Isabella wrote for many reasons.

She wrote to express the many words inside of her, the ones which only made sense on paper. She wrote to fill the monotony of her afternoons at the park. But mainly, Isabella wrote to escape.

Life had been tough since she had lost her job at the local organic supermarket. Not that The Big Apple had been a great final destination for her, a 25-year-old English Literature graduate with dreams of becoming a published author. For Isabella, The Big Apple was a stop along the seemingly endless, wandering journey in the two years since graduation.

But the store had recently closed for renovations, which left the confused, newly unemployed Isabella free during the stretches of lazy July weekdays.

On this particular Tuesday morning, Isabella found herself in a park in the city’s Financial District with a tattered notebook and a quill pen. The notebook was a relic from her undergrad days. The elaborate pen was a gift from her best friend, Cherise.

Cherise was a flame-haired and sharp-tonged art school graduate who owned a gift shop. She wore dangling filigree earrings and purple clip-in highlights. She was the opposite of the refined, restrained Isabella, whose jet black curls and cubic zirconia studs gave her a look of faux sophistication. Cherise prided herself on the wares at her artsy boutique. Her store, The Creative Corner, specialized in antiques and artisan pieces. Cherise herself specialized in being, well, lovably eccentric.

“Maybe you can use those words to speak up for others,” Cherise had said in an offhand way, when she handed Isabella the pen last year.

Since then, it had remained unused in the bottom of her favourite everyday tote bag. Today, Isabella was going to pen her first words with it. Today, everything would be different.


“Today, everything will be different,” Sebastian muttered to himself.

It was 7:30 a.m. and the last thing he felt like doing was playing the corporate game. Not when his buddies still existed in a beer-induced haze, a frat boy universe which hadn’t seen the calendar change in the past two years.

Not when his best friend, Patrick, had quit his engineering job to explore Europe after a sudden quarter century crisis. And especially not today, the day of a huge, daunting meeting with senior management at the bank.

Sebastian looked longingly at the notebook on the dark oak coffee table in his pristine white living room. He’d bought the book at a quaint little gift shop along the city limits. The owner was an artsy redheaded chick- cute enough, but certainly not his type.

Stupid downtown condo. He’d do anything to be travelling with Patrick now, instead of living this prescribed existence. He’d also do anything to be writing now, to bring back those university magazine days and slip away stealthily from his financial analyst position. Analyst, as the free-spirited, fun-loving Patrick described Sebastian’s new banking gig.

He had a last look at himself in the mirror and grabbed the notebook to slip into his laptop bag. Not bad. Sebastian had always been lanky, but his recent sessions at the gym had helped him add muscle to his frame. In his tailored Brooks Brothers suit and freshly ironed blue button down shirt, he looked every bit the young corporate hotshot.

Even if he didn’t feel like it.

Isabella and Sebastian

As the lunch crowd descended on the park, Isabella swept a dishevelled curl out of her face and looked up. She’d written the intro to her new short story, but clearly the plot was going nowhere.

She was beginning to realize why she wasn’t successful. Isabella had always been a perfectionist, striving for gold as others her age partied and danced the night away, grateful for the moment. After graduation, her peers had drifted into careers in journalism, communications or law. But Isabella was so determined to become a novelist that she refused to join them.

Maybe that’s why she was sitting here in the park on a weekday, instead of going through the daily grind at one of the offices above.

“Excuse me,” said a deep voice behind her, interrupting her thoughts. Isabella looked up sharply.

The guy, around her age, standing there was handsome enough. His hair fell across his forehead in dark waves, while his eyes were bright blue against his tanned face. But it was the notebook in his hand which caught her attention.

“Hey,” she said shyly, glancing at his book. It looked like one of the dusty artefacts from Cherise’s shop. Was this another one of her friend’s attempts to orchestrate another terrible blind date- or was this just another lonely fellow writer?

“Can I join you? I’m working on writing a story, too” he said.

Isabella usually preferred writing alone, but today she smiled cautiously and made room for the good-looking stranger on the rickety wooden bench. Why not? “Sure,” she said. “I’m Isabella.”

“Sebastian,” said the mysterious notebook guy, grinning back at her. Sebastian couldn’t help but notice her beauty, and also take in her quill pen. Clearly, this wasn’t an iPad girl. But maybe that wasn’t such a bad thing. Different was good, different was interesting.

The two of them made eye contact over the inky sentences and thumbed over pages. Today was a new chapter, and a new story.

Today, everything would be different.

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