An Office Confession

An Office Confession

Robert Soul

            She bothered the hell out of him.

She would come in and complain about her boyfriend.

Every day.

He was married and knew about living with someone. It has its pros and cons. He had told her that it sounded like the cons heavily outweighed the pros in her relationship. But she never took any of his advice and he was tired of being her counselor so he told her so. You need to talk to a professional about it, he said. But she bothered the hell out of him anyway by continually coming in, day in day out, talking about this horrible boyfriend. He wished he had never encouraged it. The first few times he stopped what he was doing and sat attentive, listening. He thought she was mildly annoying but harmless and ordinarily he saw himself as a very giving soul. That was at the beginning, before he really knew her.

She was consumed with this guy. Her boyfriend was very rich and had everything and she was very clearly just another possession. He tried to tell her that in as many nice ways as he could and the more he went there, the more defensive she became and it drove him insane. The job was stressful enough. He didn’t need any additional responsibilities. She was nearly a part-time job that he never got any compensation for, except one thing. She gave him a gift, for Christmas.

“Never, never, never give up.”

That was what the plaque said.

“Never, never, never give up.”

She gave him a Christmas gift and of course he didn’t give her anything. Why would he? She was a constant bathroom sink dripping and dripping and dripping. If he could, he would give her something- A job somewhere else.

And the goddamn plaque was so ironic, he thought. Winston Churchill had said it but with one more ‘never’. He opened it up after she had come by his office three times that morning, knocking on his office door, asking him if he had opened his gift. He felt like an ass because he hadn’t got her anything at all. Surely she would understand why he hadn’t gotten her something. Surely she knew why he didn’t like her. Hopefully, he thought, she didn’t know how much he hated her.

Never, never, never give up.

One day she didn’t stop by. It was the end of the day before he realized it. Thank God, he thought. She’s found another job. Or maybe she got hit by a bus? It didn’t bother him at all that he thought that, even really hoped it. She was the most annoying person he had ever known. Good riddance.

Okay, so maybe he wouldn’t really feel happy if she were hit by a bus. That’s a sad way to die. But maybe her family would benefit from a million-dollar accidental policy. That’s not so bad. But he knew she hadn’t been killed by a bus. That would be too easy.

It was Friday. She probably started the weekend early. Her boyfriend could have taken her to Paris for a three-day weekend. Apparently he had done that in the past. He had never met this boyfriend. For all he knew she was crazy enough to make up a boyfriend. That would be something if she had harassed him every morning for the last two years about a relationship that didn’t even exist.

He’d see her on Monday.

Monday came and he didn’t see her.

Tuesday came and she didn’t stop by.

Wednesday when she didn’t come by he decided to visit her boss’s office.

You didn’t hear? She committed suicide, last Friday. Overdose.

He walked back to his office and sat down. He sat there thinking and wondering.

From his desk he looked at his office door and the table next to it where the plaque sat.

Never, never, never give up.



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