Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: TOURIST ATTRACTION(S) (natural or man-made) (08/06/15)
- TITLE: A Change of Plans
By Francy Judge
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It was the day before Halloween, and I had plans. As an art student in New York City, I always had something to do, but this weekend would be unique. Not every day I got invited to a coven with witches on their favorite day of the year. I was couldn’t wait to go. Who knew covens existed in real life? Erica had opened my eyes to her world.
My roommate didn’t look thrilled. Leslie’s eyebrows arched, and her eyes grew large. “Hmm. Sounds interesting. Why don’t you come with Sue and me to a harvest party at the church uptown?”
“Thanks, but I already told Erica I’d go with her.” I didn’t mention how dull her party sounded in comparison to a witch’s costume party.
I cracked the window open to let the crisp air of a chilly October evening drift inside. Our one room studio apartment smelled of peanuts roasting from the food cart vendor across the street, followed by truck exhaust fumes as traffic rolled past our Second Avenue apartment. As I began to design my costume, the phone rang.
That call meant the end of my plans. I couldn’t say no to a family friend who asked if I’d take her nephew from Germany touring the city. On Halloween.
“Can you believe I have to be a tour guide tomorrow?” I complained.
Leslie shook her head like she understood my disappointment, but her mouth smirked. “That’s terrible, but maybe you’ll have a good time.”
Jon was pleasant looking with blond hair and a wide smile with dimples, but tall and skinny and about ten years older than me. He carried a backpack as if he were hiking through the city. He wore his khaki pants a size too large and cinched in a black belt. His pale blue shirt matched his eyes. I’m not sure if his clothes said tourist or his mannerisms, but it was obvious before he even opened his mouth to attempt an English sentence.
After living in the city for two years, I fit in with the New York scene—dressing in my own designs, walking fast, ignoring the people around me. I didn’t want to look like I was here on vacation.
“So where would you like to go?” I tried to sound enthusiastic.
“De Empire State Building. And the Halloween Parade.”
He didn’t speak too much, just a lot of adjectives as his head tilted back to view the skyscrapers. “Nice, high to the clouds, shiny. Smells bad. Smells good.”
I hadn’t been to the Empire State Building since I was little and could hardly remember the trip. When you live in the city, you don’t go where the tourists go. But here I was, on the elevator with a man whose face lit up like a child on a rollercoaster for the first time.
“Look,” he said, pointing to the numbers in the elevator. “One hundred and two stories! Wow!”
“Wow!” I agreed. That was a bit awesome to comprehend. We got off at the eighty sixth floor observatory.
We both said amazing at the same time. The view was more impressive than I remembered. To see the tops of skyscrapers and the distance to the street, felt like we were sitting on a cloud. The lights twinkled everywhere, and the moon seemed to be rising over the buildings, straight across from us.
He took my hand in his. “Very romantic.” Then he leaned toward me like he was trying to plant a kiss on my face. I ducked. That was enough of that attraction.
“Okay, time to leave to see that parade.”
The ride down tickled my stomach as I felt like the ground were dropping from under my feet. I was happy to reach the first floor.
I didn’t get to go to the coven, but wore my lightning bolt costume to the parade. After watching twenty minutes of the strangest costumes and trying not to bump into people, I said goodbye to Jon and shook his hand.
Turns out Jon was an answer to prayer. I didn’t know Leslie prayed all night that I wouldn’t be able to go to the coven. Who knows what could’ve happened that night—especially since I never say no. And I survived being a tourist for a day.
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