The Wave, Goodbye – Chapter One
(This is the first part of a fiction piece I wrote for class last Semester. It was written under a whole host of restrictions and in terms of base action the narrative was heavily steered by outside forces; that is my excuse for why it is rather rough and jumpy, but nevertheless this is it.)
She wondered how it must have felt to stand before such a wave; to first sense the sting of its salt spray on her skin, then hear the ominous rumble of the earth from beneath the oncoming mass before finally feeling her slight form folding over, crumpled as its white foam claws embraced her. She figured that it probably felt much like sitting here. He was making her wait, and he would get away with it, wait she would.
She sat in the reception room, a stark modern office space adorned only by a floating desk, which she just now noticed jutted out of the walls glossy white surface like some kind of slim-line tumor, and the soft leather couch upon which she sat. On the far wall hung the room’s only excess, a Japanese wood carving. Though in any other room it would have seemed slight, here it almost seemed hung by its extravagance alone, as if physically repelled by the room’s utilitarianism.
Every day there was a different piece upon the wall and yet she had never once been surprised by his choices. He made sure to choose something familiar, something established, something safe.
‘Good Muzack is still Muzack,’ she thought, maybe also muttering it aloud, wondering where she had seen it before.
The Wave hung static upon the room’s stark white ocean of a wall, she felt it was a fitting choice given what had brought her here but couldn’t laugh at the ironies inherent in its breaking water, her diaphragm wouldn’t allow the motion.
Laura wondered if Mr.Logue had a collection hidden somewhere in the building and if he went down to it every day to choose a new piece to display for his assistant and those about to fall before his axe; she found the thought to be soothingly ridiculous. She sat on the couch, this was no different than the day before and yet it all felt alien to her; the couch on which she sat was no longer colored that caustic, clean white but a subtle tan; dyed no doubt by the remnants and refuse of its past suitors; their skin, sweat, tears and artificial aura’s of health absorbed into the tightly pulled cowhide, leaving a mark that would likely outlast them. She began to cry.
and as the tears hit the note they caused the ink to tremble and spill, revealing the Rorschach patterns previously trapped inside her heartfelt words.
She stopped a second after, then stood up; she couldn’t afford to lose anything more to this place; that saline, this skin, it was all she had left of herself and she wouldn’t part with a drop more of her DNA. Laura’s role here was as a steadying presence and a clear head, but standing on a sudden had given hers a rush of blood which was followed closely by an effervescent dizziness. She knew that her real role in his office was as a personal scapegoat; she would act the executioner while he would smile sorrowfully, an eternal gentleman; if angry it was her that they threw objects or themselves at, if understanding it was him they thanked; seemingly unaware that underneath one’s cotton flesh lay the hand of the other.
She lay a hand under his head, his skin as soft as the cotton blanket that held him. She felt a squeak travel through her as he coughed, his first, before she realized that it would be her last.
But now I am here on my own. Now it is my neck sitting, splintered in the nook of the guillotine. The stirrups and straps pulled me in towards the sofa; I knew I had to resist it. Instead I collapsed down upon it, just waiting for the wave to hit. Even level heads will roll. The tears came again and this time I let them.
She rose from the bed as if unshackled even by gravity; transcending via medication, rather than meditation, into a narcotic nirvana from which she watched a woman, not unlike herself, heave to-and-fro, reddened and desperate.
I wanted to open my purse and fumble in it for a way out of this. I wanted to call the police. This place is my life. This place was my life. So I saw redundancy as the equivalent of murder. Sure I could move on, I could find another job but my family is here, my history. Where-ever I find myself in the future I’ll constantly be clicking my heels, wishing for home; though I’ve long since left Kansas.
They say that family is the one thing in life that you can’t choose but that’s not necessarily true, you can always choose ‘No’, choose to be alone.
I lay still as my tears dripped slowly into the sofa, jumping on the inside between acceptance and denial. I thought maybe a scene would stir him; maybe if I screamed or cried. God, I already am crying. Not in an attempt to evoke emotion from the bastard, no he would be plenty emotional already. I needed to think practical, perhaps I could shame him into shyness. No executive could be so daring as to fire me bareback. Unless… God what if he’s already replaced me. What if it’s some other bitch doing the dirty work. A puppeteer has two hands for a reason. Was it Shelley?
The door to my left opens and the assistant gestures at me. I get up slowly and stand in front of that damn couch. Stuck. Then turn to my right and start walking. Left. Right. Repeat. Until I open the door and leave.
She opens the door and leaves. It’s hard to tell if her back is bent or if her head is lowered, but she droops and it’s agony either way. She turns back and looks at the sign, anachronistic neon, as if she didn’t know where she had been. She thinks of her own sign, the three marks she left behind: One on the Letter, one on the Birth certificate and one on the Adoption papers; and of something else she left behind, something she can’t bear recall.