her office

3 August, 2008

bee on lace

Sometimes, when my aunt is out of her office I’ll sit down at her desk, in her big leather chair that is cracked in all the right places. I look at the pictures of my cousins dressed-up and grinning, the photo of the Miss Adventure- the boat where every good childhood memory I have took place. I see the desk plate with Paw Paw’s name, one of the many, many relics from when he ran the business. I look to my left, see the postcard I sent her on my last trip, the photo of me with long hair and a graduation cap, the drawings my sister created for her. My fingers flip through the tabs of the manila folders on top of her desk, reading the titles as I go.

I open the heavy oak drawer in the middle of her desk and look at all her desk things. Purple paper-clips separated from the other paper-clips (did my cousin do that?), pocket calendars from 1976, old plastic keys that reveal themselves to be box-cutters or magnets, a million little tweezers, highlighters, pens, staples, and that ancient pair of metal scissors I’m not supposed to know is there (but that I use if I need to cut something properly). I glance at the rent checks stapled to receipts, lightly touching the raised pen-marks on the back of the check with my fingertips.

My dog follows me into my aunts office, putting her soft head in my lap and looking at the bottom left drawer, where we both know the dog treats are kept. Opening the drawer I see the orange bubble gum and one lone power-bar, peeking from under the package of dog chews. It’s not one of those low-carb bars my Aunt eats all the time so I devour it’s chalky carob-ness without guilt. I eye the orange gum and decide to leave it.

I open the second to top right drawer, where she keeps all the stickers and notebooks. I take out a large legal pad and grab an ink pen off her desk. Wake up her computer and put her headset on my own head.

It never fails- right at the most important part of the phone call someone will come into the office or start yelling from somewhere in the building- “Lea?! Lea! I got a cylinder that needs to get filled”, or “Lea?! Lea! How many cylinders did that guy bring in?” or “Lea?! Lea! What are you doing?”. I’m learning, slowly, to be able to listen to two conversations at once.

It’s the same office where my aunt and I have screamed at each other in anger and overwhelming sadness, the same office we have laughed in, cried in (and when she cries, she cries JUST like my mom did), held each other until the other one stopped sobbing—

It’s not that I’m pretending I’m my aunt- I could and would never do that. But I love her space- that the pillow under her desk smells like wet dog and that her brown leather briefcase is in the same spot it always has been- sandwiched between the empty chair and the printer cabinet. That the gum I found in the bottom drawer will be chewed, possibly a decade from now, but with joy and a cold can of diet coke.

It’s the knowledge that no matter where I am in the world, no matter how dark it is, she will come get me (and god forgive the darkness, because my aunt will have no mercy).


4 Responses to “her office”

  1. Eli Says:

    You write so well. I can tell that even through all the hard times you love your aunt, her affects, and her effects more than most things. I can not wait till you are my wife so i can see how our kids admire you in that same way.

  2. smoothpebble Says:

    Okay, The Guy is so correct. Your writing is delicious! And The Guy – Well he is obviously delicious too. Listen to him, keep that ring on, and marry him as soon as possible. And again my apologies for eavesdropping.
    Also, your creations are awesome too – the book mark and earrings!

  3. Kitt Says:

    …They ask you what you’re doing to?

    God I hate that XD.

  4. […] Aunt Carol threw me a bridal shower, all mimosa toasts, daintily wrapped packages of tissue and silk and paper-mache penises. Meghan made me wear a tutu and sparkling, noisy pink top whist I opened packages and tore exactly as many bows as the number of children I wish to have. My grandfather tried to walk in the room as beautiful young women painted and glued and adorned paper phalli. […]

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