It was almost as if the large brick building had fallen out of the sky and whoever was doing the dropping clapped their hands together and let out a semi-enthusiastic “good enough” before walking away. To be fair, “large” is a rather understated adjective, but “massive” doesn’t seem quite humble enough. Picture, if you will, an L-shaped hundred year old brick building complete with arches on every window and an impressive outdoor staircase leading up to it, that is larger than “large” but not quite big enough to be considered “massive”. That should about sum it up. The building was the only one of its kind in the surrounding area–and by surrounding area I mean within a hundred miles. The suburbs had grown up around the building, not quite forgetting that the building existed, but moving on regardless. The building was untouched by the progress around it–having weathered earthquakes, basement explosions and fires it simply continued on, unchanged and unimproved. Unsullied.
It is in this outdated place that we find our heroine. She is sitting in the dark, as she has been all week, in an attempt to thwart the heat-retaining properties of her outdated office while frantically pawing through the stacks of papers blanketing her desk. Even with an overhead fan, no lights, and a portable fan pointed straight at her, sweat still forms at the small of her back and in other areas known for warmth. Her face is glistening through her new foundation and she’s irritated that she cannot find the receipt for a charge she was allocating. For a moment she glances out the window and dreams of traipsing over to the local lake for a good sunbathe but is pulled back by the announcement of a new arrival.
Two hours and three appointments later she is finally able to get out for a sandwich and iced caramel americano with cream. She’d pronounced it cair-uh-mel ever since hearing it that way once her freshman year of college and liking it so much she instantly adopted it. That was one of her traits–the way words sounded were more important to her than the dialogue of her region, so if she heard a pronunciation that really resonated she would use it without thinking and the pronunciation became permanent. Sometimes she would get funny looks for her adopted Briticisms, but asking her to ignore the music of the words was futile. She had to be extremely careful when talking to people with foreign accents because her vocal patterns could shift without warning to be closer to that of the person she was conversing with. It could be difficult to explain that she wasn’t being mocking or pretentious, that her voice just did what her ears liked to hear. So when the barista tried to correct our heroine by loudly and emphatically repeating her order back to her with the american car-mel pronunciation, she simply smiled and nodded.
Lunch completed, she finished out the last few hours of her work day and rushed out of the old building in order to make it to the gym in time for zumba. She was new to zumba and there were several routines that she hadn’t done before, but when she would stumble or was unable to figure out if the instructor was tapping or holding her left foot, our girl would smile and continue on. She reflected that it was a little sad her coolest hour of the day was the hour of cardio in her air-conditioned gym, despite having worked in the dark. There were drawbacks to working in a one hundred year old building during one of the largest August heat waves known locally, especially when her office was located directly above the kitchen.
After the gym her routine typically consisted of making dinner–tonight she had opted for a brown rice, kale, mushroom, bell pepper and chicken stir-fry–and then dividing her time between working on her plays, catching up on her favorite tv shows online, and music. Then, after a couple of hours, she would make some tea and retire for the evening by reading a few chapters in a novel in her bed before going to sleep. The next morning she would get up and repeat the process.
She had a cozy existence, surely, but like the building she worked in she was beginning to wonder if she, too, had been left behind by those around her. She was not made sad by the prospect, but she did wonder what made her different. All those she knew were coupling off, marrying, moving, traveling or getting in to trouble. She knew she was where she was for a reason, at least she thought she was, but no one else seemed to have the same motivations or many times to even be on the same wave-length as her. Was she like the be-arched building that matched nothing in the vicinity, proud in its flawed existence? High on a hill, beautiful, but not quite in sync with everyone else around her? It was possible, of course.
She never came to a solid conclusion, knowing that she probably never would be able to explain that little “alone in the middle of it all” feeling. She supposed that everyone felt that way from time to time. Perhaps the building hadn’t been abandoned in its spot because there was no better purpose for it, perhaps its purpose was to stand the test of time and be a witness to all that lived around it. Our heroine liked that idea so she took to her blog to transcribe it.