Excerpt from "Jada's Journey" by dkWard Copyright '13
I don’t know how they do it. If it were me, the day they banned cigarette smoking in public places would have been the day I quit. It’s cold as a mad wife outside in Chicago, Illinois today, and they’re standing out here in front of the building, freezing, smoking cigarettes that now cost over $11.00 a pack! I’m sorry, but do you know how many eyelashes or lipsticks I could buy with that money?! No way! Everybody’s got their “thing”, I guess, but that could never be me! I’m just glad they haven’t banned drinking coffee on the job because I’d be right out here with them, with my teeth chattering, just like theirs. $11.00? That’s just crazy!
“Excuse me” I muttered, trying to get through the little crowd of puffers. I started pulling my hat from my head just in time to step into the very busy office building with 30 floors of who really knows what? Everybody is so busy, all the time. There are cell phones, tablets, and ipads everywhere, business suits (some well-fitted, some not). Everybody is in a hurry to go somewhere or do something except, of course, for those you see off in the corners sometimes. Men and women just glancing at each other, smiling, looking back over their shoulders as if to say “goodbye for now”. I’ve got to tell you, the sites can be very entertaining here is this place, if you take some time and watch, but as much as I’d love to hang around, I’ve got 3 minutes to get to my desk. “Excuse me!”
I jump in the first available elevator and much to my surprise; I’m the only one getting on for a change! I’m so glad because those 20 flights up give me plenty of time to get myself together. I’m forever rushing and today was no different. Thankfully, they’ve got mirrors on the elevators, so I can check out my hair before anybody I care about sees me. I also need a minute to double-check these new eye lashes I’m trying out and apply just a little more rouge. All right now. Everything looks good, as usual, just in time for the 20th floor ding of the elevator. The doors fly open and it’s on and poppin’. Hello Mahone! Here I am; the one and only, Jada! Kiss yourself, girl! You’re too hot! Call the police and a fireman!
In case you haven’t already figured it out, I guess I should tell you now, I think looks are important, no; very important…wait, no….extremely important! I mean, you don’t have to be a super model, but you should have it together, you know, dress for the occasion, shoes matching your bag, your gig line straight. It’s all about how you present yourself to this world. Because how you present yourself kinda lets people know how to treat you. At least, that’s what I think. Although I have been called materialistic a few times, too,…and well…so what. I could be called worse, and I have!
As the doors opened, I could hear the familiar sound of 10-key adding machines, yes adding machines. The owners want to see you pressing in those numbers and getting them right! The laptops were lit up, and people were already on their phones. It’s only 8 a.m. I think some of these people stay all night and never go home. They are always in this office, doing something! In some cases, I can understand. For instance with Amelia, her family is still over in Italy and she doesn’t have any friends. At least, I don’t think so. I never see her talking to anyone. She just does her work, day after day, hardly ever saying a word. I’m guessing she’s got a couple cats or something to keep her company at home because she sure doesn’t pay any attention to anyone here. Sometimes I think about saying something to her or asking her if she would like to have lunch, but she doesn’t seem to want to be bothered, so hey, I just leave her alone.
Mahone Finance Solutions owns the entire floor, all 30,000 square feet. It is huge, and everything is glass. You can see everybody and everything! I must say, they keep it really nice and clean and everything matches! The colors are sage, mauve, and grey with chrome accents. The walls are covered with beautiful, matching abstract art and inspirational sayings like, “”Work hard and be proud of what you achieve.” and “Work hard in silence. Let success make the noise.” They sure know how to keep a person motivated and I have to say it’s a really nice environment to work in. Except for one thing, the part about everything being glass and how you can see everything and everybody? Well, that means there’s no privacy. That means you can be found. There’s nowhere to hide. This has its advantages and its disadvantages; one of which is approaching me now…
“Oh! Good Morning, Jada!”
It’s Derek Holloman. The glass disadvantage thing I mentioned? Exhibit A. I know he can see me coming, but he is forever acting like it’s a coincidence when he runs into me, and he literally runs into me sometimes! It really works my nerve when he does that because I know he’s doing it on purpose. I know what he’s up to, but he is just not the type I usually go for.
I mean, he would be all right if he were…say…somebody else.
Why? I’m glad you asked.
For one thing, he dresses like a church boy and sometimes he wears thee biggest gold cross necklace you have never seen! Now, don’t get me wrong, I love the Lord too, but I don’t think he expects me to wear life-sized memorabilia around my neck!
You see, Derek is what you’d call one of the “good boys”. You know the kind; not too much excitement, not enough swagger, just kinda…around.
He purposely gets as close as he can to me whenever he can. Now, I do have to admit that he always smells good. Now that, I like, but hey, so does Nadal Sands over in Human Resources, but you’ll never find me giving into his advances either. If I’m not mistaken, he’s got like 7 kids by his three ex-wives, and I have none; ex-husbands or kids, so uhhhh, no thank you, Mr. Sands.
But now to get rid of the individual at hand…
“Hey, Derek” I said, trying not to sound too dry as he followed me to my cubicle. After all, I may need him one day.
“How was your weekend?” I asked. “Real nice! Real nice!” was his reply. Ugh, no style at all! Who says, “Real nice!”?
“How about yours?” he asked.
“Oh, real nice!” I said. “Real nice!”
“You’re looking really good today” he said. Well, not just today. You always look good to me. “I’m digging” (real proper like…ughhhh) that outer wear!” he said, nodding his head, looking me up and down.
I suddenly felt a little self-conscience. Something about the way he looked at me. It wasn’t really sexual, but it was a bit piercing. Like he could see something I couldn’t. I’m not sure what he could see, but I wasn’t intentionally showing it to him, so I needed him to give me two feet. I don’t really know how to explain it. I was uncomfortable and my girl must have seen the whole thing because the next thing I know, I heard; “Jada, call on line three!” The announcement was coming from the intercom on my phone at my desk.
Looking at Derek I said, “Welp, looks like it’s time to get started!”
Thanks, Tracye! Saved by the bell”, I was thinking to myself as Derek turned to leave. Unfortunately, I know he’ll be back.
Picking up the phone, I said, “Thanks, girl” because I knew good and well nobody was calling me that early in the doggone morning. “Good lookin’ out, chica”. I chuckled.
“No problem, Jada. Are we on for Karaoke tonight, our singles night life?” She asked.
“You know it,” I replied. “You never know who might be there!”
“What are you going to entertain them with, girl?” What are you going to sing?" Tracye asked.
“I don’t even know, but you know I’ll have it together by tonight, girl.” I said.
“I know you will, girl. Ok, see you later” Tracye said.
“Alright, and thanks again for that save.” I told her.
After hanging up the phone, I hung my coat up on my new Wilmington Cherry & Burl coat rack. Mahone gives one to all its employees on their 2nd year anniversary. I checked my hair one more time in the mirror on my side table. I locked my MK handbag in my desk drawer and left for the coffee room, the one at the south end which is in the opposite direction of Derek’s cubicle.
As I headed out into the hallway, I tripped over the door plate. I bent over to make sure I hadn’t scuffed my new red bottoms and when I looked up, I couldn’t believe my eyes; it was Brandon. The last man on earth I needed to see. What in the world was my ex-man doing at my job?! ~
WHEW WEEE! I NEED TICKETS NOW!