I look around at my colleagues with envy.
“Are you ok?” Shirley asks, stopping her filing for a moment and looking straight at me.
I nod my head. Blink a tear away. Force a smile. Shirley starts filing again. How can I tell her? How can I find the words to tell her how I really feel?
Looking around, no-one else gives any sign that they have noticed. No sense of outrage at the fact that of the eighteen people who make up the complement of this office, only seventeen are present and productive. Seventeen men and women working; heads down, eyes focussed on computer monitors, beavering away like the well-ordered, single-minded corporate drones they are. I envy their uncomplicated little lives, even as I secretly despise them for that very condition.
I turn my gaze back to Shirley. Still filing as though it were all she lived for; absolute dedication.
What Shirley and I did last night was wrong. Not legally, not even morally in the accepted sense of the word, but wrong nonetheless. It represented an extreme error of judgement on both our parts. For goodness’ sake, we are mature, responsible adults; at least we are supposed to be. We are both married. To other people. What ever possessed us to do what we did is beyond me. But do it we did. Then the inevitable; the one thing that could go wrong; went wrong, and now we have to live with the consequences.
I suppose, in our defence, it was almost inevitable. We spend a lot of time together, and we have become quite close. The mistake was probably not so much what we did, as making the initial decision to visit a bar and down a few drinks on the way home from work. We should have known that it wouldn’t stop there. We should have anticipated that we would do something stupid.
How stupid? How does driving a dodgem car in the local fairground sound? Not bad? Add in alcohol, and the car becomes a lethal weapon. After a heavy impact, I ended up in hospital with a splinter of something in my eye. At least that sobered me up, but it was supremely awkward to explain to my wife why I was brought home from work four hours late, and by a woman she didn’t know.
“Yes, Shirley, I’m fine, thanks,” I say, “but I’d prefer if you stop filing your nails and get on with some work!”
This week's challenge at esthernewtonblog.wordpress.com asked for a story starting with the italicised words.