As she wound through the corkscrew of the parking garage it became clear that Naomi was going to have to park on the top level where her car would be unprotected from the elements. “Great, just great,” she muttered. “Monday’s suck.” She found a parking slot in the partial shade of the building but knew it was only good for the morning hours. By noon her car would be in full sun and the interior a furnace by the end of the day. She shifted the gear into park but she didn’t move, staring straight ahead, unblinking, mind landing on nothing in particular but flying past a hundred little things. Her headache had eased off but the heaviness, the deep funk she kept fighting, was loitering a little longer this morning. It was a rude guest, overstaying its welcome, lingering for an extra cup of coffee fully aware she had to get to work. Naomi abruptly snapped out of her stare, opened the door and grabbed her briefcase and bag full of workout clothes from the backseat. She had almost forgotten that she promised Erica she’d go to the gym with her at lunch and was glad her gym bag had been sitting by the front door as a reminder.
She made her way to the elevators on the first floor and promptly zoned out again as she waited for a portal to slide open and lift her to another workday. “How are you doing this morning?” The question cut into her personal fog but she didn’t react right away. She cut her eyes toward the voice and recognized the man who spoke. She didn’t know his name but his reputation for being one of the happy ones was well known throughout the building. He was safe, if only marginally.
“Oh, you know, it’s Monday so that cuts into any possibility that the morning can be great. Good is the zenith, I’m afraid.” She was surprised at her clarity.
He chuckled and asked, “So are you good this morning?”
She looked at him and tried to smile but the result was not convincing. “Not yet.” Then she turned away from him and stared at the closed elevator doors, hoping he would figure out that the conversation, according to her, had run its course.
“Well, it’s early,” he responded. “I hope your day improves.” She didn’t respond which might have been rude but she had no energy for happy talk this early in the morning. The elevator arrived and they rode in silence until the car stopped at the twelfth floor to allow her to exit. She expected him to say something else but was relieved when he let her leave in silence. She hated being impolite but sometimes that was the only way to fend off the happy ones. It was a small victory and maybe it was an indication her day was starting to improve.
This is one chapter in a series of nine, an experiment in weaving people’s stories into each other, showing cause and affect in how we treat each other regardless of how well we know each other. A casual comment to a stranger may trigger big things but we will probably never know…