Saturday, June 21, 2008

Her Bouquet

Fate left her cube that afternoon, and I finished an entire day's work in four hours in between decanting all of my writing onto my personal USB drive and cleaning my desk. I've been carrying it ever since I started going to The Pollen and The Sting, even though I rarely carry a laptop. It has a few things that would remind me how to get home even if I couldn't get to the car or the apartment, a few things that Dad had shown me just before I left, on the day he told me about the War of the Garden. I don't know how I would access it without the laptop, but I don't really believe that I'll need to. As long as Fate has given me room to clear out on my own time, I'll take as much as I can.

It's not yet five when I leave, but I don't want to risk spending an extra few minutes in anyone's office and it's obvious that I've stuffed my purse and lunch satchel full of knick-knacks. My desk is clean and dusted and the files are neat and ordered. Apparently I needed a warning that working with others could land me in trouble--the same way it had my Mom, years ago. She's the one who told me that I should work in a large place where they never really learned your name properly.

An abandoned storefront surrounded by weeds tall as my hips yields a handful of garish yellow faces interspersed with tiny blue flowers with fine petals and a puff of yellow in the center, a flower I associated with baby dresses and children's posies. The yellow faces surrounded the blue bunch, while white flowers from random cracks hid surrounded the blue. It wasn't balanced and there was no pink, no orange, no deep red of a shop's waxy offering; nor where there any wild neon mums and daisies guaranteed to match the cheapest neon designs--these were just the flowers I saw every day as I walked to my apartment. There were no insects to watch as I yanked their heads from their bodies, none to cheer or shudder as I brought violence to the tiny Edens of neglect.

I tied the stems together with an old scarf and have changed into something unlike my work clothes. I look, in fact, like a child going to an unfamiliar relative's home.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Turn, Turn

It wasn't her first day in a new job, just like her name had nothing to do with my new bar berth or the invitations I had yet to receive. She was harsh and I knew that she'd recommended a few terminations in her career. Dangerous to work with. As she fiddled with a cup of coffee, liquid creamer, raw sugar, cinnamon, and a dash of some flavoring preserved in alcohol and a small brown bottle I made a cafe au lait with regular white sugar. A sweet thick taste of vacations with my grandparents stung my tongue. I set it down to steam some mercy into the sharp office brew.

"Why are the flowers such a big deal?" Fate looked at me. "Do I time your coffee breaks? What do you want to know?"

"My college roommate told me that temping was the best way to find a job after graduating, then she found this one and convinced me to come up here, too." I could hear an old Byrds song rolling around my thoughts. Was it time to turn away from here? Follow an old trail home? "I'm going to assume that all jobs have a natural lifespan."

"Yeah, they do. And I don't want to time our breaks or look over your shoulder. I'd rather be on one of those floors where they are playing politics like a bloody game of rugby. You should know that she was let go, by the way. That's why he noticed you this morning."

There were still things of hers in the apartment, things she'd never even gone through. She'd been dating someone and he'd never come to the apartment. It seemed like every unseen bug in the cabinets turned their eyes on me--people who weren't on my radar knew me, watched for me. "I have to pick up flowers for a dinner this evening. It was foolish to look at the ones downstairs, like looking at prom dresses for church."