Big letters, really big letters! Standing out in sharp contrast to the white board, why is my name written there in thick, black, five-inch-high letters?
Before I read any further, I know this isn’t a good thing. Oh no.
As if all that’s not enough, there is an arrow starting at the words, “Survey due” and snaking over to end at - yep - my name. It makes me want to holler, so I do.
“Oh yeah - I’m the slow one, I’m a real schmuck. Does she even realize that I haven’t been here since Monday?” I go venting down the hall to no one in particular (although I do figure that at least one of my three co-workers has heard me.)
“So, did you see your name on the board outside of the lounge?” Celia asks me, her eyebrows raised.
“Yes, didn’t you just hear me yelling in the hallway?” I’m still fuming as I drop into the seat across from her.
“Boy, that’s belittling, isn’t it? I’d be mad. It’s been written like that all week,” Celia continues, not seeming to acknowledge that yes, indeed, I’m kind of peeved by it.
“Couldn’t she at least notice I’m not in the habit of shirking my responsibilities? I haven’t been here all week Couldn’t she check my ‘track record’? - I’ve never not done one of these on time.” I’m fuming (and I intended the double negative).
“Yeah, well just get to it before the cut-off date next week and she’ll stop bugging you.” Celia offers me unnecessary advice. (I wonder if she even knows what kind of worker I am.)
“I - just - completed - the survey - and put it in her in-box - before I saw the ‘reminder’”. I say in halting and chopped words. I need Celia to know this.
Later in the evening, Tobi asks if I’ll do the 2100 job. She says she has two other projects at that time or she’d be happy to do it.
“Sure, no problem,” I answer, but she’s talking again before I’ve finished.
“That’s ...” She squints at the ceiling figuring the time. “Nine-o-clock.”
I rub my hand over my forehead and send a thought heavenward. ‘Sometimes she makes me nuts, Lord’. I take a deep breath as I think, ‘First of all, I come from a military family, second, I’m relatively good with elementary mathematics, third, I’ve been here for years. Why does Tobi continually translate the time for me?’
“Yes - I’ll do it.” My tone is sharp.
This is probably what Tobi will think of me from now on. Not that I’m efficient and agreeable, but that I’m short-tempered and give sharp answers.
Over the weekend, God bless him, my husband Neil takes me to dinner. Both of us order the creole shrimp and pasta. It is divine! When we’ve finished, our waitress visits our table and Neil asks her to bring the dessert menu.
“We’ll both have coffee, and she’ll want dessert,” he tells her, smiling toward me.
“Oh look at that,” he points. Triple chocolate ganache cake! Or how about that chocolate/white chocolate cheesecake, or the deep-fried cheesecake?”
“Seriously?” I ask him. “Do you really not know what I’m going to choose?”
He looks at me and ducks his chin. “The - cake?” he asks.
‘Well, it is sweet of him to know how much I like dessert, and sweet too that he likes for me to order it,’ I tell myself and I order the warm apple crisp a la Mode.
At home the next morning I study my reflection in the mirror. It seems sharp and clear. Yet I have to wonder if there’s anyone who really knows me, really cares to know me.
Of course, this goes both ways. Do I really try to know my husband and my circle of friends and acquaintances? I decide to try a little harder.
Meanwhile, I’ll cling to that wonderful assurance from St. Paul, “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. (My underline because I love that part.)
I dream of that happy day when I will be with the one who knows me fully. I believe that day will come because my name has been written down (sharply, clearly and indelibly - though probably not five inches high) in another place - the wonderful ‘Book of Life’.
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