Coasting Down Memory Lane;
As the days passed it got closer and closer to saying goodbye to November and hello to December. That meant hearing Christmas songs go from joyful to painful. Riley had been searching for a job since she had lost hers, but unfortunately, was unsuccessful. Sidney and the team had begun to watch their winning streak come to a halt. They had lost five of the last six games. Sidney was not in the greatest of moods because of the slump that they were in. He blamed the losses on inconsistency and selfishness. After practices and games he would be in such a bad mood that Riley would try to find reasons to leave the house. Most of the time she said that she had job interviews when really, she would just drive around in her car. She had found a spot that was peaceful and would usually go there to think things through.
She had tried to tell Sidney numerous times that they team would get better and that this was just a bump in the road but every time he would just start yelling, saying hurtful things to her. When she’d had enough Riley would get in her car and drive for an hour or two, hoping that when she got back Sidney had calmed down. Most of the time that was the case but in one particular scenario he had not cooled down and he had pushed Riley out of the way. He hadn’t used too much of his strength but when Riley approached him again he glared at her and said things that cut her like a knife. She picked up a shoe and told him to leave, when at first he did not do as she said, she proceeded to throw it at him.
They had not spoken since then and neither of them tried to contact each other. On Monday, November 24th Riley had a job interview at a local TV station. The company had been around for eighteen months and was doing quite well. The position that she applied for was to be a journalist, not a TV anchor. Normally the woman who Riley would be writing for would do it herself but she was six months pregnant so the company was willing to hire someone to do it for her. Not many people had applied for this job yet because it was just new to the ‘market’ and most people wanted to be on TV rather than writing for someone who would be.
Riley was fine with those obligations, she just wanted to get back out into the work force. She had nailed the interview and was later offered the job at Sports Guide. This took her mind off of Sidney for the most part but she desperately wanted to share her good news with him. But she figured that they both needed some time apart, Riley needed to clear her head and start over. While Sidney needed to calm down and refocus on his career. Riley was grateful that this position didn’t deal with the Penguins. Well in a sense it did, she would be reporting new about the Baby Penguins. She took advantage of this; she was able to find out news about the ‘adult’ Penguins and mostly Sidney.
Riley had met with mostly everyone at Sports Guide. The TV anchors seemed really welcoming and sweet, instantly making Riley feel a sense of belonging. Kristen, the woman who Riley would be writing for, was very grateful that Riley was willing to do this for her. They talked for a while and instantly clicked. She used this as a learning experience, she observed everyone there, trying to find ways to improve. Mainly she watched the older, more experienced journalists/anchors soaking up all of the information and tips that they gave her. After hours, Riley would get together with her younger coworkers to just unwind.
There were usually five of which that would go out regularly. All within the range of twenty to twenty-six years of age. She had begun to meet more and more people over the course of her time at Sports Guide because another temporary position had opened as well; the company needed someone to fill in for Kristen while she was on maternity leave. Still, Riley and Sidney had not spoken. They were now approaching two and a half weeks of silence.
She figured that he would eventually collect his thoughts and maybe then they could work something out. But until then, they were keeping their distances. Riley no longer tried to follow the Penguins. She didn’t watch the games, she didn’t go to the games, she didn’t read up about them, and she stopped all contact with the guys. She needed to focus on her own life and her own job, without those two things she felt useless. She had been raised to be independent. Both her parents had worked when she was a small child and they had brought her up to think that a life depending on someone was no life at all.
She had begun to think that maybe Sidney being out of her life for now was best. The truth was that she couldn’t handle everything at once. With the loss of her dream job, a good friend, and her privacy all thrown at her in one time sequence she just wasn’t able to handle that heartbreak that came with a relationship.
Riley began to feel like she had stepped outside and watched her life move on without her. She felt like she had no control over what had happened and what would come. She so desperately wanted to start on a clean slate.
Her phone vibrating loudly interrupted the conversation that she was having during her lunch break with her new found friends. She glanced at the screen to see who was calling and noticed that it was Marc. She had been ignoring the team’s calls for a few days because she simply couldn’t handle it. She let it go to her voicemail, closing her eyes and biting her bottom lip while doing so.
“You OK?” Mike, one of the journalists who Riley would hang out with on a daily basis asked.
“Yeah I’m fine,” she replied, wiping a solitary tear away.
It was now December 17th and still Sidney and Riley had not spoken. Riley had pushed all of her thoughts and memories of Sidney into the back of her mind as she walked into the TV studio. She always stayed around to see how the show went. When she walked in she ran into Cheryl, the producer of the show.
“Riley, are you free right now?” she asked.
“Yeah,” Riley replied, some Australian accent slipping out. Living in Pittsburgh for a little while now was slowly eliminating Riley’s accent and replacing it with a Canadian/American one.
“Great. I need you to do me a favour,” Cheryl started, “Could you go and host the show?” she asked as a smile slowly crept on to her face.
“But I thought you guys were hiring someone to do that,” Riley replied, confused out of her mind.
“Yeah, well see… no one really did it for us, you know? I mean they were all good but not good enough. So, we figured that hey, you wrote it so you could very well present it better than anyone. So how about you give it a try?” Cheryl implied just before Riley bounced up and down screeching ‘thank you, thank you!’
Riley was sent to hair and make-up then to wardrobe. It was like her heaven had arrived. She was dressed in an emerald green short-sleeved blouse, complimented with a tight fitting black skirt. Her hair was straightened and left to hang beautifully. She was told to read everything off of the little TV screen beside the camera and to look pretty. After the countdown she live on national television.
“Good evening Pittsburgh. I’m Riley Jacobs, filling in for Kristen Macpherson. Tonight we have an awesome show for you, filled with hockey highlights of both the Baby Pens and the grown up Penguins.” She said with a bright smile. “Your Wilkes-Barre/Scranton guys are off to a phenomenal start in the season…”