Thursday, 14 May 2009

13. :: "a short quiet laugh"

At work the next day Jennifer stares straight through the glass in her computer monitor. She imagines seeing the images form before her as she moves the cursor from left to right, leaving behind a faded glowing tail. She closes her eyes.

Jennifer? What are you doing? You're not busy. Can you come over and help us with this thing?

Opening her eyes, Jennifer sees the young temp kneeling in front of three filing cabinets, stacks of paper either side of him. Jennifer's manager calls again to her. Jennifer, Marc has all these forms to put away, you know the system enough, you show him ok. He walks away.

The manager is younger than Jennifer but cares more about the job. Thanks a lot, Jennifer says silently to the back of his head as he walks away. Thank you for this important job, thank you. It is important work like this which makes my every morning worthwhile, you are beautiful and a powerful leader. Jennifer laughs a short quiet laugh at the things she is thinking. When the manager started working in this office, he and Jennifer worked as part of the same desk, Customer Services, and would joke about the customers and their seeming inability to work a telephone correctly. The older customers would never hang up the receiver when finishing the call, and if you listened carefully you could hear their conversations as they walked away, though they were never very interesting. Jennifer and the manager used to take lunch together and eat in the canteen downstairs in the building but not anymore.

Today Jennifer is planning on having lunch with a boy she has never met. She is curious to see how this works. It feels like in a movie. It feels like a really dumb movie where a boy and a girl exchange personal adds and in the end it works out perfectly, but somewhere along the line one always finds something hidden the other, something they did not care to know but once they found out it made them worried. In the movie it always works out.

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