I wake up ready to face the day.
My eyes are a little bit swollen, but a splash of ice-cold water will fix that.
After my face bravely takes the freezing water on the chin, I’ll go in for a shower. I’ll sing in the shower even. I’ll have my breakfast, pack my lunch, and head out to work. In the office, I’ll haunch my head over my computer and focus on work. I’ll ignore the whispers and the laughter to make those phone calls that I need to make, book appointments that I need to book. You know, make my boss the money that she pays me to make for her company. While keeping my head down.
I’ll steal glances towards you once in a while. See that your motto is the same as mine. Head down. Work. Ignore everybody else.
Over lunch hour, I’ll head over to the kitchenette and grab my lunchbox from the fridge. Rice and meatballs. Food from last night. Food that I cooked but couldn’t bring myself to eat. I will put the lunchbox in the microwave. Watch my name on the lunchbox as it spins around. I’ll tap my fingers on the counter to accompany the dull humming of the microwave as I wait for my food to heat up.
You will walk in and stand a few steps away from me. We’ll look at each other the way we always do when we get a chance to be alone. I’ll stop tapping my hands on the counter. The microwave will be left to make music on its own. Because you freeze me like that with your eyes. You freeze my heart. My blood flow. My lips. So I’ll just look at you. No more tapping.
Your eyes are swollen too. Slightly. Maybe I should share with you the ice water secret. But you don’t like cold water. I don’t think you’ll go for it.
And even then, your lips move.
“That interview I went to?”
“Yeah. How did it go?” I move towards you and stop myself just before I reach you.
“They offered me the job.” You say.
I check myself. I should be happy for you.
“Oh! That’s great news.”
You nod. You shift your eyes to the microwave that is now pinging. The climax of the song. I walk over and fetch my steaming food and place it on the counter.
I come up to you and face you. I see how uneasy you are, so I’ll give you a little space by stepping back.
“So when is your last day?”
“Today. I start there on Monday.”
“No notice?” I don’t know who I’m asking for, me or the company.
“I’d rather not drag this out.”
I nod without even knowing what I’m nodding for. I don’t like what you’re saying one bit, but I keep nodding and biting my lips anyway.
We are the scandal of the office, you and I. Two girls in love. Two weirdos. Two crazies. Two sinners.
Now you’re leaving me to this bunch of wolves. They will eat me alive. I see how they look at me when I walk to the restroom because that is the only time my head looks up. And even then, I have to make sure that you’re at your desk before I leave mine because a chance meeting at the restroom will have tongues wagging. Because all we are is two horny girls waiting for a chance to shag.
Even though they’ve never seen us behave inappropriately at work. All I did was put a folded post-it note on top of your keyboard when you were fetching your coffee. “Last night was everything I imagined it would be. Kiss me again like that soon.” Two sentences. Not a steamy romp in the office bathroom. Not a wet smooch in the office kitchenette. Not a smack of your beautiful ass at your desk. We did none of that. Not that we didn’t want to. But we were being good. Professional. Respectful.
How did my two sentences cost you your job? How did my two sentences of love make this beautiful thing between us so unbearable? One note. Two sentences. And their imagination ran wild.
I know I’ve lost you. I don’t know yet if you blame me or not. I know you loved it here. You loved that your life was finally getting back on track. You were just about to move out of your parent’s home and become an independent woman. And I wanted that for you. For us.
But here we are. I’m struggling to keep this job. You’re struggling to get as far away from me as possible.
I pick up the lunchbox from the counter and drop it in the trash bin. I want to leave but I also want to give you a hug.
I know what you’re afraid of. That I will come and hug you tight. That I will tell you how beautiful you are. You know I am right. Your eyes are begging me not to. Someone will walk in here any minute, they say, as you fetch a glass and head to the water dispenser. Maybe you need the water. Maybe you need to hold something to stop yourself from holding me. I’m coming to you all the same. I deserve those arms around me just as much as you deserve mine around you.
“We did nothing wrong,” I say, as I put my arms around you and hold you in a tight hug. “You have to remember that. We did nothing wrong.”
You were right to be afraid. Someone walks in. The same someone who read my note to the rest of the office and made it a trending topic is invading our privacy once again. I let go of you and I see the tears in your eyes.
I head to my desk and pick up my handbag. I’ll find out if I still have a job on Monday. Maybe one day I’ll have a job where who I kiss will be none of anyone’s business. Maybe one day I’ll look forward to report to work and talk about who I kissed without being judged. Maybe one day I’ll have an appetite for rice and meatballs again. Maybe one day.
For now, I’ll head to that empty space that is my home. There’ll be no cooking tonight. I’ll simply have a shower and clear my schedule for the evening.
I need to get ready because, baby, I’ll cry for you tonight like I’ve never cried for anyone before.