Jacob turned to face the window. The man next to him informed him that this was where he was supposed to get off. Jacob had earlier told him that he was new to the city and that he didn’t know his way around. In his excitement he even told him that it was his first day at his dream job. Jacob’s excitement almost passed off to the man and he started a never-ending conversation with him about his life and his children. But somewhere in the midst of the conversation the man got a phone call after which he never spoke again. Until now of course. Jacob was kind of sad. He liked it when he made conversations with people. In his head he was already assuming all the bad messages that the phone call conveyed to this man that made him so upset.
“Maybe his wife had a fight with him”
“His kid must have fallen sick”
Jacob had the worst explanations in his mind and only prayed that it wasn’t any of them.
“Maybe he just forgot that he was talking to me”, he said to himself, hoping for the best.
He got off at his station and turned back to look at the woman with the chipped nails. But she wasn’t on her seat. Maybe she got off with him. But he wouldn’t know, after all he didn’t see her face. Shrugging off the weight of these two unknown people, Jacob made his way to his office. A sprawling building, Jacob felt proud knowing that he landed this job by his own self. Jacob did that often. He believed in giving credit to one’s own self. His dad never gave him any credit for his achievements; big or small. So he learnt to do it for himself. He’d even read out congratulatory speeches to himself in the shower.
“Those days are gone”, said the woman in his head.
This was the first thing she said to him since last night. “Don’t read my thoughts” he told her, trying very hard to keep his mind closed and away from her. But he knew that was futile. She always knew what he was thinking, even before he did.
“What does she mean those days are gone?”, he thought to himself as the elevator doors opened to his new office, “Reveal Publishers”. The words stood in bold in front of him behind a graphite grey wall; one of the best publishing companies in New York that supports and “reveals” fresh talent every year.
Jacob stood in front of it for a while before actually realizing what a great deal it meant to him. A woman at the front desk calls out to him, “can I help you sir?”. He walks up to her and says proudly, “I’m Jacob O’Brady. I’m supposed to be joining today as an Editor with you. Ms. Jordan had interviewed me.” The woman looked through a computer in front of her and instantly flashes a big smile.
“Oh yes! Mr. Jacob! How nice of you to choose Reveal! We’re so happy to have you on board. Let me take you to Ms. Jordan; our CEO.”, she said, getting up from her desk carrying a notepad and a pen. She takes Jacob through the main entrance and leads him to a large glass cabin. Jacob stands outside, trying to keep his nerves calm, when the doors open. The girl tells him to go in, and Jacob takes a deep breath as he steps in. Just as he steps in a woman is making her way out of the cabin. Jacob looks at her and nods politely, but the woman freezes!
She stands in his way, frozen solid to the ground. She stares into his eyes but doesn’t let him pass. Jacob awkwardly asks her to move, but she doesn’t. Its as if she stopped breathing for a moment and suddenly she lets out a gasp, taking in a large chunk of air. She runs away almost pushing Jacob aside. Jacob is stunned. Its his time to freeze now. He looks inside the cabin to find Ms. Jacob behind her desk equally stunned. She apologizes to him and asks him to come in. Jacob settles down and has a glass of water.
“Sorry for her behaviour. She’s usually not that way. I don’t know what got into her”, Ms. Jordan says.
Jacob shakes his head as if to brush it aside.
“Maybe you reminded her of someone”, Ms. Jordan laughs.
Jacob laughs with her but the words don’t leave him.
“Maybe…”, the woman in his head repeats.