kennedy avenue


Aug. 23rd : from the Café Lalo on the Upper West Side (a disappointment which might have been caused by the fact that Tom Hanks was nowhere to be seen) to Central Park -Belvedere Castle, JOK Reservoir, Bow Bridge and Besthesda fountain - and Madison Ave. on the Upper East Side

13. in the storm

(deleted ask accidentally)

“Nice doo, Gail,” Dov commented on her windblown hair after having launched herself into the passenger seat of his car. She slammed the door closed behind her, effectively breaking up the snow that had already started to reaccumulate on the windshield.

Wincing, she slumped back into her seat, cold, scared, achy and defeated. The storm had already ruined her nerdy plans with Holly tonight and now she had completely fucked up her ankle by slipping over on a patch of ice on her trek over to Dov’s car. Not that he had even noticed.

Ignoring Dov’s already grating presence, Gail pulled out her phone from her jacket pocket to check her messages for what would now be the twentieth time in the last half hour.

Still nothing.

She dropped head back against the headrest and blindly hit redial while a sense of dread comsumed her. She raised the phone to her ear, her fingers shaking, and frowned when all she could hear on the other end of the line was a busy signal. It was what she had expected.

Scrolling up through her and Holly’s last text message conversation, she couldn’t help but feel pain everywhere, and it wasn’t just from her swollen, throbbing ankle. So, to keep herself distracted she began reading.

"If you’re up for it, perhaps we can reschedule for another night? I know you were pretty desperate to see this exhibit. Lol.”

“I will suffer through it if it means getting dino cookies.”

“You realise they only offer those at the end, right? And they aren’t free.”

“Well I wasn’t planning on paying for them.”

“I am discovering it is expensive being your friend.”


“They don’t pay me the minimum amount required for nothing. I am about to leave work now. Rodney is giving me a ride home because I stupidly ran here this morning.”

“Yes, you are very stupid, running when there is a blizzard forecast is stupid but running in general is stupid. Message me when you get home. It’s getting really rough outside.”

“Promise. Let me know when you get home too. Have a safe rest of shift.”

15 minutes.

That’s how long it should have taken Holly to get home, even in this godforsaken weather, Gail thought to herself. But that was an hour ago, a really long hour ago.

Gail closed her eyes and buried her phone back into her jacket pocket while trying desperately not to think the worst. But who was she kidding? Thinking the worst was what she did best.

“Gail, are you okay? You are being really quiet and it’s freaking me out. Usually you would be cursing this weather until the cows came home,” Dov noted, squinting.

The visibility outside was getting worse by the minute and the windshield wipers were working overtime to keep up with all the snow and frozen rain.

Gail opened her eyes and looked out the window. She had been so preoccupied with thoughts of Holly and her wellbeing that she didn’t even notice they had starting moving, let alone had almost made it home.


She didn’t want go home. It was the last place she wanted to be right now.

“Dov! Turn around,” she demanded, wiping the condensation from her window with the palm of her hand so she could see out more clearly.

“What? Why? Did you forget your cheese puffs again?”

She whipped her head back around to glare at him. “Kennedy Avenue, High Park North. Go!”

Thankfully Dov had known better than to argue with her because before she even had the chance to physically persuade him, he had already turned the car around and was driving in the opposite direction.

“Are you going to tell me where I am going? Seeing as I am risking my life for you right now,” he joked half-heartedly but Gail wasn’t in the mood to play along.

“Nope. Just drive,” she told him.

And that is what they did in absolute silence for the next twenty minutes, through snow, high winds and rain. At least that was until Dov slammed on the breaks and they came sliding to an abrupt stop, forcibly pulling Gail from her thoughts.

As soon as Gail saw the all too familiar flashing lights at T-section up ahead, the next breath she took got caught somewhere between her lungs and throat. Dov had already jumped out of the car before she even had the chance to breathe again.

"No, no, no.” This couldn’t have been happening to her. Not to Holly. Not now. Not ever.

Before she could even blink, she was out of the car and quickly closing in on the wreckage directly in front of her, panicking because she had no idea what Rodney’s car looked like.

Dov grabbed Gail’s wrist before she could get any closer, pulling her out of the way of the emergency crew who were about to use the Jaws of Life on the front passenger side of one of the vehicle.

“Elderly couple ran a red light,” Dov told her nonchalantly over the sound of the hydraulic machinery. “Everyone’s alive. The driver of the other car fared worse but should be okay. They are just working to get him out.”

Gail gasped. Her mind was running a mile a minute.

"I have to go,” she said barely above a whisper. Her eyes glazed over, determined, as she edged backwards towards the pavement, however Dov seemed reluctant to let go of her wrist but she eventually managed to free herself from his grasp. “I have to go,” she repeated as he attempted to grab hold of her once again but she easily swatted him away.

She was desperate. She needed to know Holly was safe and she needed to know now.

“Gail, don’t! Where are you going?” He called out but she was already half way down the next road, her tunnel vision blocking out his voice. A few hundred meters more and she would be arriving in Holly’s street. The only thought coursing through her was Holly, getting to Holly, making sure Holly was okay, just Holly. As she ran she heard the crunch of snow under her feet as she ignored the pain shooting from her ankle, she felt the icy slivers of snow cut into her face but none of that mattered all that mattered was finding Holly.

Rounding the corner, she looked ahead to Holly’s apartment building, which was now in full view. Without a second thought for her ankle she jumped off the curb and ran across the unplowed road towards Holly’s apartment building, quickening her pace even more as she made her way up the footpath and bounded up the stairs, swiftly arriving at the security entrance door, later she would wonder how she managed her perilous journey without falling.

Out of breath, and not remembering the security combination, her fingers fumbled over the buzzer engraved with Holly’s apartment number.

“Please be home, please be home,” Gail chanted, wished, even prayed to whomever may have been listening. Her heart was beating out of her chest at this point, so much so she could she feel it in her ears and all the way down to her toes.

“Yello?” A voice abruptly sounded through the crackling speaker and now it was the opposite; it felt like her heart had literally stopped beating. It was the voice she had been hoping for but frankly wasn’t expecting. “Wait, is this wanking piece of shit technology even working. Hello?”

Holly was home. Alive. Safe. Saying, “wanking.”

Gail finally exhaled, beyond relieved.

Closing her eyes, her body shook as the walls she was carefully holding up finally came crashing down in waves. Tears had begun streaming down her face, drenching her cheeks and dripping into her mouth. The saltiness never tasted as good as it did right now.

“Um, I can hear you breathing. Who is it? Is this that creep that likes to look down women’s shirts from the corner, I will call the police, I know a lot of cops.”

Gail stepped back from the door and drew a hand through her hair. Her heart had resumed its pounding.

What on earth was she doing? There was no way to explain her behaviour or the flooding river that was currently breaking the banks of her eyes. Well, there was but she sure as hell wasn’t ready to be honest with herself, let alone Holly. She wanted to, she really did but besides not being ready she simply didn’t know how to be that honest.

She turned around towards the street shaking her head vigorously before sprinting back down the footpath towards the nature strip. Fucked ankle be damned. It’s not like she could feel it anyway. It was numb. Actually, her whole body was numb. She only wished she could be numb to her feelings but unfortunately her feelings remained sharp.

“Gail wait!” There was that voice again. She sucked in a deep breath and almost choked on her tears but she kept moving forward regardless of Holly’s demanding tone. “Gail, stop!” This time the voice had been much louder, closer even.

Gail glanced down at her feet, which had stopped moving. Or maybe they never started to begin with?

She frantically tried to wipe away her tears but every time she did, for some ridiculous reason, more would emerge. She was drowning in them.

It was only seconds later that she felt familiar fingers brush past her elbow, the distinct smell of everything Holly bombarding her senses as warm and gentle hands landed on her shoulders, but forcefully turned her around.

Doing everything but look into Holly’s eyes, Gail took in her surroundings. Her running legs hadn’t even made it halfway down the footpath. They failed her. Pretty badly in fact.

“My god Gail, you are freezing! Come here.” Holly dragged Gail back up the footpath, where they climbed the stairs up to the door, but Gail’s body had other ideas at this point.

Absolutely spent, both physically and emotionally, Gail slid down the wall adjacent to the door, just below the security keypad, landing heavily on her ass, however no longer numb as severe pain now shot freely from her ankle through to every nerve ending in her body as if she was a live-wire.

“Fuck!” Gail grimaced, biting her lip, taking in Holly’s grey expression as the beautiful doctor squatted down in front of her looking quite concerned.

Holly stared soundlessly at her for a moment, and then said, “I tried calling you, but the storm must have knocked the towers out. Landline’s down too.”

Gail, still breathless and now incredibly embarrassed, dropped her chin to her chest and remained silent.

"How did you get here?” It was a simple question that she could actually answer.

“Dov,” Gail said without looking up.

“Then why are you out of breath?” Holly asked.

“Accident down the road. Dov’s helping,” Gail answered.

“So you ran here?”

“If you can even call it that,” Gail winced.

“Someone once told me running was stupid.”

“Yeah, well,” Gail shrugged, “they sound very smart.”

Gail leaned forward and with some effort, pulled off her boot to reveal a black and blue ankle, which was now the size of her head.

"Oh my god, did you fall over?” Holly gripped Gail’s forearm to steady herself.

"Earlier, at the station. Slipped on some ice,” Gail breathed out.

“For a second I thought you were crying bec-“, Holly stopped talking mid-sentence and Gail shrugged in response. Whatever Holly was going to say, she wasn’t wrong.

Holly eyed her curiously but it didn’t seem to take her long to understand what was really going on here. Oddly enough, she looked pissed. Her brow furrowed as she swiftly removed her glasses and then rubbed her temple.

"Let me get this straight-“ Holly gathered herself, dropping her glasses into Gail’s lap before taking hold of Gail’s ankle with both hands, Gail assuming it was to check if it was structurally stable, however she flinched as soon as the warmth of Holly’s hands made contact with her perpetually colder skin. “You fall over and sprain your ankle, and then, even though you knew you should have gone home and taken care of this.” Holly was practically growling at her, “you instead somehow persuade your friend to drive halfway across town to check on me, in a fucking blizzard no less,” Holly shook her head, “then what? You thought that running a kilometre to my house on a broken ankle would be a good idea?“

Gail eyes widened. “Wait! I thought you said it was just sprained?”

“Broken, sprained. Whatever,” Holly huffed and Gail couldn’t help but smile at Holly’s sudden change in demeanor. “So?” Holly threw her arms up.

“So?” Gail cowered.

“So,” Holly slumped down so she was now sitting on the ground opposite. She leant forward resting her elbow on her knee and her chin in the palm of her hand and said, “So what am I to do with you Gail Peck?”

Gail sighed, dropping her head back against the wall. “If it’s broken, I think you should just put me out of my misery. Put me down. Right here.”

Gail dropped her head forward again in time to see Holly smirk. “Well, I wouldn’t go that far,” Holly rolled her eyes and then smiled warmly. “Why don’t we get you inside and then maybe I will kiss your booboo better. Where does it hurt the most?” Holly pointed to the lateral side of her ankle. “Here?” She looked up.

There was a long silence as Gail contemplated what she should say next. Her walls weakening by the second. She moved her hand up and positioned it over her heart where it hurt the most, not that Holly could tell that this action was actually in answer to her question.

“Gail, where does hurt most?” Holly repeated the question, only louder this time and now looking deeper into her eyes. It was intense. “I can’t kiss it better if you don’t tell me,” she laughed, breaking the ice somewhat.

It was now or never Gail thought, so she slowly moved her hand out of her lap, higher, until the tips her middle and index fingers were level with her chin, almost grazing it.

Taking one last deep breath in to steady her nerves, Gail inched her hand up higher, breathing out as the pads of her fingers tapped gently against her dry cold lips.

“Here,” Gail admitted, hoping in a matter of seconds that they would be infinitely warmer.