Since Friday is the day universally acknowledged as being worth thanking God for, I thought it would be an appropriate day to be about bravery and openness.
I’m starting a challenge for myself, which I do hope you might like to join. Each week, I want to whip out some piece of writing – a poem, a short story, the chapter of a novel, something, so I can keep myself on track and be sure I’m always fresh. Yes, I do know this is a recipe for a certain type of disaster, specifically one rife with typos, misplaced commas, and hauntingly cheesy prose, but I feel it is a worthwhile exercise for me, at this point in my wending writing way.
I freely admit, I’m cheating this week: this is a brief excerpt from a short story I wrote back in December. Next week, I vow not to post unless I post dewy-fresh writing. If it makes you feel better, I haven’t edited this in the slightest since the moment the words appeared on my screen.
If you’d like to join me in this brave little venture, please comment below with a link to your post for Sharing Friday.
Semblance of a Whole
…The woman exploded. She swore in a fiery, furious string of anger, and ended with a flourish of words Keira didn’t even knew existed. The woman sat herself hard in her seat again, her head down in shame. Then she looked at Keira, eyes full of tears. Keira froze. Not one more. She could not help one single person more that day. Keira had not asked the woman to sit beside her, and had definitely not asked for a window into her life. It was not her problem. She cut her eyes away and jammed her earbud into her ear, turning pointedly to look out at the swiftly darkening city.
The woman seemed to take the hint, in her peripheral vision Keira saw her rotate back and forth looking out the windows on both sides of the bus and anxiously peering out as if some passing snowbank could tell her what she wanted to know.
The fifteen minutes passed agonizingly, and Keira felt a twinge of relief when they pulled up to the 10th and Kensington stop. The woman pulled herself out of her seat and fumbled with her bags for a minute, managing to clock Keira in the side of the head as she swung her backpack up onto her large shoulder. The woman did not apologize.
In the absence of the irritation the woman had caused, the words flooded back into Keira’s mind, the conversation she’d been pushing back and back and back in her memory all day.
“I’m just saying, you’re a good worker, but not a great one. You don’t give a hundred percent, and that concerns me.” Bane had said, snapping the tab on his third Diet Coke of the day.
Keira had been flabbergasted. “What do you mean? I’m on top of all my work – I never turn paperwork in late, and I’m up to date on all my deadlines.” The fear had slipped out despite her efforts to appear confident.
“I know that. I get the reports every month.” Bane said. He pulled the cardboard tray out of the microwave and took in over to the formica table.
“But you don’t do the same as the other folks here. You’re one of the last ones to get here in the morning. You’re almost always the first to leave.” He jabbed a spork into the mess in the sectioned tray and looked disgusted. “You just don’t put in the hours like everyone else.”
Keira debated what to say next. She had thought it was nothing if not a sign of her efficiency that she could put in less hours and get just as much work done. It wasn’t even that she was late to work, or that she left so very early. It was just that everyone else came in at least half an hour early, skipped lunch breaks, and stayed well past closing.
“I can’t see giving you a raise in the near future – and a promotion is absolutely out of the question. What do you think it would do to the morale around here if the person putting in the least time gets the spot everyone’s gunning for?” Bane’s microwave dinner was gone already, and he was tossing the empty Coke can in the trash. “I’m sorry Keira. Your work is fine. But you’re going to have to show more dedication to the job if you ever want to get anywhere.”
Keira’s stop came at last, and if she squinted she could make out the shape of their car, parked directly under the streetlight as always. The snow reached her ankles when she stepped off, and the instant icy wind tore through her jacket as though it were paper as she high stepped her way to their Toyota.