I saw her at least once a week. We were busy in the warehouse and to get away from the madness, I would go out to take care of mundane administrative tasks, because it was the only time people didn’t ask me questions.
Questions. Questions. All day long. “What should we do? Where should we put this? How much will this cost? What do you think?” Only to be interrupted with calls from home: “What do you want for dinner?” Did you fax the application to the school yet? Guess what the nanny did now…?”
I love my life, but sometimes it’s too much at once.
When I get to where she works, she’s not there. Fuck. She’s the one that makes me laugh (and she never fucks up the order). I look around to see if she’s somewhere else and she’s not. I stupidly ask a coworker if She was in; the girl smiles and says She’s on her lunch, but works every weekday if I’m “looking” for her. I try to cover it up by saying She recommended a product to me that I’ve forgotten the name of.
I bump into Her on her way in as I’m on my way out. “Hey stranger! Long time no see!” She looks so…young. She’s barely 20 years old. At 20, I was studying all day and all night. Not her. She’s free. Out of her work uniform, I can fully see her. She’s slender…it doesn’t look like she eats enough. I wonder what she does during her lunch breaks?
Weeks go by and I don’t see her. My partner does though; every time he comes back he tells me that the “spitfire” was there. He likes the “spitfire”; thinks that she would be great to have at the office to do all this admin stuff we’re wasting our time on. With the event coming up in a few weeks, we could test her out, and if she’s as smart as she seems, we’ll toss a couple of extra bucks at her. The next time I go in, I’m to find out if she’s interested.
The next time I go in, I make a comment about how tiring it’s been working day and night. She cracks a joke about never sleeping. I say she’s not going to bed at three in the morning, she arches her brow and says “you’re right, I usually go to bed at 4.” I imagine a boyfriend keeping her up until 4 in the morning, and for some reason that bothers me. I ask what happens at 4 a.m. and realize the question sounds dirty. She laughs and says “no offense taken. I read a lot.” I ask what she’s reading, she surprises me by telling me she’s re-reading a biography on Trudeau. I honestly didn’t expect her to be a “serious reader” and say so. She brags that she’s been reading since was 2, and that she’s too old for nursery rhymes at bedtime.
When I watch her at her task she’s serious, but with her coworkers, she’s lighthearted; flirts with the guys. But with me, she’s detached and polite. Customer service 101.
I wish she’d flirt with me.
One day I decide to ask if the name on her tag is real. She laughs and says it’s a nickname her coworkers gave her. She holds out her hand and tells me her real name. I shake it and tell her mine. She repeats my name back to me with a smile. Her hands are small, soft. I hold on a second too long. I asked if she ate in the break room at lunch, she said she hung out on campus to get away from her work. She had a managerial role so people would constantly be asking her questions. If she left, no one could bother her. She takes walks to zone out. I asked her to show me how to do that some day.
She just shrugs and smiles. Tells me to have a good day and attends to the next client. I still hadn’t asked if she would work for us. I was afraid she’d say no. That she wouldn’t give up her weekend to work. There must be a boyfriend, right?
The next week, my partner came back and said that he had hired her for the weekend. Couldn’t figure out why I kept forgetting. My wife is coming to the event this weekend. The idea of them being in the same space bothered me.
When I introduce her to my son, she crouches down to his eye level and holds out her hand. My little shy guy hides behind me. My wife jokes that he’s just like me. She looks up at me, “I can see that.” I felt myself blushing and hide in my office. Later on, I see her playing hide n’ seek with my son. She looks like a babysitter.
What am I thinking?
My wife and I have been together pretty much since high school. I’ve not even kissed another woman. Now, here I was, watching this – girl – play with my son and wishing that my wife had gone home. As if she knows I’m feeling guilty, my mother chooses that moment to show up and check on us.
Of course my mother likes her. She’s sarcastic and cocky in the same way. Before my mother leaves, she gives her a hug and says, “These two better make you an offer and keep you around!”
We both say we plan on it. I mean it differently.
Fuck. How does that work? I can’t have her here every single day. She’s my escape from this. All I want is to sit across from her and make sure that she eats. Talk to her. Find out what else she’s doing at 4 in the morning.
Wait. WHY THE FUCK DO I CARE?
It’s getting late. My mother asks her if she’s driving. No. Does she have a boyfriend picking her up…?
For some reason, I’m pleased.
I insist on driving her home. When I drop her off that first night, I take the long way back to her house. She asks about my days in law school and my time as a lawyer. When I let her out, she thanks me for the ride and confirms when she’ll be back. I don’t want her to leave.
Tomorrow will be the last time I see her. I won’t go into her work. I won’t offer her the job.
The next day it’s more of the same; she’s exactly the way she is at her job. She flirts with my warehouse staff in Spanish. But with me she’s still so fucking polite. They’re talking about playing hide and seek. I hear them referring to her as “Linda” and correct them. They laugh and explain that “Linda” means “pretty girl”. They’ve given her a nickname. I send them home early. She says her goodbyes, smiling shyly at my warehouse supervisor. I make a point of mentioning that he now gets to go home early to his wife and son. I see a flicker of disappointment cross her face and watch as the warm smile becomes the polite one.
I’m such a happy hypocrite.
I shut out the lights. I play hide and seek with her. I get to dance with her in the dark. I get to hear her say my name…
I almost make good on my promise. I don’t go in to her work.
When I pull into the parking lot the next day, I call her at her desk and she meets me outside. I take her to lunch…
That’s how I started cheating on my wife.