October 10, 2018
The man who looks like Sam Jaffe passes me in the corridor.
“In ten minutes, come see me,” he says. And then he is gone in the crowd.
I said okay. But how will I do it? I don’t know him. And, why ten minutes? Everyone will still be in their theater seats; the meeting won’t be over yet. Who is he? What is going to happen? Where is his office?
I go through the halls searching for him, scanning for sight of his wispy, frizzy, gray hair. I don’t want to have to ask him his name; or let on that I don’t know where his office is. But I can’t ask anyone about him, if I don’t know his name.
Maybe Nina knows from the employee directory. I try to describe him.
“Well, he looks like Sam Jaffe.”
What bad thing will happen when I don’t show up?
* * *
The lunch is a holiday present for the employees. Gail has an idea. We can repay the company with … what? Any ideas? Going out and buying each other ice cream for Christmas? Sure, we can do that right now.
Dan McNeal comes out from the crowd and hands me a 10 lb. plastic bag of unshelled sunflower seeds. I am surprised and I don’t understand. They are big and ugly seeds, but I take them.
He’s giving me a present? I am glad I didn’t make him feel bad, telling him they are ugly seeds. He meant well.
Daniel J. tells me he wants a glue gun for Christmas. Well, that’s okay; I have plenty. I was wondering what to do with so many. But I can’t give him a used one. Oh, I have one still in its original package. That will be perfect.
* * *
I’m writing a letter and while I’m not looking — is Z. taking my glue gun from my table?
“Did you just take the glue gun, Z?”
“Yes, I will give to Daniel. Save you the trouble.”
“But how would I have known??? You should ask first. You should say something.”
I’m writing to Chava on ivory-colored stationery, the kind that folds up in thirds like an old-fashioned, self-mailing, blue air mail letter — no weight of a separate envelope to drive up its postage.
. . . We have a new thing at work. People are giving each other Christmas presents. And telling others exactly what they want from them. Can you believe it? I don’t remember this happening before . . . .
I aim to write myself reminder notes, tracking gift requests on some scrap of paper, but I can’t find a blank post-it note. Or memo pad. Opening the drawer, I find a mess of used post-it notes. Even turning them over, I can’t find a blank page to record the requests already fading from my memory.
“Can you help me find the scissors?” I ask. “Then I could cut out a blank section to write on.”
He tells me to just go ahead, start to make the cut. The scissors will appear for me when I go to make the cut, he says.
“No, I looked everywhere. The scissors I want are gone.”
To prove him wrong, I go to make the cut. But it’s surprisingly easy, because I can use the scissors already in my hand.
“See, I told you they would appear,” he says.
“But no, those are the scissors I already had. They are not the ones I was searching for, the ones that are lost.”
I realize I’m silly because I have, after all, cut the paper, just as I wanted.
* * *
When we return home, the girl can barely come to the door to greet us. She is crawling on the floor. One of the dogs bit her.
“One of T’s dogs. The bigger one,” she says. “What do we do now?”
“The dog has been rough with me, too,” I say. But I love the dog.
R. says we can get another animal to play with. She will get me a frolicking baby elephant. I would love that! So adorable! I see us playing with him in the street. All gray and happy with big, floppy ears.
R. helps me cross the street, waving me on when traffic lets up. But I can’t walk as fast as she can. I call after her, to remind her. But she is way ahead. I struggle across, against the traffic; my bad ankle slows me down.
* * *
How do I get back into the building to find . . . ? Wow, so many hidden entrances. Some look like drawers, not doors, into the building. Do they go anywhere? If I crawled into one, would I be lost forever, caught in some hole in the basement of the building? I take a chance when I see others go in, and enter one of the holes marked, “Amazon.” I hear people ahead, asking for directions. I barely can squeeze through the narrow, underground passageways. I can’t see the signs in the dark. Several forks in the path present themselves, as I inch along, searching for the right room. I must be getting closer because I can feel things in my own bowel – do I feel clothing inside me? – as I inch along the bowels of the building. Searching.
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