The Office

the-officeI paused before I flicked the light switch. My hand stopped, resting lightly under the toggle.

Turning around, I took another look at what had been my second home for the better part of a year. It was deserted. I was the last one here, and had been for a couple months at least; the rest of the team had packed up and left ages ago. I didn’t know what happened to all of them, but their absence crashed on me in full in the span of an instant. It was so quiet, when once there was so much noise.

I don’t know how it all started out: I volunteered for a job leading this team. Why? I was trying to impress a girl, go figure, and didn’t think it’d go this far. “Are you sure you can handle this?” I pondered the question for no longer than two seconds before answering, “Yeah, absolutely.” Cocksure. That’s the only word that fits. It didn’t even work out with that girl anyway: she wasn’t my type, but the job stuck like a bad case of the flu. I was stuck.

Lucky I had friends who wanted in on the same team. I met them only recently, but they were good people. I walked by their desks. The dust was discoloured: certain spots had less dust, memorabilia moved only a little while ago to reveal the shitty plastic desk beneath; but I remembered how lively these desks had been. Between all the dramatic bits, all the fights and the hullabaloo, I always came to talk to these folks to calm myself. It was a safer place, somewhere to plan. Plans were all we had, really; without these people, that’s all that would have happened. At least some of these plans, some of these dreams, had a chance to see the light of day with their help.

One desk was mine. It sat at the back, separate from the rest. A black sheep and a loner in a big family of social butterflies; a lot like the idiot who sat behind it. It was hard not to chuckle thinking of how unbelievably useless I seemed to be in my role. I called meetings, helped to make sure they ran like a well oiled machine. What else did I do? The bare food cupboard reminded me of my greatest impact here. ‘Least I wasn’t hungry.

Still, things were good. I kicked my feet up, letting them rest on the weary edge of the desk. In a few short hours, it wouldn’t be mine any longer. Might as well make good use of it while I had access.

Memories flared in my mind like dying stars: all at once too bright, and then dimmed to some obscure level of recognizance. We put on a hell of a party. We danced the midnight dance and drank the darkest drinks, well into the night. It felt like a night to remember at the time, but as I looked around the office, it was obvious that I was the only one that cared anymore. The past is right where it is; not many people live there. At least, not to the extent that I feel I did.

Bringing myself to my feet, I made my way to the switch once more. A cursory glance, a final survey of the headless desks reminded me that this time of my life was dead and gone. I brought my hand to the toggle, and tapped it off. The lights went out without  a sound, a silent darkness. Not much different from the last couple of months, then.

I shut the door, and made my way to the street outside. Somewhere out there was another place I had to go. A cabby made his way to the curb, and I hopped in. As the cab sped away, I took a measure of silent satisfaction for being the last one in the office. I double checked the locks, crossed my t’s and dotted my i’s.

I turned out the lights; and that, as they say, was that.

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