Tuesday’s Preface

I would feel less guilty as a fly on the wall.

The woman stared straight ahead at a blank computer screen.  Thin, brown hair fell against the cheeks of her very pale face.  The phone rang again.  She heard it through the thick haze that spread over her brain and filled her delicate ears.  She moaned in anguish and envisioned herself flitting out the window carried by a tiny pair of buzzing wings, able to see everything without the responsibility of knowing.

Why this guilt? You didn’t do anything, the woman berated herself. 

A tinny voice that may have been her conscious reminded her, it’s exactly because you didn’t do anything.  You should feel bad. 

Oh shut up, she told the tinny voice.  You are exactly what I don’t need.

The internal monologue may have continued for an indefinite time if it wasn’t suddenly interrupted and the woman was saved from herself.    

“Kel, I overheard you on the phone,” her red-haired co-worker, Samantha, said without apologizing for eavesdropping.  She rolled into the shared hallway, barefoot, like usual.  Her palms and fingertips pressed together as though in prayer, she was about to launch into amateur therapy mode.  The first woman had been subjected to this in the past.

 “You must tell yourself that it’s not your fault.  You couldn’t have done anything to change what happened.” 

“Thanks,” the first woman said, “that helps.”

“Well if you don’t want my help, why don’t you just say?” the red-head declared indignantly and rolled back into her work space.

Inside, the first woman cringed, she knew things could have been different if she hadn’t been too busy to follow up or make the right reports, if she hasn’t been so behind in her work or burned out, this never would have happened.  She felt certain that everything could have been avoided if she just tried a little harder.

She glanced at her watch and it was later than she expected.  

I will deal with this tomorrow, she decided.  She stood to leave the office, uncertain that she would return in the morning.  On second thought, she turned back and grabbed a picture from her wedding and a mug with the presidents’ faces on it. 

“Just in case,” she muttered and left.  

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