We were walking, my friend asked if I wanted to go out for lunch but I
said no, I wanted to visit the pond instead.
Behind the office building there is a warning sign that we ignored.
Summer is my favorite time of year, when the earth is warm again after
being frozen during winter. We are dressed for inside, seeking a spot
untouched by modern man. A large rock seems like a nice place to sit he
says. I keep walking after I turn to find wild flowers embracing the
stone beneath his hand.
When we arrive at the pond he proclaims that there isn't anything to
do. Our oasis is a peaceful place but my skin is turning pink so I move
towards a tree for shade. Together we sit, listening to birds and bugs,
watching loud mouthed frogs jump at insects. It could be the end of the
world so I fantasize that it is and neither of us have to return to
work. It hasn't been a bad day however something has been missing from
my life only I'm not sure what it is or where I could find whatever
would complete me.
Next to me long grass makes a pattern on his exposed skin. We could
talk about his upcoming trip to see his family, our new parent company
that recently bought our previous owner out, or how I just happened to
pick a four leaf clover. At work he cautions me when I'm upset and
after I've calmed down I find wisdom in his words. A slice of Mozart
flits through my mind when I see two birds flying in and out of the
grasses near us. My rheumatologist told me that I am supposed to avoid
excessive sun exposure but having sunbeams caress my skin feels
Without the noise pollution and air conditioning I start to relax. We
talk about the buyout and what the new owners will do when they arrive.
A girl who sits next to us thinks that our new CFO is hot, we discuss
how she's always chasing a different man and how her image of herself
influences who she finds attractive. Heaviness invades my comfortable
body. I don't want to move, I'm not hungry or thirsty but wonder if
either affliction might be troubling him.
Under the monotonous sky I wonder if I've ever seen the chips of
color in his eyes at such a close range. We work in different
departments and sit next to a third one. Our work allows us to have
conversations about what the other person is doing. When he says he
couldn't sell things for a living I reply that my paycheck wouldn't last
long if I had his work to do. On the surface we are speaking about
work, and the people we work with, secretly I'm wondering if there's a
deeper meaning in his words.
When our time ends, I'm petulant and out of sorts, wanting to lie
next to him for the rest of the afternoon. Angrily I kick up dust as
walk back to work. I study his feet and make a note of how the edge of
his sandal is worn on the outside. I want to hold his hand only I'm
afraid that the attraction is one sided instead of being mutual. When I
met him he had a girlfriend, he's single now and he's always been nice
to me but I want to be more than his friend only I didn't realize it
earlier or maybe I did but wasn't ready for it then.
The remainder of my day dragged by. When it was time for us to leave
he asked if I was ready. Another coworker of mine, whom I love dearly,
made fun of the assorted bags I was carrying. A group of people headed
towards the bar asked if I was coming, I wanted to but I had to get the
oil in my car changed and run several other errands. Traffic was worse
than usual on account of construction. I made it to the dealership on
time but just barely. Outside I checked my phone for texts, there were
two from my sister yet none from him.
That night I had a dream that we were back by the pond. My dream self
did not recognize the noonday heat, this time I was laying down while
he was standing. When he held his hands out I reached for them. Together
we stood watching a school of miniature fish swim. When he asked me if
there was anything compelling I had to do I said no. In real life I
don't kiss people since I don't know what sort of food they may have
eaten recently that could get me into trouble. But in my dreams, it's safe to indulge.
There may have been tears running down my face, I don't remember the
entire dream, only pieces of it. His eyes were intense when he held my
hands up and kissed the tops. I might have felt dizzy as I waited for
him to kiss me again. Normally I am talkative while he prefers to
listen. Another Mozart fragment echoed in my
head. It was a magnificent sky, a truly mesmerizing day. He was
wonderful, I was in love, I had always been loved, and would be loved
for an eternity. I felt drunk and sated, light and heavy by turns.
A jet left a thin white ribbon on the blue background of our sky,
separating it into two semi-equal pieces. Despite his earlier kisses and
the heat of the day I shivered, not knowing what had changed yet
positive that something had. After a long silent break he knelt down and
informed me without eye contact that he was going to be promoted. His
promotion meant that he would have to move out of state. My tears were
real that time. In my dream the picnic table we sometimes ate lunch at
was near a bunch of reeds. It didn't help that he was rubbing my back as
It was a small consolation that he said he would keep in touch and
miss me when he was gone. My red rimmed eyes stared at the flat of the
pond thinking of a future time when I would have to come here without
him. Work was to the west however we headed east when we started
walking. Because it was a dream it made sense that war
machines appeared out of nowhere. Ash and rubble from exploding office
buildings fell around us as we ran across the field, stumbling over the
rocky soil that looked flat but wasn't.
We ran until we came to a bridge, together we leaned against it,
choking on dry air. After we caught our breath he asked if I was okay.
Not trusting my voice just yet I nodded. Using a large stick he had
found he scratched words into dirt that had been protected by the
bridge. A new face flashed before mine and then I knew that I couldn't
marry the man who stood beside me. I was touched that he got down on one
knee to propose but I knew in my heart that I wanted the safety he
represented, not him.
Maybe rejecting him means I'll have to spend the rest of my life
alone. I've always believed in doing the right thing whether it pays off
in the long run or not. It's very difficult to go through life knowing I
could have had someone that I probably would have gotten along with
well and the distance between me and someone I used to call a good
friend covers more than miles. I wish this was a happily ever after
story, instead it's a tale of what life is like when you refuse to
deviate from anything that moves you further away from what you really want.
When I returned
to the office building that had been there were people cleaning up the
perimeter of the mess. I was close enough to the man who had just sold
his company to a billion dollar corporation that I could hear things he
was saying to our marketing director. He was telling people how he had
started the company in his basement and still remembered getting a call
from the bank saying that a rent check he had written bounced. But he stuck with his vision and the wreckage before him was proof
that he had built something he believed was great.
On a smaller scale I
have done something similar with my own life. Instead of listening to
other people I have chosen to carve a path for myself out of unexplored
territory hoping it will lead me towards what I want to be in the
future. Once I cast off the people who didn't support me, I found a
group that was interested in helping me achieve my goals. Focus shaped
me into who I am today. I'm proud that I made the committment to myself
even though the person I love has someone else because I can look in the
mirror and find self respect in the eyes that look back at me.
For now I have me, that's more than I had before and today, right now,