Waiting to Exhale

The elevator buttons lit up one by one, as if touched by a child’s ghostly index finger, the display sparked like a Christmas tree finally dressed in its finery. Craig and Lindsay stood side by side at the rear of the car. They were headed to the fifth floor for a meeting, but, even though they knew each other, they did not interact. Neither did they react to the sudden illumination, one by one, of the floor numbers.

On four, Allison stepped on without even glancing at the display. She nodded at Craig but completely ignored Lindsay. It was rare for Allison not to speak, though it seemed customary for the other two, but she simply eased herself next to Craig as the doors slid shut once more. She was preoccupied by other things at that moment anyway.

At eight that morning, when she arrived for work, the fountain out front had sometime in the night begun spouting black water. She glanced at the strange color, but it didn’t slow her down. It wasn’t her problem, though she hoped it would be remedied by close of business. Not because she was afraid, of course.

“It’s probably just a prank,” they said around the water cooler on four. Delightful Décor had spread downward two floors from the fifth, which meant five more water coolers, and more chances to hear office gossip. Continue reading “Waiting to Exhale”

@ The Post Office

I went to the post office today. It was just after lunch when the post office lady (I think her name is Donna) was retrieving the mail from the authentic looking blue postal collection box just outside of the front door. I walked past her with a nod of my head, as I usually do, but I’m unsure if she saw me.

She was talking with another lady as they traveled together out of the post office. The other woman had a sheaf of envelopes in her hand, of various shapes and sizes, leading me to believe she had just checked her postal box for the day. They were conversing animatedly with each other like they were old friends, so I didn’t interrupt.

As I settled in at the counter to wait for her imminent return another gentleman came in after me. I also nodded at him, as is my wont in situations such as those, and he inclined his head in return. It’s a guy thing. He was an older fellow, with a white beard that didn’t at all remind me of Santa Claus. And even though this is a small town, I don’t believe I had ever seen him before, a rarity that was worth noting at the time, and then later.

We struck up a minimal conversation about the heat in the place, a standard placeholder, while we waited a few moments for Donna to return to the counter. She breezed back in, closing the inner door behind her. A slight whiff of cinnamon followed in her wake. I stood sentinel at the vinyl counter as she came around from the back and settled back into her place. It reminded me of a hairdresser returning to her styling chair, looking slightly out of place until she is standing there again with scissors in her hand. Continue reading “@ The Post Office”