I looked past the Chatty Kathy’s of the office’s breakroom and pondered getting a cup of coffee.

               Maybe… This word lingered as I looked at the coffee pot sitting still as a stone on its marble countertop. It seemed to have a staring contest with me as it just, well, sat there on the base of its coffee pot machine.    

               “Having a staring contest with the coffee pot?”

               I gasped, jumping a few centimeters off my beige plastic chair. Jerking my head over, I was diverted from the game by Darren—no, I blinked—Sharon staring wide-eyed and smiling at me, her blond curly hair bouncing with her as she nodded.

               “Doing okay?” My cubicle neighbor stepped back a few inches and then covered her teeth with her lips but still, the too-happy smile remained.

               Great. I moaned, looking embarrassedly down at my black pants. One more day with this woman and I’m going to move upstairs!

               I nervously looked up at her, wondering to myself as to whether Sharon left. Unfortunately for me, she had not. Rising, I absentmindedly watched two women from across me talking absorbedly.

               I wish I was—and could be—doing the same thing, I told myself as I wheeled myself around out of the breakroom. When someone like Sharon showed up and made you feel like what you were doing was a complete waste of time that you had to rewind and make good use of, she just had to go. Or you had to just leave.

               Which I made the decision to do. Especially when I saw her pin.

               100K Run. This Saturday—

               Ugh. Whatever.

               Even thinking about another marathon with someone who turns it into a Talk-A-Thon was stressful. So I whipped my hand up as if to say Stop, half-smiled and proceeded to leave chair and table sitting there like the coffee pot had been when I was staring at it.

               At least, I heard as I left the room, others were coming back to their cubicles as well because I heard footsteps going from the hard title floor to a more soft carpet a few feet away.   

               While they leave, I’m heading over to my cubicle chair and sitting down to distribute some important emails to EXCEL-lent Services, Inc.’s boss, Ms. Terrance!

               I passed two swivel chairs on my way back to my computer and my own swivel chair. I called her Ms. T. We had a really strong bond, though we were not friends. We just joked around and poured coffee for each other in the breakroom. No one else had that relationship except me.

               Okay … I sighed as I put my hand to the mouse and manipulated it on the screen in front of me to wake it up. Once it blinked, I then clicked the Internet Chrome icon lined up with the other icons stationed in their places on my white and two picture-laden desktop PC. The pictures were not my pets; they were a cat and a dog I was thinking of getting so as to not be so lonely at home every morning and night and weekend in my apartment in Whitestone, Queens, New York City.

               Okay… Back to my computer. Focus, Callie. You can print these emails out! I told myself.

               Let’s start with this one. Read it. Printed it out.             

Check. Now, this one. Printed.

               Next!

I wondered whether the emails enjoyed the rides up and down my computer that my mouse gave them.

As they showed up, I thought of them as little ducklings, either getting printed or vanishing once I hit that unwanted ‘Delete’ button.           

Hm … Maybe their little duckling needs to be deleted. I scanned it for its date. Nope. This duckling is going in the trash.

    I instantly felt terrible for “deleting” the little “duckling.” So I instantly changed the email’s name to ‘Sharon’s paragraphs.’

    Yeah, now I can focus! This process of sifting through my emails to see whether I should hand them over to Ms. T or magically make them disappear with that mouse button went by speedily. I soon found myself waltzing over through two rows of office cubicles and straight out a set of flush doors looking like they belonged more in a home than in an office belonging in one of the biggest cities of America. Anyway, those pieces of furniture brought me into a hallway more boring than my office cubicle had been before I put new wallpaper up to cheer it—and myself—up. I semi-circled into another room, retrieved the emails the printer had more than happily let slide out of its mouth and zipped through to Ms. T’s office with the desired electronic messages.

               “Thank you, Callie!”

               Ms. T responded to my email giving brightly after inviting me into her small office and seating me down on one of the hard plastic chairs in front of her hickory-brown desk. She then sat her 5’0” peanut-sized self into her huge yellow office chair that seemed to tower above her small frame. Ms. T moved, unbelievably, towards her desk while still in that heck of a chair, and started going through the medium-sized paper stack.

               “You’re welcome, Ms. T!” I smiled as she laughed, her caramel hands spreading a piece of paper out in front of me.

               “Well, we do have to go over a few of them. Not that they are not written well enough; it’s just I have to make sure they are appropriate for the person receiving them.”

               Oh. I shrunk inside, crossing my legs at the ankles. I thought they were perfect. I worked on them over and over last night, and was coming in all—

               “Callie, let’s go over this one first.” Ms. T pulled out another email from within the pile and slid it towards me on the desk with the first one underneath it. She tapped the sheet of paper with her pointer finger as her blue eyes looked right into mine. “This one right here—” I looked down as she slid the finger to the middle of a paragraph. “—that starts with ‘And to mention….’”           

               I bent a little closer, looking directly at where she was referring.

“Okay.” I then straightened up, smiling knowingly. “Let’s work on it!”


               Before I knew it, I had parked my car a mile away from the bench at my favorite park, Whitestone Playground. I stepped casually out of my silver Nissan Versa, going for my journal and purse in the back seat after having opened the back door. I walked straight across the parking lot while making sure no cars were coming and thought about how I would maneuver my way towards the sandy-colored bench sitting coffee-pot still right in front of me. I sure hope I make it, I told myself as I dodged a little Yorkie jumping up at me once my sneaker—I had changed when I got home after work—hit the ugly white sidewalk.    

For Whitestone Park was never just a playground—no, I was hearing, it was currently screaming with little kids dashing around with kites. Little orange and white-spotted terriers, other Yorkie dogs and huge German Shepherds barked obnoxiously while leaping up to get butterflies and Frisbees flittering and zooming over their heads. Parents yelled for their children to be safe on the woodchip floor surrounding the island of metal evergreen and bright red rings, swings, three sets of monkey bars, five speakers and two rock-climbing towers. Amazingly, I kept myself walking in a straight line amidst the craziness, instantly ducking as a Frisbee whizzed past me. I then dodged two T-shirts whipping even further past me as I looked back lightning-fast to see a boy and a girl go retrieve the toy.        

               Wild day! I looked down at a wrist-watch I wore on my arm whenever I went to the park after work. It’s only seven o’clock! What’s it like at one or even twelve-thirty?!  

               A few more marches and I was going to own that bench. And I did, parking myself right on top of the sandy-colored three-planked piece of seat awaiting me ever since this morning.

               I hope the craziness dies down! Okay… I put myself in office work mode and flipped that flower-studded journal open. Taking the pen out of the front cover’s little pen holder, I crossed my ankles the way I did back in Ms. T’s office and went to work.  

               The first thing I’m going to write about is how I’m going to manage two animals—a cat and a German Shepherd—while working for Ms. T and going to this funhouse of a park every day. Or maybe I’ll cut back to the weekends. Like next Friday, I’ll join this kid-happy area and only stay for an hour or so. I usually stayed for a couple of hours I got so immersed in writing my thoughts down. When I looked up, the sun would be close to setting!

               I tapped the pen to my right cheek, looking right at the blank lines on my journal’s front page. Hm. Let’s think about this for a minute…

 

               “You’re getting some animals, Callie?”

               Sandra gushed at my announcement the following Monday. We were back in the breakroom, she leaning ecstatically over the turquoise table and me sitting back in my chair, smiling a tiny bit and looking at her full in the face. “Oh my goodness! That’s great!”

               She scrambled over into a chair, shoved herself towards the table and put her elbows on it and her cheeks in her palms. “Really? Tell me!”

               I did.   

               “Wow! I’ll tell Mackenzie!” She twisted around and tapped annoyingly on the other woman’s shoulder, clearly interrupting her. A curly-haired, chestnut-colored woman with freckles dotting her face jerked towards her, face irritated, but Sharon made Mackenzie wash this expression away with a couple of words and a pointer finger sticking itself right at me. The other employee then covered her mouth with excitement and went over beside me, sitting down to, I just knew, interview me. I was itching to leave now. But I looked back at Mackenzie, hearing Sharon return to her seat but with just as much enthusiasm, if not more.         

               “Wow!” Mackenzie mimicked Sharon as she always did. “Tell me more.”

               I did. Both women squealed. I pushed a smile on my lips and that was it. Several other employees, I saw out of my peripheral vision, looked over and started muttering about what was happening. I mouthed that I was considering getting a cat and a German Shepherd. They just shrugged and turned away, returning to their own conversations and then own cubicles.

               I copied them. As I returned to my own little work world and busied myself with downloading and printing pictures of some of the documents I just gave Ms. T so those papers could illustrate its concepts not just in description but in actual photograph, I strived to ignore the tempting invitation to relax in my chair and fantasize about getting those animals and raising them to be my own.    

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