It was the dumbest, and best thing I had ever done, all rolled up into one.
I was thirty at the time, an up and coming office manager, over a small group of employees. Two young men just barely out of high school who mostly ran errands and did all the heavy lifting. There were also three other women in the office, two young girls, one married, one single and very flirtatious. There was also another woman, closer to my age who basically acted without title as the office supervisor whenever I wasn't around. Liz kept me, and the one single female in line with the mere look of an eye. She's the kind you want to look out for, the one who is after your job. Because of that, I certainly didn't want to tempt fate, tempted as I was to flirt back with Christy, though even then I still did so on occasion, but only when the coast was clear.
Good reason for that, I was married at the time. Not happily mind you, my own marriage currently having a rough go. But the last thing I needed was a little temptation, an office romance, and wham-bam thank you mam ... Liz would have my job.
There was one other currently open position I hadn't as yet been lucky enough to fill. It was only part-time, shitty pay, and even shittier hours, which is perhaps why it hadn't been filled as yet. I'd been granted this part-time position for someone to come in almost at the end of the day for the rest of us, and do that day's filing and paperwork. Much of which would take place in a small cramped, sometimes hot-sticky storage room for a couple of hours each day. Everyone I had interviewed once they'd seen what was required, where they'd have to work, and then working for an odd time to begin with, 3:00 - 6:30 each night wasn't much to anyone's liking. So far, Liz and I, and sometimes Kathy and Christy had been putting in the extra over time just in an attempt to stay up with all the damn paperwork.
I really needed that part-time person. And then Lorraine came in.
She was perhaps in her mid fifties, reasonably attractive for her age though she certainly wore less fashionable clothing than most everyone else did. A sign of her own age and the times perhaps, but I got the impression (rightly so) that she'd been out of the work-force for some time. Turned out as we talked and as she offered more than I was entitled to ask, that she was married to a rather well to do attorney, who in fact was expected to be made into a Judge soon. So it wasn't as though she needed the money. She obviously didn't. But what she offered and told me was, she was bored to death just sitting at home basically doing nothing. All her kids were grown up, married with families of their own. And she was going nuts. Thus, when she saw the ad for this position, especially because of the hours, it just fit her bill perfectly. That put her home still before her husband ever got home in the evening, and gave her something to do that would help keep her sane. Plus having other employees to talk to perhaps. (I didn't tell her that for much of the time, she'd be all alone in the "dungeon" room as we jokingly called it.)
Needless to say, I hired her. And damn glad that I did too. She was an efficient, attention to details kind of a woman, which was just what we needed to ensure that all the filing was correct and easily retrievable again whenever it was needed. And after that first day, she was pleased to learn she could wear casual (as long as it was neat looking) clothing, which meant jeans and tees. Second day to work, she'd obviously gone out and purchased a few things as she looked a hell of a lot better dressed this way than she had when she'd come in for the interview in her "Granny print dress" as I'd called it.
Lorraine was tall for a woman, almost six feet, taller than I was by a couple of inches. Obviously she had her own imperfections, (don't we all) though she still looked pretty good in a pair of jeans, even if I do say so myself. She also had fairly large breasts, though she was still careful about wearing blouses that would tend to display them more than she was willing to allow them to be. Once again, understandable perhaps for a woman that was simply they're to work, and certainly not out to impress or get involved with anyone. And I certainly wasn't looking at her in that regard either.
Lorraine was Lorraine. An employee. Part-time even, but she was friendly and nice to be around. Even Liz liked her.
Once or twice a month we had to go through selected accounts, re-pull the files and combine figures for a monthly report. It was time consuming, monotonous work, and up until now anyway, I'd hated it. Spending a few hours of unpaid overtime myself having to go through everything. But Lorraine very often stayed with me, helping to re-file everything away again afterwards, cutting down on the time and effort for us both. Something I really came to appreciate, as I came to appreciate Lorraine more and more with each passing day.
She might have worked for me, I might have been her boss, but we became pretty good friends during those long boring hours when we worked together, and I got to know more and more about her, and her personal life. Not intimate life mind you, we didn't get into that. And as such, I didn't tell her about my own personal woes either. Neither one of us did until three or four months later. And then one day she came in a little late, looking upset, and obviously appeared to have been crying. She apologized for her lateness (which was like maybe ten minutes) and first time she ever had been, and went straight to work. The only thing I did notice was her lack of smile, and her silence as she absorbed herself into her mundane tasks.
Very often Lorraine would be the last one to leave, thus locking up and closing up our small office. But on this particular night, I was working a little late myself. Mainly because my future ex-wife and I were in the middle of one of those long drawn out fights that lasted a week and were mostly spent in stares and silence. I really wasn't looking forward to going home to that, so I decided to work a bit later, and catch up on some of my own paperwork. Lorraine seemed surprised when I did. Coming out long after everyone else was gone, the two of us nearly finished for the day. One thing I immediately noticed, she was still upset.
"You ok?" I asked. Once again she seemed surprised that I asked, trying to pass it off as nothing. But I pressed anyway, knowing damn good and well that it wasn't.
"Not here," she told me almost whispering, though there wasn't anyone else but the two of us even there. "Someplace else ... just not in the office where you're my ... my boss," she said uneasily.
"Ok? Go for coffee or something?"
"No, no place someone might overhear, see us. As a matter of fact, I shouldn't even be..."
I could tell she was already changing her mind about whatever it was. I wasn't about to let her do that. "I know! The park! It's just down the street from here, we'll go there," I told her.
It was a strange silly park, a strange place to have one really. I am sure that when whoever designed it and put it in, thought that there'd be plenty of use for it with neighborhood kids and all. And then they built a retirement home right next door to it instead of the houses and condos they were thinking would be built there instead. Didn't see too many senior citizens going over to the park to swing or slip down the slides. There was rarely anyone ever there. I had often spent my lunch there reading a book, eating my lunch in total peace and quiet. It was the perfect spot to sit and talk.
We had parked our cars side by side, though Lorraine got out of hers and got into mine instead. Even then we sat in silence for several long moments while I waited for her to gather up whatever courage that she had in being able to share with me, whatever it was that was currently bothering her. Finally she took a deep breath and let it out.
I was surprised at what she said, certainly not expecting the words that suddenly came tumbling out of her mouth after that.
"You have any idea how long it's been since my husband's fucked me?" She asked.
My dear sweet, prim and proper Lorraine. You could have knocked me over with a feather at that moment.
It was almost comical. The moment she had spoken the words she was apologizing to me for that, looking embarrassed, ashamed, and surprised with herself that she'd actually done that. She even reached for the door, preparing to get out when I just managed to grab her hand, holding here there.
"Lorraine, you're with friends here," I said. "And nothing you can say will offend, shock or surprise me." Though coming from her anyway, it had. "I want you to feel like you can say anything to me, anything at all ... and it won't go anywhere else but right here."
At least she let go of the door handle sitting back in her seat again, though she wouldn't look at me, her face flushed, still embarrassed perhaps. "So tell me ... what's going on?"
"I don't know that I can. I shouldn't have said what I said to you in the first place. It's my problem anyway, not yours."
"Lorraine? Come on ... spill it." I decided to use the semi-shocking language she'd used right back at her, at least that would put us on equal ground here. I felt like that maybe I needed to do that, so I said: "Why doesn't your husband want to fuck you?" I asked.
I actually got a smile out of her having said that. And she relaxed just a little. "That's so weird," she then said finally looking at me.
"Weird?" I asked a bit confused and bewildered myself now.
.... There is more of this story ...