May 16, 2012


Walking down the hall today to heat up my lunch after a long morning getting stuff that used to be "ours" loaded onto trucks to new homes, I started to notice the ghosts.

The hallway was dark, because nobody had been in it today to turn on a light.
Some office doors were open to reveal the emptiness of chairs and furniture.
Some doors were thankfully shut to keep their emptiness hidden.
The faint sound of papers shredding came from behind me, down another hall.
Most of those who still remain had gone to lunch to escape the quiet.

Near each office, I could feel the people who used to work there.
This hallway used to house Rich, Harry, Jerry, Dianne, Kate, and Jorge.
Longer ago, Billie, Walt, Ewa...
Walking down here, you'd hear Billie laughing out loud, see Harry crouched over his computer, notice Rich's giraffes.
Jerry and Kate would be in their labs, Jerry at the bench, Kate in a lab coat, weighing samples.

The hallway used to smell of coffee; there was none in the pot today.

As I left with my hot lunch, I felt a burning in my chest that almost felt like a sob.
As I walked by Iris' old office, I realized that the ghosts have been building up for quite some time now.
Iris, who's job has been vacant for two years... Tammy, who was never replaced since she left  years ago.

And now the front offices are all empty.
Stephanie's office is empty.
Stephanie was the big sister to us all; she never lacked at least one office visitor. She knew what was going on.
We have cried and laughed in that office, probably every one of us.

I walk by Sue's office, which used to never be open unless she was sitting right there at her computer.
It is open, dark, and empty.
I think of her husband, Doug, my supervisor, and I don't even want to imagine his office.
I know that it is empty, he will not turn around to greet me when I knock and go in, he won't have nice things to say, he won't be there to discuss my future or accomplishments.
His bowl of mints will be empty.

Just like in any ghost story, you realize they are there long after they have been haunting you.


AnnaLew said...

Your writing is so beautiful Laura: simple, concise, yet colorful and imaginative.

salou said...

So many good memories of the people you've worked with. Nobody can take those away. Hope your future adventure is even more fulfilling than your past. Best wishes on everything new.

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