Robbed of Chance

Laini Shabo, Guest Writer

Hi, It’s me, Mary Beckinsale, and If I seem old to you, that’s because I am. A strikingly handsome man named Todd Henley: in whom I first truly adored… he taught me how to love. He is the one I wish to tell you about today. My story begins a few months prior to the stock market crash of October 19, 1929, in a bar in Manhattan. Back then life was kickin’. You see, I was a flapper. The term flapper, most eloquently defined, describes a fashionable young feminist who does not let the standards of her decade define her. I wore my skirt above my knees, bobbed my hair, wore sleeveless dresses with daring necklines and my favorite of all: I wore bright red lipstick.

As my car rolled up to the most elite Jazz club in Manhattan by the name of Cotton Club, owned by the infamous bachelor, Todd Henley, the only thing running through my mind was this party is going to be the cat’s miaow. As I stepped out of my town car, my heel grazed the bare concrete. The excitement began to bubble up inside me as I heard the roaring band from the curb. Greeted with laughter and a bubbly drink, I stepped through the big, glass entry doors. I saw my friends standing in the middle of the dance floor, they beckoned me, and I joined them.

My tassel dress, flying seamlessly as I spun, caught the eyes of those watching and I knew it. My goal was not to garner attention, but to be the life of the party, and that I accomplished. As I spun, a peculiar man caught my eye. He was staring dead at me through the array of people. Keeping him in the corner of my eye, I could see him slowly starting to approach me. Thoughts began to run through my mind: As a flapper I believed in feminism; I didn’t need a man to help me. Plus, I had had bad experiences in the past with men, so for now, that was out of the picture. Men, simply put, were not worth the hassle. As I left that night I had a strange feeling that I could not kick.

The following day I went about my normal schedule. I went to my thriving job at Macy’s, which had in the last couple of years become open to women staff, and sat in my office. I must have been in quite in a hurry because I nearly failed to the beautiful arrangement of flowers on my desk. Charming I thought to myself. I picked the note off of the delicate compilation of roses and baby’s breath. It read: “You looked stunning last night, I could not take my eyes off of you. I would love it if I could take you on a date. Sincerely, Todd Henley.” I put the note down, shrugged, and decided to merely go along with the rest of my day, for this was just another man giving me another bouquet. This happened often and usually the men that I drew attention from were not husband material, if you catch my drift. I wasn’t looking to get handcuffed; I was scared of commitment and that was that.


A few weeks later, after a long day of work, I arrived home to my quaint little apartment in Manhattan. From a distance I noticed something peculiar by my door. As I got closer I realized that it was package of gummy bears laced with a delicate red bow. A small note read: “Dear Mary, I can’t stop thinking about you, try as I might. I noticed that you did not reply to my flowers so I decided to send you some gummy bears. Please meet me tonight at my club at 7:00 so I can get to know you a little better. Sincerely, Todd Henley.” As I contemplated what the note asked me to do I thought to myself I can at least go and tell him that I am not interested… he must have a thousand girls after him and yet he is still pursuing me despite not knowing me? Maybe I should see what’s up.


            Upon arriving at the bar I felt some minute anxiety. When I stepped in, I was overcome by the feeling of emptiness; the club was desolate. The lights were dimmed and there was a lone jazz soloist on the stage playing soothing music, unlike the kind I was used to. As my eyes glanced around the room they finally met with the man who was sitting 20 feet from me at the wide range bar. He motioned me over and I hesitantly took each step for I knew that this man was different. He was charming and a had a gentlemanly look. His figure was fit and lengthy. His hair was kept and he wore a polished suit. Immediately something inside of my changed.

We talked for hours without the bombardment of others. He told me of the day he saw me dancing and how he felt of an instant connection unlike any he had felt before. We laughed for what seemed like hours as he told me of his rambunctious childhood and various adventures. Our chemistry clicked instantaneously. As the night came to a close Todd walked me to the door and his hand grazed mine. He looked deep into my eyes and said, “I have never said this before but I have never felt so strongly connected as I do to you. I-I love you.” Hearing this sent me into a panicked spiral. What is this I questioned. I have only just met him and he LOVES me?! It’s all too much!! And with that I got out of there as fast as I could.


A few months went by and I began to think of what could have been. Whenever I thought of Todd I became sick to my stomach. I used to think that was for a different reason, but I soon began to realize that I missed him. A man that I had only truly met once had such an impact on me. I wonder how he’s doing with this Stock market crash. Life is tough for me, I bet his club went under. As my thoughts began to spin I could not believe what I was feeling. Did I love this man? Simply and plainly put, I believed I did.

Minutes later I grabbed my hand bag and I hopped in a town car. My heart raced as I knew what I was going to do. I was going to tell Todd I loved him. I hoped that he would be at the club and that it was not closed down because that is the only place I knew where to find him. I leaned forward and politely asked the driver to “Step on it!” It seemed to be as soon as those words came from my mouth we came to an abrupt standstill: traffic. I would’ve gotten out and ran the rest of the way but we were still quite far from the club so I decided to tough it out because my news was urgent but it could spare some time.

I arrived upon the entrance of the club to an unimaginable scene. The doors of the club were swung open and inside tables and chairs were toppled over left and right. The bar was empty and I noticed a vault. A vault that was empty, but wide open. I began to panic as I realized what might have happened. Robbers.

“Todd! Todd where are you?” I screeched in utter panic.

“H-Here; I’m here Mary” A hush voice whispered.

I followed his mellow voice to the corner of the bar beside the vault. Todd had been shot. He was bleeding everywhere. I quickly bent down, my tears started flow, and I cradled him in my arms. He was not going to make it.

“Todd,” my voice shaking, “I cam here to tell you something.”

“And what would that be Mary?” He mustered with a handsome little smirk.

“I came here to tell you that-that I love you too.” The tears falling more heavily then.

“I knew you’d come around.”

“Ugh, you’re so difficult, even when you’re dying.”

“Thats the irony, isn’t it? Mary?”

“Yes Todd?”

“I love you too.”

With that, Todd slipped away.



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