Trapped in a cubicle, I wait out the time until unemployment.
All it took was one person saying honestly to me that there was a lot of competition for the new job and I had “some bad press.” If I cry at work people will look at me. The girl down the hall has just yesterday gotten a diagnosis of breast cancer. She’s arranging her surgery, at work, smiling – a little sadly but not crying and I feel like such a *censored*. I should just let go but I’m afraid of a big fall. Who would catch me? Ok, I’ll buck up and talk to the keyboard. There now, missy.
I dreamed I was putting eggs in an extra refrigerator. I dropped them and as they broke open, I discovered that the chickens were ready to hatch and they scrambled out of the broken shells. Seven ran out of the kitchen to a pond and began to swim. They were ducklings.
I shouldn’t count my chickens before they hatch because they might be ducks? I have some unexpected benefit that I cannot anticipate? It’s not what I expect. My hope is so pervasive that even when I drop the eggs, there is still life, movement and unexpected benefits. To prepare, I had better stock that extra refrigerator.
I sit in a bland tan room with a clock on the wall. There is another desk in here that is empty. In my office plan at the beginning of the year, it was filled with another worker but no one has followed my plans. They were all left behind. Yesterday, my boss suggested that maybe a secretary could do what I’m doing. Well, then couldn’t the reverse be true? That I could do the secretary’s job? That I could stay? I could pound away at nonsensical manuals for pretty little projects all day. Instead I take an old staple out of the wall. And another.
There are two stick pins in the wall and I have made a smiley face out of them. I have a friend. I wish I knew something. But at least I’m not the girl down the hall saying – you know, I have breast cancer and it’s not good. It’s spread to my lymph nodes and I have to have surgery. Her doctor told her to talk about it. She came in yesterday and say with me in the lunch room. Everyone else avoids me. She began her talk and I told her about my sister-in-law who has been surviving breast cancer for years now. Just years. The girl ate lunch at her desk today.
I put a thumbtack through the nose of the little smiley face today. He is now as punched as I am. I have a headache and need to leave the cubicle for water. The Pastel Bully is on the prowl and my boss is gone. Hold the fort little smiley face.
I’m nervous but I need to prepare for the economic maelstrom – health insurance, the mortgage, utilities, and food. Make a list of my positives. Great follow through. Analyze elaborate systems. Write eloquently. Humor. Lead from the middle. Innovative. Charming. Honest. Relentless. Complicated. Loyal. Busy. Over analyze?
I will write like hellafire.
Remember when you were in school and the teacher would drone on. You were so sleepy and the minutes went by so slowly that you would see the clock hand move – tick. Then the bell would ring and your hair would stand on end. Struggle with your numb feet and hustle into the hall. Open the locker and stuff things in and out in a panic. Slam back into a chair and think about who would walk home with you and the teacher droned again. It’s amazing we ever learned anything.
There is a box. Some of my stuff is in it. I have closed the blind so no one can see in the door of this cubicle. Blatantly, I cruise the Internet for writing sites and just type away on whatever I want. The work was done weeks ago. I just haven’t told anyone.
The writing prompt today was – what was the happiest time in your life. I remember the bad times – oh yeah, in great detail but the good times? I had to go back a while. In third grade I learned how to skip and was skipping to school singing Disney’s “Song of the South”. You know – “Zippity do dah, zippity eh, my oh my what a wonderful day. I had finally gotten glasses and could see the world. Before the dog, Blackie, died. Before 7th grade. Certainly before Womanhood. After that it was exciting but not necessarily “happy.” Maybe I was happy when I was pregnant and the roses were blooming and the artichokes flowering. In the picture I look happy. But that was before. Next came cancer and death. I was happy when I found my house after that bitter escape. Before the house was destroyed and the lawsuit began.
Who said whether a story is a tragedy or a comedy depends on where you place the ending? How do I manipulate my life so that the chapters end at the happy times? I have to start at the hard part. I have to start now and leave off before the “but then…” I remember that I often sang to make myself happy and escape from arguments at home. When I skipped, it was to ease my lonely walk to a new school. When I found my house, I was running from the deepest sorrow I ever had and the bitterest betrayal. Happy and sad – it all depends on where you stop the story.
© 2009 NHWilliard