Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Touch of the Hair, A Drop of the Pen

Pamela’s eyes glazed over as she looked at the piles of crop insurance information in her cubicle. She daydreamed about things far more interesting while she half-listened to the conference call droning at her ear. Maybe I’ll find a guy who’s willing to sweep a 42-year old divorcee with two teenage kids off her feet to live happily ever after, she thought. Some big, strong guy with a solid streak of responsibility, a quick grin and a soft touch. She leaned back in her chair and looked to her right just in time to see that guy walk in the office door.

John strode in, putting one worn cowboy boot in front of the other, barrel chest puffed large with confidence and cheer. His notebook looked a little out of place in hands that were generally more accustomed to working in a grain elevator. The first person he saw upon entering the office was Pamela. Being that she was a recognizable and friendly face in an office full of strangers, he gladly walked towards her.

Pamela’s eyes lit up, a grin emerged and she lightly hung up on the conference call. She had met John several times while making visits to grain elevators around the area informing those of the benefits of crop insurance.

“Hey, Pam! How’s life treatin’ ya?”

“Hello, John! Not too bad, I suppose. What brings you into the big city?” she said as she flashed her bright white teeth. She had swiveled her chair to face him and was leaning back slightly, inviting conversation.

“Oh, just meeting with some folks in your office today. Nothing special,” he said as he jammed his non-notebook holding hand in his pocket like a shy little boy talking to the pretty older girl next door.

They continued to shoot the breeze in an easy, rural way. Pamela touched and flipped her hair. John picked up a putter shaped like a corn cob from the next cubicle and started practicing his swing, glancing up occasionally to catch Pamela’s eye.

Those he came to meet appeared and the encounter came to an end.

“Good to see you, Pam.”

“Likewise, John. We’ll see you later.”

John joined the meeting participants in the conference room and Pamela got back to her conference call. At least she did physically; mentally, she was back to dreaming about a suddenly more tangible Prince Charming.

After her conference call had ended, she hung up the phone and looked up to see John standing there.

“Hey, Pamela; do you think I could borrow a pen?”

Slightly surprised and flustered, Pamela fumbled around her desk for a pen.

“Oh, of course, John! Let me find one for you…”

She corralled a pen and handed it to him. As he walked back toward the conference room, he held up the pen and said over his shoulder,

“’Preciate it, Pam!”

Glowing from the second unexpected meeting that morning, Pamela picked up her ringing cell phone. On the other end of the line was her oldest son’s math teacher. Her son had been underperforming expectations and the teacher wanted to discuss possible strategies to get him back in line. Having forgotten that this call was imminent, the mini fairy tale she was living that morning started to fade away as reality grumpily pushed its way back to the forefront.

Nearly forty-five minutes had passed and John’s presence in the meeting had concluded. He started to walk out the door but stopped, remembering that he still had Pamela’s pen. As he moved towards Pamela’s cubicle, he saw the phone at her ear and her head in both hands. Not wanting to disturb her, he deftly dropped the pen on her desk and slid back toward the exit.

Seeing the pen on her desk, Pamela looked up and saw John’s broad back moving away from her. Her heart raced a little and she tried to bring her phone conversation to an end. With each step he took, her face transitioned from happiness to desperation.

“Okay, okay, thankyousomuch,” she spit out as she halted the call. But just as she hung up the phone, the office door came to a close with a click.