Friday, April 4, 2008

Eliza continued...New Orleans

It was a crisp March morning and the sun; a red ball high in the sky cast a rosy glow over the French Quarter. As flowering plants of every possible hue cascaded from iron balconies. The sweet notes of Jazz and Blues and Zydeco mixed and mingled as they drifted lazily down the street. So different from New York she mused. Here the buildings were a kaleidoscope of color, like someone had opened a box of crayons and decided to experiment with each one. Eliza meandered her way through, tarot card readers, street vendors and musicians in search of Café Du Monde. Just the thought of beignets and chicory coffee made her mouth water.

The escape to New Orleans had been nerve wracking. She had contacted Scott while Michael was on a business trip. Hearing his voice, she had broken down sobbing and her story had come out in short bursts as she struggled to hold back the tears. Unbelievably, he was able to help her get a small sublet in the St. Philip apartments. A friend of his was working in Dubai for the next three years and he needed a tenant for his place. She had flown out to California the next day. Making it more difficult for Michael to find her, she had placed a large portion of her savings in Scott’s account and he was able to handle her bills. The drive to New Orleans was a great opportunity to mend their friendship and the closer they got to their destination the more relaxed she became. A sense of freedom washed over her and she and Scott talked and laughed as if they had never been apart. Going through Texas was painful; the highways littered with bluebonnets and Indian paintbrush were bringing her closer to her parents. But she knew stopping to see them was an impossibility and this weighed heavily on her, but Scott assured her he would get word to them that she was safe.

Having been so consumed with leaving, she was now faced with the problem of what to do with herself. The money she had saved would not last forever. Noticing a newspaper stand outside the café, she stopped and bought a paper.
Sipping her coffee she perused the employment ads and one stood out from the rest:

“Small Attorney’s office looking for outgoing and friendly person to help with light clerical duties. This is a unique position. We’re not only looking for someone who will work hard, but they must have a big heart.” 2121 Canal Street, Ask for Sarah

Eliza was intrigued. The office was in walking distance from her apartment. Finishing her coffee and beignet, she decided to go apply for the job. What the hell, she thought. All they can do is say no. But first she needed to change her attire. The apartment was small, but Eliza didn’t mind. It was fully furnished and she was able to add a few personal touches, which created a very cozy place. And she loved the floor to ceiling French doors that opened up to the courtyard below. Opening the closet door she pulled out a black pencil skirt and olive colored blouse. Freshening up in the bathroom, she brushed back the unruly curls and placed a hair clip at the nape of her neck. Satisfied with her reflection, she headed toward Canal Street.

What I’m I doing? Eliza thought bitterly. I haven’t held a job in eight years and I don’t even have a resume. I will just have to wing it she rationalized. Plagued by self-doubt, she kept walking; she stopped in front of a claret colored building with an iron gate. A brass plaque read 2121 Canal Street, Sarah Duvernay Attorney at Law. Eliza pushed open the gate…

copyright Sherry Obsheatz

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