This is a short piece I wrote for a UoL creative writing assignment to give a stream-of-consciousness character introduction in the style of Mrs. Dalloway. This is a piece where a the main character is about to go through a very tragic event in 21st century history, but I don’t think my British peers picked up on the allusion—perhaps I was too vague? This is just a snippet, but I had plans for a full story that goes through the full event, but I don’t know if I’ll ever get back to it at this point, so it’ll live here for now.
Rosanne rubbed the sleep from her blue eyes and stood up from her desk. It was eight o’clock. She had already had one cup of coffee on the subway to work this Tuesday morning, but lethargy had set in again and she wanted another. She craved the cortados she grew to love in college and felt like making a trip to get one. She walked out of her office, saying hello to the minimum number of people until she reached the elevators.
The elevator to the street level from the 104th floor of the North tower took a couple of minutes, but she eventually made her way into the crisp September morning. There seemed to be a lot of foot traffic in Manhattan–most of the people walking were suits like she was, traveling to and from Wall Street, but there were also an appropriate number of students, homeless people, and honking taxis to give the morning an authentic New York feel. She crossed three streets to make her way to her favorite deli that changed its name every year in some kind of tax evasion scheme. For now, it was called Sol de Cuba.
The coffee wasn’t anything special, just espresso cut with condensed milk, but walking into the Cuban deli to purchase the cortado was most of the experience. The Caribbean jazz music, the smell of the warm tostado bread, and the snippets of lively Spanish argument between the old men playing backgammon made her smile. Rosanne thought it was odd to feel so safe and secure in a place so far removed from her socialite upbringing, but ever since an hermano saved her from a mugger in college and brought her into a Cuban deli for a cortado to settle her nerves, these delis always made her feel at peace with the world. The man, Miguel, had seen the mugging and charged out from his shop with a broom and beat the mugger until he ran away. It was a lesson that the world is harsh and cruel, but not all of it. Sometimes people help each other.