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Waiting for the Fall

I was sitting at my desk, auditing vouchers that were awaiting payment when I realized the hush that fell over my boss’s office.  Whispered voices rose in the air, followed by more silence.  A word or two slipped out, and my fingers paused over the calculator.  My ears strained to capture a conversation that pulsed with every need for attention.  Something was going on.  Was it about me, or was it what was about to happen?

“That must’ve been very uncomfortable,” my boss said.

They may as well have been talking about me.  Maybe, they were.  I could feel it every time I went into the room, where the ladies in the office met for lunch.  In the beginning, they welcomed me in with open arms.  Then, over the last year, our relationship changed.  When I walked into that room now, I may as well have walked through a spider web of tension.  Maybe, because of their exclusive holiday party, but that’s not what cut me.  What sliced me deep was the fact that they hid it away from me until it slipped from one lady’s mouth.  With a shake of the head, the cat was out of the bag, and our relationship has not been the same.  They did not want me there, but I came anyway, smiling a dopey smile to shake off the bitter tension.  That was very uncomfortable.

A picture nearby caught my attention.  My four best friends.  It was our best picture taken at my thirtieth birthday party.  I had pinned it to the board next to me, just above the calculator.  I have not heard from them except for one, and it’s been some time since last we spoke.  They had abandoned me as well, and I was alone.

Last year was a rough ride.  A doctor told me that I only had two options.  I could get everything in order and prepare to die, or I could do the heart surgery and live and keep living.  I did the heart surgery, and the recovery was not so easy.  Complications arose, and when everything was finally settling down, Super Storm Sandy happened.  And after she blasted my family out of our home for two whole weeks, then we hoped for some sort of peace, and we would find none.  We would just find a hole in my heart left behind from the surgery, another complication that needed to be dealt with.  I dealt with it.

And here I sit at my desk, listening to the hush.  We were just told last week that our jobs were in jeopardy.  The governor was grinding his ax, and it was our heads that he wanted to cut off.  The noose tightened around my neck.  I believed in the no layoffs.  It was a lie.  Everything was a lie, and that was the second part of the hush.

“Get ready for the Bumping,” the other spoke from within the office, and then they fell silent again.  “Is she listening to us?”  Her voice dropped another notch, but neither peered out to look at me.  “She has no seniority,” I heard her say, and my heart froze, a truth I knew but did not want to know.

This was the end.  I know that now as I write this.  The writing was on the wall last year, and we panicked.  Then, they blanketed us in a warmth of lies to keep us complacent, and they did.  And then, my crisis arose and swallowed 2012 right through the year’s end.  This year has just begun, but the ax is spitting sparks now, sparks of a long chapter ready to burn and pages left to memory.  There is no going back.  There is no going forward.  There is just me sitting in this damn chair, waiting for the fall.


Melissa R. Mendelson is a Short Story Author and Poet published online and in print and featured on Youtube


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