I get called into The Boss’s office. Seven years I have worked for him. Seven years of me delivering big smiles, bright cheerfulness, witty gaiety; of making his limo arrangements, his fancy restaurant reservations; of ordering his favorite wines for the office Christmas parties as if I cared deeply about over-priced bottles of French Burgundy that I could never afford nor do I want. I’ve earned a living. But today The Boss is angry; he is ready to put me firmly in my place. Because – the day before he told me to do something and I gave him a nasty look. And – he thinks he heard me sigh. It’s not the first time either.
[An unconcealed look and a weary sigh – the inexcusable crime of the servile. The chink in my armor.]
For this I’m told that I’m a bad worker and if I don’t like things, I should leave. The Boss tells me if something is happening in my personal life, don’t bring it to the office, it should stay at home. Work is not the place for life, not my life apparently, of which he knows practically nothing. I don’t tell him about the scheduled biopsies. Instead – feeling as if I’ve just emerged, choking, from a deep dark drowning pond – I advise The Boss that that I will leave then. And I quit. The Boss says Good! and turns furiously away. The next day he tells his head lackey to ask me to come back. I don’t expect an apology because I know The Boss, this Porsche-collecting gentleman and sharp-dressed bon vivant, too well. I tell the lackey that I will not come back, that there is just some shit I will not eat. I’ve eaten too much already, I’ve realized to my utter horror. Bowls and bowls of it. Obsequiousness is now what I am supposed to bleed, the price of my paycheck from The Boss.
I got out. I have a different job and work for a Good Person now. Life is sweet and my own. I write poems again. I’m writing this one to let you know – there’s hope. Don’t despair, there is hope.