Peggy sat down. She chose the bench farthest away from the crowd. It was out of the sun, and in late November, on the rare warm, late autumn day, retreating from the sun is not a common choice. That being said, Peggy was not a common girl. Or rather, I suppose, she was not a common woman. The office buildings seemed to have emptied themselves of their human contents, spilling them into the sun, as they sought their short spell of rest; their respite from the usual daily drudgery.
From her vantage point, set back and away from most other people, Peggy could see where the trees and the sky reversed themselves into the ocean. With not even a breeze in the warm air, the ocean was a mirror: the dark green trees raising up at the waters’ edge, also pointed themselves downward, into and through the ocean, as though trying to escape the confines of the upward expectation that people generally held for trees.
Peggy smoothed out her thick, brown, woollen skirt and crossed her ankles. Satisfied that passersby would be duly impressed by the picture she created of herself, as they walked on, enjoying their surprise constitutional for the day. Peggy was unaware how little attention the passersby afforded her. In fact, although she intended to appear shy or retiring by selecting a lonesome bench, in truth, Peggy was not the least bit shy. In her mind, she could clearly see that all who passed her way were glancing in her direction, undoubtably admiring her as a sweet portrait of young womanhood – the full skirt, the well-tailored red jacket, the neat, though slightly scuffed pumps, the bangs on her heart shaped face swept neatly to one side. Her green eyes were bright, though slightly small for her face. She felt that this flaw was off set by the perfect Cupid’s Bow of her small mouth. Her nose was spiced with a dash of freckles, and upturned into a darling button. She was a proud woman, proud of her appearance, proud of her cleverness.
On this day, as she settled herself to enjoy her small paper cup filled with hot coffee, Peggy felt particularly clever. Working as a typist at a large newspaper, Peggy had achieved a modest level of success. After all, she was a woman. This was considered to be an ideal career. A holding pattern, until a suitable man came to sweep her off to the suburbs. She had dared to picture herself as a journalist. This ambition wasn’t unheard of, there were a smattering of lady writers at the paper, and Peggy was assuredly much more eloquent and intelligent than they. The only stumbling block seemed to be that the journalists and editors did not take her seriously enough and told her that she must earn her position; that patience was a virtue. Well, bully for virtue, she smirked. Her patience had worn through, and she had done something so daring, she hardly would have believed it, had she not done it herself. Whilst typing Mr. Brennan’s wretched piece, it struck her that the man had hardly the wits that God gave a cat, and methodically began to unspool the paper from the typewriter. With a slow smile, Peggy recalled how she had crumpled the ludicrous article and gently dropped it from her elegant tapered fingers into the wire waste paper basket at her feet. Quickly, and perhaps a tad furtively, she loaded a fresh sheet into the machine and set to typing. Her tongue passed over her lips in concentration as she prepared her story. The clacking of her keys had never sounded so cheerful to her ears as they did in that moment. When finished, she quickly scrawled Mr. Brennan’s name on an envelope and neatly folded her story.
Peggy was certain that when Mr. Brennan read her story, he would undoubtedly prefer it to his own senseless drivel. She felt light on her toes as she placed it on his desk, before leaving the office to sit, as we find her, on the dimly lit bench, intent on drawing attention to herself, by appearing to not draw attention to herself. Sipping her coffee, Peggy felt the warmth of the day, and the warmth of her dark, decadent beverage, and the warmth of her daring.
It was only a matter of time before she settled herself in the soon to be former office of that talentless Mr. Brennan.
Or perhaps jobless, back in her rooms at the boarding house…