Status: Finished.

More Than Just Baser Instincts.

Four Years I'll Never Get Back

The rain crashed down to the earth, almost as if a child sat on the gray clouds above me and poured water from a bucket while lightning lit up the otherwise pitch-black skies. Up until today, it had been humid and dry for the past two months; the change had happened so quickly that it was almost unreal! Thunder shook the very floor on which I stood, eliciting a curse from my lips as I dropped to the horribly uncomfortable office chair.

It was not the most desirable weather, but it certainly fit the mood.

As I listened to the sounds of the storm pounding against the window, I could not help but wish my thoughts would wander elsewhere. If I could choose, I would have picked a field of soft purple asters someplace where the sky was a periwinkle blue and the only sounds were birds chirping happily and the wind billowing across the lush, green grass. I would sit in that open pasture and soak up the rays of sunlight that all but begged to kiss my pale skin with even the slightest hint of a tan.

Instead, I was forced to endure another day of toiling meaninglessly in a cramped office whose walls were pieces of plaster that only rose to my shoulders. The only colour I could see was the dull grey of those same half-walls' paint, which was chipping and revealing a sickly beige beneath it. A chunky computer monitor (which was a model-year that all but matched my date of birth) was my only friend, offering a repetitive logo that bounced across the otherwise black screen.

My cubicle was the only one that was so quiet and still; the others were filled with panicking employees who scattered about the hallway like squirrels before hibernation. The CEO had just announced that the company would be making serious cuts within this next week, and this floor provided the largest chunk of expendable payrolls.

Everyone else was trying to save their jobs by doing work that didn't fall under their jurisdiction or working so much unpaid overtime that one could safely assume their lives did not exist outside of the office.

As for me, well... I preferred to sit at my tin desk with my feet propped up and balancing a pencil on my freckle-covered nose. It had been my favourite pastime as a child, though I had always been told I would go cross-eyed.

So far, my eyes were still perfectly aligned.

Perhaps I should have cared more about a going-nowhere job that was just about to slip between my fingers; but as I saw it, the decision had already been made. I had actually already lined up two job interviews elsewhere, one that would take me out-of-state. It was a stretch, but I figured I should go all-in before I allowed myself to become unemployed and thoroughly homeless. Of course, I was sure that Lucille, my Godmother, would take me back if push came to shove...

“Excuse me, are you using that stapler?”

I whirled around quickly in my beyond-itchy chair, opening my mouth to question the balding man standing before me.

“Thanks!” he shouted in my face, reaching around me to steal my only stapler and vanishing from my cubicle before I could even consider blinking.

“Sure!” I muttered under my breath as I leaned over my desk and powered down the computer. “Take my head, too; you certainly don't think I'm using it!”

I sighed, completely exasperated, and the puff of air caused my fringed bangs to scatter across my forehead. These people were not something I would miss when I was fired at the end of the week.

The secretary said nothing to me as I glided across the lobby floor, my heels clicking quickly against the marble tiles; rather, she was glued to the computer screen. A quick glance with my twenty-twenty vision revealed that she was, like many others, spending her last few days sending out her resume and all but begging for interviews. She played with her hair incessantly, a nervous habit I had noticed four years ago when I had first started working here as business consultant.

I made quick work of the parking lot, noting the cars that would definitely would remain here overnight. Thankfully, my Saturn was not one of them. The drive home lasted only ten minutes with my foot slammed onto the gas pedal; I had always enjoyed watching the world whiz right by me, having only seconds to take in all of the beautiful nature and the aggravating industrial growth. If I went fast enough, I hoped that the trees and natural lakes would consume the tall skyscrapers and smog-producing pillars.

So far, no such luck.

I lived in the suburbs in an apartment building that all but touched the sky. It wasn't the best arrangement, but it was a cheap and sustainable option. In this neighbourhood, however, I made sure to lock the doors.

When I got home, I showered as quickly as possible (I had always preferred to avoid water) and threw myself into a pair of pajamas. My night would be spent exactly as my fellow employees: with my eyes glued to the computer screen and watching for any sign of interest by employers.

I dropped into a chair by my kitchen table, powering on the laptop that had been given to me for my college graduation. There was a laugh: I had gone to get a teaching degree with a zoology minor, so what the hell was I doing in my current job! Well, I had no experience. A job had popped up at a local firm, and I had jumped at it. I had told myself that it was temporary, that I would find a teaching job when the time was right. Hilarious.

Unfortunately, there was absolutely no activity with either of my interviews. They said they would contact me, but that was as far as it went.

With a loud groan, which filled my small and otherwise silent apartment, I decided to boycott staring at it for a moment longer. I flicked my finger across the track-pad, stopping at the email icon. There was the expected spam and “unbelievable deals,” but...there was also an email from Gregory Stanson, CEO of Lakeview Solutions, Inc.—and, consequently, the man in charge of staff at my place of work.

I only read one word: “unfortunately.”

Then I booked my flight to Oregon.
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So this is something I've been working on for a while now, on and off as inspiration came and went. I figured it was time to get it out there so the need to update my stories can give my writer's block a swift kick in the pants! Thanks for reading :)