I’m sorry I’m late, I didn’t want to come. What I wish I could say when I walk into the office. Instead, my teeth are clenched as I open the door, wondering which mood will greet me as I step in.
Whew! The boss man’s door is closed— today I beat him in. Although I can’t see him, I sense his squinty eyes, monitoring my moves; reading my emails. He listens to my calls; waiting to pounce if I miss a cue.
He isn’t there but the stench of his expired cologne lingers in the room. He’s been here and gone. His dirty cup in the sink next to the crusty bowl of Easy Mac; his morning routine. He must have an agenda today. I hope it keeps him away all day.
Perhaps he will phone in to upset the mood. Words are thrown like a wild pitch. They set the office manager into motion. She bounces around her cubicle, a padded cell. One day it must be this way until tomorrow when he changes his mind. Another day, another dollar; another mood.
Some days she’s his scape goat, other days his mole. It’s no wonder she is having an identity crisis, her dreams are on hold. I say good morning but she doesn’t reply. Is her resentment for me? It’s hard to tell. No happy photos of family on her desk. Work is her escape. Here she gets a paycheck.
I’m sorry I’m late, I didn’t want to come. Each day is the same. Will I be behind the wheel of the bus or be thrown underneath? Anxiety rolls into my being like fog. It slowly leached from the ground, masking my way. This fog of anxiety has narrowed my vision. I can’t see my future or what I’ve accomplished in the past. It becomes so dense, I can’t see my next step, so I stay.
Some days he greets me to ask if I can ever be on time. I’m sorry I’m late, I didn’t want to come. The response I’d like to recite, if I still had a spine.
My day already started, before I left home. My phone travels with me. I landed a sale as I sat in traffic and painted my nails.
At the end of the day he will not be there, to stand in my office and ask me the time. He will have left by a quarter to five. A creature of habit, way past his prime. “There’s one way to do things, and that way is mine!”