A special thanks to KillerMuffin who worked long and hard editing my script. It was her Herculean efforts that made it as readable as it is in its current state. I accept responsibility for all the remaining spelling mistakes and poor grammar. I simply can't read it one more time.
Idly, I reach across the desk and flick my index finger against the quartz desk clock and penholder. In spite of this stimulus, it does not increase its tempo, but rather continues its slow, methodical beat on this dreary, dismal Friday afternoon. 3:01:09 P.M... 3:01:10 P.M... 3:01:11 P.M.
As the time drags on like cold motor oil flowing uphill backward on a frigid New Hampshire winter day, I find it impossible to concentrate. My mind is in overdrive, but not on work. Across the little cubicle, through a window high in the wall, I can get a partial glimpse of the outdoors, but only if I lean in the desk chair at just the right angle. A cold wind is blowing from the east, off the Gulf of Maine and across Portsmouth Harbor; driving sheets of rain to beat incessantly against the office windows. A tiny leak is evident in the corner where someone failed to close it after yesterday's brief taste of the spring yet to come. As I watch, the water slowly run down the gyproc wall in the partial basement office, and all I can think is, "Fuck it, fuck them, fuck it all."
I look at the clock again. 3:02:01 P.M... 3:02:02 P.M. Again, I flick at it with the same results. Freedom beckons from outside the rain-streaked window, but freedom to do what, and freedom from what?
The wind is incessant. The rain bounces off the pavement in waves, which seem to flow, much like an ocean swell, across the parking lot. The litter and debris of a long, hard winter is strangely absent, too waterlogged to move in the minor whirlwind. The scraggy, barren land of this rocky, New England State is only beginning to feel the warm breath of spring. The trees are barren, even of their early spring buds. The grass is brown and dead, with only a few bare blades of green showing on the most sheltered parts of the south side of the building. Even the crocus and the tulips, planted late in the fall, have not stuck their noses above the surface into the dismal, cold air.
Somehow the weather and the season reflect my mood. Turbulent unsettled, stormy but with a promise, a real promise, of a rebirth to come, a metamorphous. The ugly caterpillar of a New England winter will change into a glorious spring and summer followed by an autumn that can never be done justice to by any writer or painter. The inevitability of the re-birth is pre-ordained. It is indelibly coded into the genes of the lifeblood of the planet Earth.
Deep in me, in the very center of my being, I feel myself going through such a re-birth. My inner feelings, my emotions, are in turmoil, as never before. Long surpressed, they are rebelling, demanding to be freed from their chains, to be allowed to take command of my life. They are welling up, organizing their forces, preparing to charge the barricades of my conventional values, the facade I put forward for my family, relatives, and friends. Long surpressed, they have grown in strength, fueled by my unhappiness, my dissatisfaction with my state in life. Like the inevitable spring they are on the march. This time I wonder, I truly wonder, if I have the power to surpress them, to beat them back into submission one more time or am I so weakened, that this time they are finally going to overcome me, to take control of my life. What is even more startling, disconcerting, frightening is that I cannot define what these emotions, yearnings, cravings are. Unlike the spring, I do not know exactly what might blossom forth from the recesses of my mind, if I lose the battle. Maybe if I did, it would strengthen my morale resolve, maybe if I did it would be like a 5th columnist further eating away at my resolve, my will to resist?
The placid, benign look on my face masks the inner turmoil raging.
A soft smile hints at the corner of my mouth, almost a Mona Lisa smile, but not quite. How singularly appropriate. Just the other night I met a new friend on the Internet and had quipped that I was, 'A 21st Century Renaissance woman.' He had understood exactly what I was saying; claiming that he was a classically educated gentleman who belonged in the 19th century but was trapped in the 21st Century. How singularly appropriate, that we met at this time in my life is the thought that keeps running through my mind. My thoughts dwell, obsess on the possibility that he, somehow, can help focus on what I feel, what I believe and what I want and need in this new emerging stage in my life. A Renaissance woman, I roll the expression over in my mind. Somehow in the 21st. Century it seems so appropriate, a feminist foil to the standard chauvinistic expression of a Renaissance Man. The more I turn it over in my mind, the more I realize the validity of the expression in describing my current mental agitation.
In retrospect what happened several hundred years ago is clear. What happens when the seasons change is clear, it is preordained by nature? What is not clear is what will happen to me if I succumb to my own renaissance? What will I change into? What will I change from? What will be the price if these forces boiling within me successfully storm the ramparts and drastically alter the course of my life? Will they bring happiness or sorrow, fulfillment and contentment or emptiness and sadness? Joy to my family or a profound sense of loss?
What does the future hold? Should I resist or should I give in? If only I had an inkling of the core question. What is it I need, I want, I am striving for? What are the forces, churning in me, striving to do with my life? Where are they proposing to take me? Will it be a new and glorious level of being, a veritable paradise on earth, or my own private living hell? Is it worth the chance? Is my life so bad now? Questions, questions, questions and no answers. They eat at me but the answers like autumn smoke in the air evade my grasp.
The reflections take a different but related course. I flick the clock again. 3:09:45 P.M... 3:09:46 P.M... Agonizingly, the seconds tick away and the ebb and flow of the office tide sways around me as if I was not physically present. My co-workers ignore me as if they sense my distraction and the need for several minutes of privacy. What is it about my life, my state of being, that is so unsatisfying, I ask myself rhetorically? Why am I so unhappy so... so unsatisfied, so unfulfilled?
Is this what I want? Does this represent the limits of my professional aspirations?
Deep, deep down I know that this is part of the problem. Raised in a strong, nurturing middle class family, I was taught to strive to be self sufficient, self reliant, to strike out in the world and climb the mountain and the next and the next, always looking for more, for better, as a source of personal satisfaction, if nothing else. This agency, this office is not providing the challenge I need. Nepotism has set in. Decisions are as much on the basis of family considerations as they are on business. Promotion is on the basis of family. Ruefully, I smile to myself. All the blowjobs in the world are not going to get that hen pecked ninny to challenge his wife. She controls the purse strings as well as access to her fat pussy. Intuitively, as much as by the product of logical thought processes, I conclude that there is no place here in the future for my drive, my creative talents, my inbred desire to achieve.
Professionally, I am at one of the way stations of life, a jumping off point, but to what? A better paying more challenging job with another agency, another franchise? My own agency, What? At best, every day I am learning the business. Each day I absorb, catalogue, synthesize the business wheat from the chaff and, in this office, there is a lot of chaff.
Has the time come to accept the overture and strike out on my own? I am aggressive; the desire to achieve is bred in my genes. Yes, definitely, this is part of the problem, but just as intuitively I know it is only part of the problem.
Listlessly, my eyes wander the cubicle, unable to focus on anything meaningful, anything concrete and productive. The cold rain drums against the window in staccato bursts. I fidget and squirm in my chair, agitated, on edge. Again I flick the clock with my finger. 3:12:45 P.M... 3:12:46 P.M... Obstinate, defying me, it refuses to move faster. A slow, tedious Friday afternoon with nothing to look forward to all weekend trapped indoors with Gerald and the kids. Yes, Gerald, ah Gerald, my mind focuses momentarily on him. Gerald, my highschool sweetheart, is he the problem? Is he part of the problem? Do I love him? Do I really, really love him?
The last question is the easiest. Yes, I love him; I love him with every fiber of my being. That is the easy question and the quick and simple honest answer. Any solution to the problem, if there is a problem, whatever it may be, must involve him and the children. Thank God, for Gerald and the kids, is all I can mentally utter as my mind churns away. What would I do without them? The answer is simple. I would have a mental collapse and be institutionalized. Sometimes it is not material things that are the problem. He comes from a good, affluent family much like me. He loves me and I know that. He is loyal. He is a good breadwinner. We live well and have all of the material things to make us comfortable and secure.
.... There is more of this story ...