The overhead bins shake and rattle as the plane lands. I hate flying. I grip the armrests tightly and push my body into the back of the seat. I really hate flying. I wouldn't be doing this if I didn't have to. But in order to make it to the interview on time, I couldn't drive or figure out some other travel arrangements.
"Welcome to New York City." The flight attendant's voice comes across the intercom. "The current time is two twenty. Weather is sunny and seventy-two degrees. We'll be pulling up to the jetway shortly. On behalf of all your flight crew, thank you for flying with us today."
After the door opens, I stand up in my four-inch platform high heels. The black with a pale pink bow shoes are one of my many favorites. Back home in L.A. people don't turn to stare at me, but here several people turn to look at me as I step into the terminal. I ignore them.
My long dark brown hair is up in a retro bumper bang with victory rolls on the sides. The back is pulled up into a curly loose bun with a red bandana wrapped through it to finish the look. I'm wearing a pair of jeans rolled up and a black T-shirt that accentuates my double D's. My makeup is on point even though this was an early morning flight. I don't leave my house without it. My bestie calls it my armor, but to me it's just me. Maybe it's the product of being raised by a plastic surgeon in the nation's land of beauty among all the movie stars, but I've been like this since I was a teenager and learned about makeup.
I pull my carry-on behind me with my purse over my arm as I make my way to baggage claim. I don't travel light, even though this was only for a weekend. I wasn't sure what my mood was going to be after the interview. I watch the vintage Louis Vuitton suitcase come around, and my heart races with a bit of nostalgia as I reach for it. The whole set I'm carrying was my mother’s. It was her first splurge buy after she got her medical license. I wanted her and my daddy to be here with me on this trip, and this was one of the ways I could make it happen. I pull the strap out of my carry-on to attach the bags.
With no time to check into the hotel before my interview, I look for the nearest restroom and make my way to it. I need to get ready quickly then grab an Uber or a cab to the clinic. After a quick check, I find the handicap stall empty. It’s spacious enough to accommodate my luggage and allow me room to change. I open my suitcase and pull out the towel I had left on top. After laying it down, I slip off my shoes and step onto the towel so my feet aren't directly on the dirty bathroom floor. I grew up in L.A., I know what happens in bathrooms.
I change out of my jeans and T-shirt. Then I slip on the garter belt and hose, and slide the dress over my head. The vintage Vogue houndstooth pattern skirt is high waisted and lands at my knees; the attached black shirt is long-sleeved and zips up the front. I pull out a bag with shoes in it and remove the red plaid ankle wrap platform shoes. Th
ey are four inches high, giving my five-foot-four curvy frame some necessary height and making my legs look killer. Well, and my ass too. I smile. They were purchased just for this interview.
I pull out my makeup bag and close my luggage before stepping out of the stall. After a quick check for smudges from my winged eyeliner, I apply a fresh coat of red lipstick and some added blush to my cheeks, then I move on to hair. I pull the scarf off, followed by the ponytail holder holding up my bun. My curly hair falls down my back, and I wet my hands to scrunch the curls back to life. I leave my hair loose and look at myself in the mirror. Taking a deep breath, I pull my shoulders back and calm my nerves.
I'm overly qualified for this position, but it's a dream for me. No more being strictly a team physical therapist. I would be working for a large practice known for sports injury and recovery. It’s yours to lose, I hear my parents in my head. They always said every job I interviewed for was meant to be mine, it was just me losing it on my own. I got this.
I walk out of the restroom and head for the exit when I notice a man in a black suit with a sign that says, "R. Parsons." That could be me. He's tall, bald, and fairly muscular.
"Um, excuse me, I'm Rylee Parsons."
"Yes, sir." I don't know why there would be a driver waiting for me.
"Hello, Ms. Parsons, I'm here to get you to Dr. Overmyer's practice." He reaches for my bags and I let him. I keep my large purse and nod at him.
"I didn't know the practice was going to provide me with a driver. Thank you."
"I was sent by Mr. Olson Rodgers. My name is Ray. I was just about to give up on you, but I called Mr. Rodgers and he told me to wait a bit longer."
"Oh, I stopped to change after I got my bag."
My bestie, Ollie, was worried about me coming to New York by myself. He's been taking care of me for months now. When he found his new job here that he starts in a few months, he wanted me to look for a job here too. He doesn't want to leave me alone in L.A. where he thinks I'm still in danger. Besides, I've always wanted to live in New York, just like Carrie Bradshaw. It was my dream, and after I lost my parents, I knew I couldn't stay in L.A. any longer. Too many memories. So here I am, trying to follow my dreams. Along with Ollie.
I smile at the driver as we step outside and head to the parking lot. He walks up to a Mercedes sedan and pushes the unlock button on his key fob. He opens my door and I slide into the back seat. He climbs into the front after storing my luggage in the trunk.
"I'll keep your bags with me until I take you to your hotel. I'll be your driver all weekend while you're here in town." He looks in the rearview mirror at me.
"Thank you. I'm not sure how long this will take."
"Mr. Rodgers gave me your cell number. I'll text you so you’ll have mine and then you text me when you're done."
"That would be perfect." I smile at him as I pull out my cell and text Ollie.
Rylee: A driver? Really? Are you afraid I'll get lost?
Ollie: I'm looking out for my bestie. Just be nice to him. No sleeping with him or flirting. He's your bodyguard too.
Rylee: Really? Darn you take away all my fun. Thank you. I love you.
Ollie: Good luck. It's yours to lose.
I slip my phone back in my bag and watch as we drive into Brooklyn then cross over into Manhattan. A bodyguard? There was a time when I didn't think I needed someone like that, but now I'm not sure. Between my parents' deaths and the weird things that have been happening, I understand why Ollie is concerned.
I start to get more nervous the closer we get to the clinic. I rub the bracelet tattoo on my left wrist and think of my parents. How much they had prepared me to do this. How proud they would have been that I'm jumping out of my comfort zone. How much I miss them.
When we pull up to the curb, I take a couple deep breaths and grab my large tote as I wait for the driver to open the door. I step out and take in the multistory facility. This isn't just a physical therapy center, it’s a full-service sports injury and recovery center.
This is mine to lose.