By Cassandra Talbot
I left the office early today. I told Sarah I was having a ridiculous allergy spell, which wouldn’t be too far from the truth (early spring pollen absolutely kills me). But, the fact is, it wasn’t the truth. It was a brilliant lie, it really was. She thinks I got flowers today, which, granted, is less than the preferable alibi. The huge, long box was delivered to her desk, and she then brought it to me. I wouldn’t wish that she think I received flowers, but I’d rather have her believe that than have her know that it was … argh, it had to be the snapshot of the garden? … and it gave me an easy out. I’m allergic to the flowers; I have to leave. I didn’t need to explain the puffy, watering eyes or the sniffling. I think she was too busy at her computer to notice much out of the ordinary anyway.
I don’t really like flowers anymore. Everyone gets so excited over spring, and really, it just makes me depressed. In part, it makes me wish things were the way they used to be, but mostly, it makes me embarrassed that I ever used to be a part of the life I once led. And I wonder if things are better now. I don’t know. All I know is that I hate this sudden surge of spring celebration – all the Frisbee-throwing and the flower-sending (or picture-sending), the new romances, the girls taking their new bikinis for a test spin on the lawn. Every year it gets worse, and I find myself cleaning with renewed vigor. Today, when I came back from the office, I practically blew up my room and started over. My cleaning supplies are depleted, and that reminds me, I need to get some more Comet. Anyway, I cleaned and rearranged my furniture, and now I have a new room. I think I’ll stay here for a few days. It smells good. And I don’t want to go out there again where picture-sender can find me.You know, it made me mad that he did that. It makes me mad, even, that I let a stupid picture of a garden (regardless of its God-forsaken significance) affect me to the point that it actually changed my work day. I am so angry! Why would he do that? Why would I do that? Why did he even have to show up in the first place? I don’t even know what to do about it. I don’t know how to get him away. Oh my gosh, how can I let him get to me like that, over and over? For crying out loud, I’ve been fired in front of my parents, I’ve been denied promotions because of my gender, I’ve made terrible presentations to important people after my team has abandoned me simply because they hate me, and I’ve even dealt with Stuart Lem on a daily basis for more than four months … and never have I been reduced to the point at which I need to run from the office in tears. I need to protect myself somehow. But can I? How can I when I feel so wide open, no matter how hard I try? He’s there. He’s always there, and I can’t get away … oh God, oh God, oh God. This will not happen again. It can’t. It just can’t. I will tell Sarah in the morning that there will be no more wildlife in the office. Maybe the fern and the spider plant can stay, because they’ve been here since I have, but … I don’t know. Maybe they’ll go, too. Something really has to be done about this picture thing, though. I wonder if Sarah knew it wasn’t flowers because of the weight of the package. Ugh. I can’t think about it right now.