“I’m sure he’ll turn out to be a short, potbellied, little pig, but he sounds so handsome; makes me want to eat dark chocolate.” I assumed she was divine. Her voice carried itself from the heavens. The thought of ever seeing the body which spewed such crass comments made me tremble at the notions of divinity. She had a deep, raspy sound that reminded me of an overweight woman from someplace like Louisiana; the type who smoked something non-filtered since she could walk. I knew that given enough time she would rise out of the distance and devour me. She was in Customer Service. I’d never ventured that deep into the belly of the corporate giant.
I have to escape. The idea consumed me. ESCAPE! It started like an itch between my shoulder blades, spread with each scratch into the base of my spine, until finally consuming me with fire. I was ablaze with the need to know what else lay beyond.
The gray cloth walls climbed impossibly high toward the luminescent sun in the white tiled sky. I gripped multicolored thumbtacks with an unsteady hand, certain my footing would give out at any moment sending me plummeting to certain death. To say I didn’t know the risks before embarking on my quest would’ve been to utter a lie.
Sweat trickled down my neck as I strained to get a glimpse over the wall. I could feel it collecting in the collar of my white button down, staining it a not so pleasant shade of yellow. I held myself with one arm, balancing delicately on a precipice of scotch tape, as I used the other to pull my hair back with an expensive silk tie.
I wanted to know there was something, anything else in my gray cloth world. I wanted to believe the rumors that there was more. I imagined seeing water in the distance; a pond, a lake; no, an ocean with a frog, a snapping turtle; no, a whale, beautiful and blue. The smell of the salty air would bring tears to my computer strained eyes. The feel of the brisk breeze carrying sea foam into my meticulously cut hair, disintegrating the gel with the ease of a demolitions expert would be almost more than I could bear. Freedom: as sure as only the aged were wise and the young were lusty, I was determined to escape, or die trying.
I sensed more than felt the desert in my throat. The pain was elevator music playing the devil’s advocate to the back of my mind. I thought of the Dixie cup filled with water on the desk below. All I had to do was turn around. Just go back and get the water. “NO!” The words were barely discernible. It was more of a guttural roar. “No, no, no.” I pushed on until the sound “You’ve got mail” stopped me. Perhaps worse than the water was the agony of not knowing what I’d received, whether that be spam, or emails from a relative that were continually blank because they didn’t know how to properly forward attachments. After a dangerously long moment where I actually yearned for the familiarity of my seat, I forced myself to embrace the unknown.
To hope to see more than which we find was all I had when I reached the top of the mountain. I wanted to see plants growing wildly out of their pots, ivy choking the copy machine into pieces, and above all else, freedom.
What I did see was row upon row upon agonizing row of cubicles. No oceans, no seagulls crying in the distance, no fresh air…nothing beyond the cubicle jungle.
Sometimes I really don’t like work