Seasonal Engagements

The bank was closing a bit early tonight, in the spirit of Christmas and the holiday season. Now was about the time where all the hardworking parents left the offices to return home to their young children, their goal to spend as much time with them as possible on the weekend before having to return to work on the following Monday morning.

Part of me envies them all; they have a family to hold seasonal gatherings with and to spread the good tidings and merriment to. My family walked out on me ten years ago, when I was about fourteen years old because of some really bad decisions I’d made, and I haven’t seen them since. Other than the friends that I’ve made within the past year of working at the bank, I have no one; I’m alone.

Whenever I’m feeling particularly down, there is nothing, and I mean nothing at all that cheers me up the way that kicking off my shoes at the front door of my house and settling down to watch a football game does. Usually I spend that time alone, just thinking about life and mathematics, but those are one in the same for me, being a banker and all. Tonight, I don’t intend to be alone though, because none of “the guys”, meaning my particular group of friends from the office, have wives or children either; maybe this year will be the year that I don’t have to spend the holiday season alone.

I have five good friends that I met at a business social, way back in January when I first started working for the company. Our crew is more or less comprised of Allen, the joker of the workplace; Gary, the chick magnet (that doesn’t have a relationship at the moment); Matt, the head of the human resources center of the bank; Steve, the head accountant; William, the dreamer; and lastly myself, the overly pessimistic one.

I turn off my computer’s monitor and put today’s financial reports inside my brief case. I make a mental note to remember to collect my coat from the receptionist’s desk on the way out. My first priority, though, is to get myself a couple of pals to come over tonight. I leave my personal cubicle and move to the one on my direct left and wait for Allen to turn around and notice my presence.

“Hello, sunshine,” Allen says mockingly as he notices the rather glum expression that has stuck to my face. “You know, if only we had more people in the world like you…”

“If only you had more people in the world like me, what?” I ask.

“Well… Uhm, I really don’t know. I wasn’t anticipating that you’d expect me to actually be headed somewhere with that remark. Don’t you ever just say things just to say things? I mean, maybe just so that you can lighten the mood?” He questions, returning his gaze back to the computer screen.

“I don’t think so…”

“Hey! I have a riddle for you. My neighbor’s son told it to me the other day. Okay, so, without it I’m dead. If I’m not then I’m behind. What am I?” He asks, trying hard to hold in his laughter.

“I couldn’t imagine an answer that would be as funny as you’re making it out to be,” I say cautiously, careful as to not sound too condescending or bitter.

“Are you ready for this,” He says chuckling, “’cause you’re going to love this one. The answer is ‘Ahead’, get it?” I watch as his body quivers with true laughter.

“Sure, hahaha. I get it. It’s absolutely hilarious. Thanks for sharing,” I say a bit too sarcastically.

Allen wipes the tears away from his eyes. “You know I finally figured out how to end my statement: If only we had more people in the world like you, all traces of optimism would be extinct!”

“You know, I’ll never forget the first time we met,” I say, keeping a poker face, “although I’ll keep trying!”

“Man you got me,” Allen says. “I see you’ve been practicing your comebacks.”

“That I have, that I have. So hey, since the office is getting locked up in about ten minutes I came to ask you what you were doing this weekend. I know it’s Christmas and all, but I wanted to see if you were interested in coming over and just hanging, if you don’t already have plans of course. Tonight they have a Christmas eve football marathon and tomorrow we can go to the movies or watch more football and get a pizza or something…”

“Well, I don’t know,” Allen says.

“Did I mention that Gary’s gonna be there too?”

“Why didn’t you say so in the first place? I’m not busy this weekend anyhow. I’m up for hanging at your crib,” Allen says, smiling. “I’ll finish up this chart that I’ve been working on in excel and then I’ll head over, okay?”

“Alright, cool. I’ll leave you to it then. See you in a bit.”

I get my things and walk out of the room altogether. All the other cubicles are empty, which means everyone else who’s here is in the front, which is perfect. I’ll just offer up one big group invite to my place. Simple.

As I walk down the hall, something in my gut stirs and I stop. My mouth is suddenly really dry and there’s only one expression on my mind: De Ja Vu.

The End

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