Invisible Love Letter(9)

By: Callie Anderson

I stayed at PLI Banco Financial for six months. By month three I knew I needed to do something different, so I applied for a job I knew I would excel in. I’d interviewed over the phone and did the one thing I swore I would never do: I dropped my father’s name so they’d know who I was. Yes, it was wrong to do that, but I had a minor in communications and was applying to be an assistant producer at a radio station without any experience. I was lucky they took my call.

Most of the houses in Rio included an open rooftop terrace which served as a place to entertain since there were no backyards. I stood there like I had done a year and a half ago, saying goodbye to Rio. Last time, I said my farewell for only a few short months, but this time I didn’t know when I would come back. Inhaling the scent of salt water and city fumes, I walked down the marble stairs towards the front doors. Aunt Regina waited at the bottom of the steps, her foot tapping on the shiny tile.

“You'll miss your flight,” she barked at me.

I shrugged, picked up my carry-on duffel bag, and tossed it over my shoulder. My uncle Neto had already lugged my two suitcases to the back of his Volkswagen. I yanked on the white metal gate door, then paused and turned back to the house behind me. My aunt stood with a dishtowel in hand and tears dripping from her eyes. She reminded me so much of my mother; she had been a mother to me for the past ten years. The duffel bag slid off my shoulder and I sprinted towards her.

She sobbed and opened her arms for me.”Minha filha,” she cried. She had always called me her daughter as a way of endearment.

“Thank you for everything.” My words were muffled into the crook of her neck.

“Be safe. And please call me when you get there.”

I nodded in agreement, unable to speak. Tears threatened to flood my eyes as I kissed her forehead and ran back to my bag. Tossing it to my uncle, I looked up at my home and said goodbye. I was about to begin a new chapter in my life.

* * *

The flight from Rio to LAX was fourteen hours long if you counted my connecting flight in Sao Paulo. My legs were swollen, my kneecaps stiff from sitting for so many hours, but I finally arrived in Los Angeles. When the flight attendant turned off the seat belt light, I leaped out of my seat and stretched my arms over my head. Departing the plane, I passed through customs and retrieved my bags.

Leslie stood outside of baggage claim holding a white paper sign with my name written across it. She smiled and jumped with joy when she saw me. “You made it!” she shouted as she jogged towards me. We hugged briefly before she rested her hands on my shoulders and looked at me. “You look as hot as always, chica.” I embraced her once again.

This was my new home.

Following Leslie to the car, my old clunker that I had given her, I soaked in the Southern California heat that I’d missed so much. It was June in LA, where the temperature was eighty plus and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. Though Brazil was known to be warm year around, it had rained for the past few days.

“Blue hair, huh?” I asked when we reached her car.

“You like?” She shook her head and the indigo streaks moved against her raven hair.

“I love it,” I answered honestly.

She took one suitcase and helped me shove it in her trunk. “It's a wash,” she huffed. “I wanted to do something spontaneous before I start work on Monday and have to live the boring corporate life.” Leslie had taken an account management position with DE Financial.

The Sunday morning traffic wasn't as hectic as the rush hour I remembered, and within thirty minutes we were pulling up to my new home. Leslie had still been living with Kate and Monica, but she moved out two weeks ago. We were renting a two-bedroom apartment that seemed like a mansion compared to the place we had in college. It had a small kitchen, a large room that served as both a living and dining room, and one bathroom.

“Do you like it?” she asked as we walked into the living room. Boxes were shoved into the corner and our couch was still wrapped in plastic. Leslie had furnished our place with some of the money I sent her. She had my full permission to make it how she wanted, and I thanked God she had great taste and everything matched.

I left my suitcases in the living room and admired my new home. Leslie had taken care of everything. The only thing I had with me was a picture of my parents and my clothes, but each room had boxes that needed to be unpacked and sorted.

“It's perfect.”

* * *

My first few weeks at Q143 FM were tiring. As the assistant producer, I arrived at five in the morning to help out with the morning show, and I returned in the evening for the Nine at Nine show, as well. Thankfully, since Leslie kept my old car, I had enough money saved to purchase an old Sentra—which Axel referred to as the snot rocket—that helped me get around the city.

I quickly moved on to a more permanent position as Cinthia Stone's shadow. She was expecting her first child, so she’d be leaving on maternity leave in a few months and I was scheduled to take over her position.

Leslie had landed an internship at MRA Corporation, a financial institution in the heart of LA’s business district. Our lives were on opposite schedules, so we only saw each other in the mornings before we headed out to work.

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