He looked comfortable in the big-boned wooden seat, making some sounds I tried not to understand. He snatched up the papers as the waiter placed our drinks in front of us. A latte for me, a double espresso for him. Check please, I said.
He slid the sugar packet holder towards him, tore open two Sweet-n-Lows and circled his spoon in the tiny cup until the clinking silenced the room. I heard his words clearly then.
$50,000 a year, two weeks paid vacation, 6 personal days (sick days, he said, and religious holidays). Medical, dental. There’s a flex spend account.
It was supposed to be a six-month assignment that took me months to find. Six months to catch up on bills and refill the savings account. Six months I thought would end today, when I asked him to catch up over the usual afternoon coffee break. I needed to go back to some folks I’d met a few months ago. I’d go back to visiting them in the morning, and they’d tell me their stories by midnight.
But now there’s the promise of an always-fed savings account. It meant more mornings answering calls from London, more afternoons making Excel spreadsheets for sales leads, more dinners with clients. Weekends possibly spent alone inside a gray cubicle.
I listened, and listened, until the waiter placed the check on the table. My eyes wandered to the black ink swimming on a wet spot. My coffee was $4.75.
For the IndieInk Writing Challenge this week, Kat challenged me with “Create a story or poem inspired by a line in a Charles Bukowski poem: ‘some suicides are never recorded [title of the poem is “The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth],'” and I challenged Lisa with “Dinner with an ex. S/he tells you s/he is getting married.”