She was working late; she tended to do that a lot. There was always something left to do that had to be done by morning.
People thought that she was dedicated to her work, that she lived for it and thrived in it. They assumed she didn't have a family to go home to and assumed she didn't have a life that didn't include the fast-paced business world. Everyone said she was aiming for the top, but they didn't really know much. They didn't care to know anything at all. It was too busy of a world for them to care. The kids needed to go to soccer practice, basketball games, dance recitals, music recitals, karate practice, and/or special tutoring classes. Another mini-van, sport-utility vehicle, or hybrid car needed to be purchased to fit his or her growing or shrinking family. Mortgages, college loans, credit cards, home-improvement loans, and/or new college tuitions needed to be paid.
She was working late; she tended to do that a lot. There was always something left to do that had to be done.
She had a family, but she didn't talk about them. She hated the corporate world with as much passion as she could muster from her tired soul. She wasn't aiming to go anywhere, but somehow she kept on being moved up from regular employee to middle management then to higher middle management. She was being considered for another position that would give her even more
money and more prestige that meant very little her.
She was working late; she tended to do that a lot. There was always something left to do.
There was never enough work to keep her until the early hours of the morning, but she tried to draw it out as long as she possibly could. Every document she worked on would be completely perfect and completely void of evidence that it had ever been touched by the flawed human mind. Every presentation she had to prepare would be completely perfect and would make
no ill use of a single word so that no one's time (the time they didn't have to spare) would be wasted. Everything she did was perfect and those who surrounded her were either jealous, envious, in awe of, or simply pleased with her work. They talked about her when she was nowhere near to hear them. They spoke in mixtures of positive and negative comments, depending on the season, the time of the week, or the status of their divorce papers.
She was working late; she tended to do that a lot. There was always something.
Her life was complicated, more complicated than anyone she worked with wanted to know. They already had a fixed view of her and they didn't like people changing their image in front of them. It was hard to think, and usually change meant that they had to bother to engage in life past the
personal every so often. If she were to change in front of them then they would have to think in color instead of black and white, and they couldn't do that. They had their own jobs to worry about. The economy was growing and shrinking, the crime rate was up and down, education was getting worse and better, they were safe and unsafe (all depending on the news stations they
chose to watch), and most importantly the price of gasoline was rising.
She was working late; she tended to do that a lot.
When the cleaning crew would come in at night, she would exchange a few simple words in Spanish with the woman who cleaned her office. She would ask about the woman's children and made sure to always ask about the woman's daughter who had made it into college, the first in the family. The custodian would speak in rapid Spanish about the trials her son put her through and the worry she had about her daughter being off at a big university away from home for the first time; it was so hard to keep a good eye on her since she was so far from home. The custodian would then remind them both that she had to get the office clean and move onto the others if she wanted to be done by the morning.
She was working late; she tended to do that.
While her office was being cleaned, she would leave so as not to be a nuisance to the custodial staff. She was always told that she wasn't a bother and that she should stay to finish her important work, but she would only give them a smile and thank them before she continued on her way out of her office. She left to go to a small balcony that was on her floor and deemed "The Smoker's Only Retreat". She would place both hands firmly on the railing and would cautiously look down twenty floors to the ground. She would always think about how much a fall from this height would hurt, but reminded herself that she'd be dead before she could feel anything. A fall from this height wouldn't hurt at all.
She was working late.
Slowly she would pull herself back from the edge and would look up at the starless sky. The wind would blow through her hair and she would scream, but she would never scream out words. She never cursed at an unknown person, thing, or place. She never cried. She would only scream, but not for very long. If she screamed for more than a moment then someone would hear her and
she didn't want to be heard.
She was working.
Her hands would run through her dark wavy hair, doing very little to undo the damage the wind and a full day's work had caused it. Then her hands would straighten her clothes, first her rolled up sleeves from her over-priced button down shirt that was name brand because in her world that
sort of thing mattered. Her hands would run around her waist making sure her shirt was evenly tucked into her pants. The pretend dust on her still creased pant legs would be brushed away and then she would turn away from the balcony and go back into the building. She would return to her office and she would pick up her briefcase and jacket. She would say goodbye to the custodial staff and she would finally get on the elevator that would take her to the first floor.
A security guard would escort her to her car and she would thank him then throw her briefcase into the passenger's seat before she slid into the driver's. Once again, her hands would run through her hair, this time accompanied by a sigh and then she would start her car. She drove carefully from work to home making sure to abide all traffic laws hoping to run into enough red lights to further delay her arrival to her over-priced house that had foundation problems. She would park in the driveway and then slowly get out of her car dragging her briefcase out with her. She kept her keys in hand and would slowly open the top lock of the door then move to the bottom.
Then the door would be opened and she would step through it. She'd throw her briefcase on the floor and then make her way further into the house. Her shoes would be kicked off somewhere between the front door and her bedroom.
"You're home late, again."
"I've still got that big project at work to finish," she would reply. "I've got to do really well on it if I want that other promotion."
"You always have projects."
"Well that's just the type of job I have," her voice was monotone. She rarely had an inflection on any of her words in this place anymore.
"Your job wasn't always like this."
"Things change." She'd walk into her too big closet and would change her clothes in there, alone. She always took her time to come back out.
"Are you having an affair?"
"No. It's just work." She'd walk into the bathroom and close the door behind her. When she came back out, she'd slide into the bed careful to stay away from the other person in it.
"I wish there was somehow I could reach you."
Her back would turn away from the voice and she would close her eyes.
"You need to talk to someone."
"She was my daughter, and now she's gone. Nothing can fix that." She would grasp the pillow and bunch it up in her hands.
"You can talk to someone who could help you with this."
"How do you know anyone can help? You've never lost a child." She wouldn't raise her voice. She was monotone, always monotone.
"She wasn't my biological child, no, but she was just as much a part of me as she was you."
"You're right, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said that." She said a lot of things she didn't mean these days. "I'll get some help, I promise."
The promise would be good enough for the night. She would go to sleep and she would make another appointment to see another therapist who would tell her the same thing that all the other therapists told her. They would tell her to talk to them about her pain. They would tell her that losing a child was hard (as if she didn't already know that). They would say she was going
through the cycles of grief (as if she didn't already know that), and then they would tell her to make another appointment.
Then she would work late; she tended to do that a lot. There was always something left to do that had to be done by morning.