The girl in the elevator is smiling, but not really at any one of us in particular. She’s smiling to herself, I think, like she knows something no one else knows. Like she knows a secret. It gives her a kind of glow. Maybe she has a new job, or a new boyfriend. Or a girlfriend maybe; how do I know? I notice her eyes are a nice shape. Never really looked before, I guess. They’re warmed by her smile and there’s a tiny dimple just by her mouth. I never saw that before either. But then, she never smiled before that I can recall. I’d better stop staring now. Check my watch.
I hope she doesn’t have a new job. That would mean she wouldn’t ride the elevator any more, unless it’s a promotion in this building. Makes me think how I need to find a new job.
It’s the same people I see here every day. I don’t mind that. What I mind is people going. I used to be one of the youngest in my office but not now. Now there are some that just seem such kids and I really have to move on.
I walk past the plants. They’re Jenny’s. She’s another one I know, but don’t know. Least I know her name. She likes plants. She has a little watering-can on her desk and she waters those things every day, touches the leaves and smiles. It’s like they’re her kids. I can just imagine what her house is like. Must be a jungle, and it makes me think maybe I should get a plant. But I’d kill it I bet. Have to face the fact I’m not so great at looking after things.
Bryan catches my eye and I remember that I promised to bring him that DVD I lent. I’ve forgotten it. And I can see it sitting right there next to the TV. And I put it in the case all ready and set it down there so I would see it and not forget. Why couldn’t I have remembered that? What’s wrong with me? He won’t lend anything to me again. Bryan is new. He’s been here only a week, but he’s ambitious, you can see it. He’s always smart and I’m not so sure I like him. I’ve seen the way he kisses ass.
On my way to my desk I’m stopped by my manager, Rory. He tells me I’ve filled the forms in wrong again. So stupid how they have to be different colors , I mean, why? I just shake my head and say sorry and I’ll redo them. I’m not going to tell him I’m colorblind. People just stare at you like you’re a freak, or they think you’re doing it to be annoying.
I sneak outside at ten like I always do, for a quiet smoke. An old drunk shuffles by, his pants dragging and catching under his worn boots, about two sizes too big they are. I think at first that he’s muttering to himself the way they do, but he’s singing. And it’s a song I know.
Just when I get back in the office the bell rings for a fire test. The first thing I do is check all round me. If you smoke too you’ll know why. So far this is shaping up to be not such a great day for me. What if it’s not a drill? That’s what I always think. And what if it’s my fault?
Least I really would have to find a new job if it was.