Jessica’s Blue Monday
Crunch. Crunch. Each footfall cut through the snow, sinking down a few inches. Fresh flakes overflowed the sides of Jessica’s shoes as she went from the door of the office, through the parking lot, and to the side of her car, where she fumbled with the keys with frozen fingers.
“Come on….” she said, irritated. A foot of snow covered the surface of the car, and as she pulled open the door, much of it drifted down and dusted across the seats. An eerie gloom barely broke through the windows.
Sighing, Jessica sat down and turned the key. The engine complained, whining before begrudgingly turning over. Cold air blasted through the vents into her face, and she could literally feel her skin growing dry and tight – great. Now, if the stress of driving in the middle of a January storm wasn’t bad enough, her skin would wither up as if she were decades older than her actual age.
She grabbed the snow brush from the back seat and set to work clearing off the car. Biting cold and ice stung her eyes and cheeks, seemingly aiming straight at her from the sky as she hacked at the frost on the windshield. Her fingers burned white with the chill, and when she finally sat back in the car, tiny crystals ringed her eyelashes.
She gripped the steering wheel, and put her head down on it for a moment.
“It’s okay, Jess,” she told herself, taking long, drawn-out breaths. “It’s January, and it’s Calgary. This is normal. Just a few more months til spring….”
Her words trailed off, not really helping at the moment.
She sat in the driver’s seat, waiting for something resembling heat to enter the car, and looked across the parking lot at the road that she had to take. The lanes were hard to see beneath the snow, creating a backlog of cars in the afternoon rush. Blazing headlights shone out of the winter darkness, illuminating the snowflakes as they continued to fall.
Jess felt like screaming. It was cold, dirty, and dark – and it was only Monday. Hadn’t she read something about a “Blue Monday” in January being one of the most depressing days of the year? She could call up some friends, see if they wanted to go for coffee or pizza, but she knew that wouldn’t be enough this time. She needed something more, something different.
As badly as she wanted to, Christmas bills meant she couldn’t afford to go on vacation to somewhere warm. She felt stuck, like the whole world was getting snowed in, with nothing to look forward to until the summertime. She wanted nothing more than to relax in a comfy chair and have someone dote on her, taking care of everything…
She sat up, a sudden memory popping into her head. She had just that morning received an email from Spa Escape about a monthly special. Some kind of hydrating facial – exactly what she needed to combat the dryness and the cold and relax for a while. And, well, it wasn’t far. In fact, it was just around the corner. She had nowhere to be this evening…
She looked up at the street again, packed with cars that were likewise packed with people who looked miserable. She made her decision easily. Getting out, she trekked to the sidewalk, went around the corner and a minute later, was standing in front of the spa. Warm and inviting, it was the exact opposite of being stuck in winter rush hour traffic.
Jess smiled, a genuine grin crossing her face for what may have been the first time that day. She strolled in, feeling the heat wash over her, enjoying it immensely.
“Hi!” said the lady at the front desk. “Welcome to Spa Escape. Come on in and take a look at what we can do for you. There’s nothing like a spa visit to get rid of those January blues.”
Jess chuckled, thinking of how perfect that statement seemed here, in this.
“Any idea what you would like?” the lady asked.
“Kind of,” Jess said, unsure. “The air has made my skin really dry and flaky, so maybe something to help with that. Some kind of exfoliation, or a peel, I think.”
“Certainly,” the woman said with a smile. “I can recommend three different processes. The first one is microdermabrasion – using really small, very fine pellets to break off the dead skin and remove it, leaving the skin on your face looking bright and fresh. It’s great when you want to feel brand new, and leave old, dry skin behind. The second would be a chemical peel. It does the same thing, except it uses a compound instead of the little pellets. It works very well for people with naturally reddened skin.” She paused. “Usually I can tell a person’s skin tone, but the cold has made all of us a little pink these days.” She laughed. “And finally, we have some products that you can take home afterwards to do exfoliations on your own. They’re perfect for keeping all this winter weather out of your pores until you can come back for the full treatment. Think of it like how you brush your teeth at home, but you still have to visit the dentist every once in a while.”
Jess looked at some of the products on a nearby shelf. “That sounds good,” she said, picking one up. “Are they hard to use?”
The woman at the counter smiled. “Not at all. There are a few different types, but they’re all easy to work with. There’s mechanical exfoliation, which is like microdermabrasion. The others are similar to the chemical peel, which can either use clinical compounds or enzymes, like you would find in kiwi or pineapple juice. Nature’s exfoliant.”
Jess put the box back on the shelf, and inspected another.
“This is just what I needed,” she said. “Do you have time right now?”
“Sure,” came the reply. “Let’s go.”
Jess followed eagerly. Today would end up being a great day, after all.