The suite of offices I work in is circular, with a couple hallways branching off like spires from a medieval tower. My office is at the end of one of these spires so I am at one of the furthest points from the front office. Sometimes I walk the circle just to catch snippets of conversations going on in the other spires. If I carry a piece of paper with me, it’s like I’m going somewhere important. But really I’m just stretching my legs and escaping the extreme temperatures of my old office.
There is a certain corner I turn in the office that startles me every time. As I shuffle past the open door, the feeling I am being watched is heavy on my shoulders. I can’t help but glance over, but only out of the corner of my eye. So it looks as if a head is looking over the file cabinets at me. I haven’t taken the opportunity to slow down and see what it is.
A painted seahorse watches me work. A gift from a past lover. Hung with care during a state of bliss, it holds no negative memories of our time together. To tell the truth, there weren’t many. I fear that one day it will fall and break, shattering my heart along with it. Another trinket I cling to, unable to divorce myself from anything that caused a smile in my past.
I had an office mate for a while. A lovely woman who taught me everything I know in my job. Except for what I already possessed from some years of working in similar positions. She’s not here right now, and I miss the presence of another body in the office. Most days all I am consumed with is the sound of my typing and the sound of the music I play when I remember to turn it on. Even the other office in our corner doesn’t always have a body in it. It’s at these times that my mind wanders. I play out conversations in my mind and whisper truths that no one else can hear.
There is a single window in my office, but it doesn’t open. Through it, I can hear the sounds of the outdoors, but am stuck here breathing in the recycled air of the other building inhabitants. I can hear engines rattling by, college students discussing all that is non-academic, even the sound of the wind as it brushes by the leaves in the sparse trees. The light pours in and sometimes I take a moment to stand by the window, close my eyes, and wish I could feel the elements.