Daily Prompt – Circuitous Paths

A stranger knocks on your door, asking for directions from your home to the closest gas station (or café, or library. Your pick!). Instead of the fastest and shortest route, give him/her the one involving the most fun detours.

Shelley opened the door, revealing a young woman standing on the porch. She wore her hair back in a ponytail, tucked underneath a trucker-cap. She wore a low-cut white t-shirt with a graphic print on it. She had a flannelette shirt tied around her waist, and a pair of drop-crotch pants leading down to her hi-tops.

‘I’m sorry to bother you, but I’m trying to get to Falcon Dance Studio’s for an audition, and I’m so completely lost – I can’t work out where I’m going. I was wondering if you could give me some directions?’

Shelley noticed the paper map partially crumpled up in the girls hand, and wondered why she didn’t have a phone on her. The girl noticed her looking at her hand, and interjected, ‘Yeah, I also forgot my phone. I got the map from the servo a couple of blocks away, but I must be looking at it the wrong way.’

Shelley paused for a moment, contemplating whether or not to assist this girl, or whether to just close the door in her face. She didn’t want to get involved, and for all she knew, it could be a scam. The minute she unlocked that screen door, this girl could potentially do anything. She didn’t want to risk it. ‘Yeah, Falcon… I’ve heard of that, I’m pretty sure it’s over on Calliter, right?’

The girl fumbled with her map to look at some words scrawled on the back of the map. She mumbled briefly to herself and confirmed, ‘ahhh, yeah, yeah. Calliter. 430. Near Rockwell.’

‘Right, right. Okay, so what you want to do is, from here, turn right and head down to the end of the street, then take a left,’ The girl quickly pulled out a pen and began scribbling furiously on the piece of crumpled paper. Shelley didn’t pause, ‘Walk half a block, cross the road and see Gary at the Coffee Cart. Tell him Shelley sent you, and he’ll look after you. You need some caffeine because you’re clearly stressed. Now, from there, turn around, and walk back the half a block, this time turn left onto Grosvenor and walk two blocks down. On the right hand side there will be a convenience store. You’re going to need to stop in there and get yourself a bottle of water, a sports drink and an energy bar. But only have half of each. Remember that! Only half! Tell Rob to put it on Shelley’s tab. Exit the store, turn right, and continue down for another block. As you walk past the green stairs, turn right down the alley way. Follow it’s trail all the way to the end, be sure to check out the walls of the buildings as you do. Cross the road, just to the left you’ll see a garage door, with another regular door next to it, there will be a pin pad… enter the code 3-9-4-1-7. This will open to a carpark. Walk through the carpark, and down the stairs. Ask for Bobbi, and ask her for a proper map. Tell her Shelley sent you. Walk out of the building, cross the street, down the alley to an opening. You’ll see a couple of piles of wooden pallets, go to the right, and follow that alley – You’ll come to the street. Turn around, look up.’

The girl looked at Shelley, stunned and confused.

‘Did ya get all of that, hon?’

‘Um… I think so…’

‘Do you want me to repeat it?’

‘Um… no, Im pretty sure I got it… thanks… I think. Have a great day.’

‘You too, hon.’

The girl bent down to pick up her bag, and as she hoisted it over her shoulder, she paused and smiled at Shelley. ‘Oh, and good luck with your audition, you’re gonna kill it!’

As she watched the girl walk down the stairs to her front path, and head off down the street, she closed the door with a small grin on her face. As she turned to walk down the hallway, she saw her young son, Luke, standing in the doorway. ‘Why didn’t you just offer to drive her?’

‘Because darling, if she keeps relying on other people, she’ll never become independent, and responsible. If she gets lost and misses her audition, then she’ll just have to learn the hard way. Life isn’t easy, and life doesn’t always go the way we want it to.’

‘But mummy, you’re going to see her there. It’s your studio. You could have just driven her there. She seemed nice.’ They stood there briefly looking at each other in silence, before Christopher walked off. ‘Mummy, you’re really mean sometimes.’

‘Oh darling, one day you’ll understand when you’re older. Now, get your tap shoes, and your drink bottle or we’ll be late.’