Wednesday, February 08, 2012

The Enterprise - 35

My old colleagues from remained in contact via an online user group dubbed Laugh Riot. It was animated with chatter at first, people signing up and saying hello, dressing up what they were doing now as best they could, poking around for jobs. Then it ebbed, as these things always do. But now and again there’d be a burst of conversation. On one such occasion it was suggested that the old gang get together for drinks.

We met at some nondescript happy-hour joint in Midtown. It was good to see people. Some more than others. We stood around in a circle, grinning mindlessly. Conversation proceeded in fits and starts.

Finally, the crowd thinned out. Melissa remained, alone at the bar, leaning over the dregs of her Maker’s Mark. I sidled up and offered her another. We began to talk. We’d practically never spoken before. Had we, in fact, ever spoken at all?

She’d been in marketing. That I knew. I remembered walking down the row of cubicles to mine each day, at approximately 10:15, and passing her to my right. She had a charming habit of slinking down in her chair and covering her mouth with the collar of her turtleneck shirt. As though she’d just as soon vanish. She was dark-haired, green-eyed. With an alluring little pout. Every day I’d glance at her and think: I’d love to fuck her. Too bad I never, ever will.

Now that we no longer worked together, now that I no longer saw her every day, every morning—I was emboldened somehow. Out from under the sallow fluorescence of the office, I was freed. I was someone else. And when she looked at me that night, she confirmed my transformation.