“So… We need to get this presentation done by morning, tomorrow”, declared the manager. Everybody groaned. One hand shot up into the air. It belonged to the man in the crisp blue striped shirt. “Err.. Are you sure? You did something for us just last week”, said the manager to the man. The manager scanned the rest of the staff and enquired, “What about you guys? Come on. You know how this works?” The man in the blue shirt said promptly, “Sir, please. Let me do it. I really want to”. The manager consented, quite happily. Well, why wouldn’t he?
As the man was packing up for the day, he could hear a bunch of people muttering near the coffee machine. “… I’m telling you, guys! That’s his way of buttering up the boss” said one. “That new guy needs help. I mean, he is volunteering to work extra! EXTRA! When we are here, breaking our heads to do our routine job”, said another. He could hear a third voice impart some wisdom to its audience, “All these new guys, I say… You can’t do much about them… He’ll come around”. The man was all packed and started towards the door. As he came closer to the coffee machine, his suddenly silent colleagues either pursed their lips or brought their coffee mugs closer to their mouths. He heard someone whisper, “He looks Overworked! Did you see his eyes? Such dark circles… My God!”, as he quietly closed the office door behind him.
The man plugged in his headphones to the cell phone and selected the play list “Work to station” and started listening to it, as he walked swiftly in the footpath. Anyone looking at him, would realize that this man was in some great urgency to get somewhere. Reaching the subway, he waited for a few minutes for his train. He looked at nothing but his shoes. He stared and stared at his worn out brown shoes, till his train arrived. Now into the train, he found his seat. He removed his headphones and placed it carefully inside his backpack. He took out his cellphone and started reading his favorite blog. This blog had a new humorous post everyday. He smiled after reading the post, something he hadn’t done all day. Without intending to, the man looked up. His eyes met a lady carrying her little child in her arms. The man looked at her hungrily… He stared at them fixedly till the woman noticed him and threw him an uncomfortable, suspicious look. The man immediately put his head down and got back to his blog.
Getting down from the train, automatically, his hands pulled out his headphones from his bag and he now loaded his second play list, “Station to home”. He started walking again with the same vigor towards home. On his way, he picked up his ‘usual’ from the food court. His second smile was reserved for this vendor. Reaching his apartment, he dug his pocket for the keys. He hated and dreaded this part of his day. He unlocked and entered the empty house.
He turned on the lights as he went in. This house reflected a completely different personality. In each room, one of the walls was painted in a bright color. The cushions and mattresses were are in such warm colors, that it was impossible to picture a cold person like him to live here. The man walked into a room, a room which would have been a bedroom once. He sat on the bed and simply stared into space. After a while, he walked to a cupboard and opened it with his trembling hands. The shelf was full of clothes, a woman’s clothes, whose colors were as warm as the house’s. He took one shirt and smelled it. “Nothing”, he said to himself. He carried the shirt with him to his bed. He held it tightly. The warm colored shirt now felt cold, without its owner’s presence inside it. The man brought the shirt closer to his face and whispered, “I miss you”, and a few tears escaped from his eyes. The man sat in the bedroom with his wife’s shirt covering his face, reminiscing his life with her.
His wife had died in a road accident and left him alone to exist. She was the one who had brought colors into his life. He was always an introvert, but with her, even he laughed and made jokes. She was carrying their first child when the accident happened. After months of therapy and medication, the man finally shifted his job to the current one. He figured that, the only thing that kept his mind from going back to the past was his work. He was ready to take up work, any work, that would consume his time and his life. This was the only solution he could find.
Scenes from today, flashed before his eyes, the lady with the baby. It could have been his wife and his child. The man suddenly got up from the bed, came out the room and locked it. He came to his couch and turned his laptop on. He spread his wife’s shirt on his lap, placed his laptop on top of it, and opened a new spreadsheet. This was the way he could escape from his tormenting memories and thoughts.