Maddie saw shadows, like black ghosts, haunting her everywhere she went now. The mall, her house, in the car, at work. At first she thought they were illusions of her father’s ghost, for he died just two weeks ago, so she hoped and hoped they would get tired of her boring routine and quit hounding her. Two more weeks rolled by, then spring was over and summer enveloped Minnesota in all it’s dazzling glory, yet the shadows persisted. So, she did the best thing she knew how: schedule special sessions with her childhood therapist, Skye.
As Maddie stared deep into her blue eyes, she took a deeper breath, steeled herself for the tough questions ahead because she expected the session to go on for the next five thousand years anyways.
“You said you see shadows?” Skye quirked an eyebrow, scribbling in her yellow notepad.
Maddie gave a depressed nod.
“Wow! Congratulations girl!”
“On what?” Maddie thought aloud, frowning.
“Sylvia Plath once told me that, the most beautiful thing in the world must be shadows. Don’t you see it, darling?”
Maddie shook her head. No, all she saw was the little woman freaking out over something stupid.
“Follow your heart,” Skye placed her palm on her chest. “It’s time to look through the lens of your mind, so that you can see what these shadows are trying, desperately, to show you.”
Maddie, who’d been studying her purple fingernails with unusual interest, exclaimed, “How can I pause in my tracks to watch what I’m running away from?”
“You don’t flee from shadows, my dear, because they’ll chase after you and never give up until they catch you. Run after them instead. Pursue them. Pursue beauty. Pursue love,” Skye winked conspiratorially.
“No buts. You’ve got the money, come on. Go for a manicure, pedicure, whatever. Get your hairdresser to highlight this curly mess on your head. Step up your game, Maddie. I got you.”
She did as her therapist suggested. One morning, she woke up wearing a pout and massaging her temples. The temperature level had risen unbearably last night, since her landlord blatantly refused to repair the air conditioner. Her mood worsened the second she stepped into her office because her boss stood at her door, handsome, breathtaking, and just to be a dickhead.
The pursuit of beauty wasn’t making her life beautiful at all. And that was where Chad came in, like shadows cast by the silvery moon herself, overwhelming and all-encompassing. She bumped into him at the mall, apologized for turning over his cart, stepped on his shoe and apologized again.
“Hey, it’s okay. You seem to have had a long day,” he sympathized.
“Yeah. I just_”
“How about this? You calm down, we have dinner in that Chinese restaurant two blocks away, and I cheer you up?”
She flushed red. “Yeah. Yeah, sure!”
After the sumptuous meal of spicy fish and olive spaghetti, he offered her a ride home. That night, Maddie went to bed happy.
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