Helena moved quietly through life. Disturbing no one. Being a model citizen. Always towing the line. Then one morning Helena woke up and thought, “I don’t want to be quiet anymore.” She called in sick to work, something she had never done in her twenty years of working for the Brexam Accounting Firm. Her boss was shocked and offered to send someone over with food and medicine. “That won’t be necessary,” said Helena with a faux cough, “I had the drugstore deliver everything I need.” Helena was struck by how much she enjoyed lying, the sensation was arousing.
Usually Helena began her day with ten minutes of stretching, followed by a luke-warm shower, a bowl of granola and yogurt and a cup of green tea. But this morning she skipped the exercise and shower, got dressed and headed out to a swanky hotel restaurant for breakfast. She ordered a Mimosa and Belgian waffles. The combination of maple syrup and the champagne’s bubbles were perhaps the best thing Helena had ever tasted. Her waiter was extremely handsome and she flirted shamelessly with him. As she left the cafe – after leaving him a 50% tip – she whispered in his ear, “you are just delicious.”
Helena grabbed a cab to her local upscale department store and headed straight to the Personal Shopping Department. A woman named Rika, with a severe black bob and thin red lips, asked Helena what she needed help with. “I need to find the real me. I seem to have lost her. My budget is $3000.” Rika nodded approvingly and motioned to a clothing rack filled with a multitude of styles, colors and fabrics. “Choose one piece that speaks to you, there is no right or wrong. Just choose the piece that makes you feel alive.” Without hesitating, Helena followed her instincts and quickly chose a silk, floral dress in shades of eggplant, fuchsia and black. “Thank you,” said Rika. “This dress will serve as the inspiration for your new wardrobe. Also, you need a new hairstyle, you cannot find the real you with that hair. That hair is heavy with regret, bad memories, a life half-lived. Joseph at our Salon will cut it, Joseph knows.”
Helena left the store with two garment bags, four shopping bags and something called “a Lob,” which was a silly way of saying a long bob. At home, after carefully putting away all her new clothes and accessories, she poured herself a glass of red wine. It was an expensive bottle, given to her last year by her boss for Christmas. She filled a bowl full of pita chips and got in bed. She turned on the television and watched one of those vacuous Home Hunting shows. This one featured a woman about Helena’s age starting a new life in Paris. Helena crunched away, taking in the beauty of the architecture in Paris. “My God,” she thought, “such a beautiful city.” She licked the salt off her fingers and took a long, slow sip of wine. Then she grabbed her laptop off of her bedside table. She started typing. Air France. One way ticket, first class. Date of departure – tomorrow. A sudden wave of panic overcame her – “my passport!” She frantically looked in her filing cabinet and there it was – updated and sitting in a pretty red leather case – in a file labelled “Identification Documents.” Helena exhaled, took the passport and went back to her bed. After typing in her passport number, credit card info and other information she pressed “Purchase.” She was not being quiet anymore. She and her “Lob” were going to Paris.