Stuff I’ve Written – Live Your Dreams (Part 3)

In the past, I’ve shared some of what I’ve written here.  It may be good, it may be terrible, but I need to get it out into the world.  If you like what you read, let me know.  I’ll be posting the stories in installments, and I will eventually put up a pdf of the full story.

Live Your Dreams (part 3)

Monday morning. 6:45 am and the alarm starts beeping. He climbed out of the warm bed into the cold predawn darkness, and slowly made his way to the bathroom.  John went through the motions of getting dressed and trying to not let the job feel like a crushing burden on him.  The sooner he made it to work, the sooner the day would be over and he could be back home.

The day began normally enough, however things quickly began to change.  John saw several managers coming down and sitting in the cubes.  They never did this, something was going on.  He tried to ignore it, but it was too easy to get caught up in the buzz of rumours and speculation.  Word began to spread about layoffs.

‘It’s not going to be me, they need me, you can’t outsource this work and it’s too complicated to automate.’  John thought.

“Shit.”  It was Tommy from the other side of the cube.

“What? What’s going on?”  John stood and looked across the row.

“I got an email to meet with Adam in 15 minutes.”  Adam was their department manager.  “This can’t be good.  Not with what I’m hearing out of the other departments.  Did you get anything?”  Tommy slumped in his chair.

John started to respond, but was interrupted by his Outlook notification.  “I just got one.”

An hour later John and Tommy both walked out of the building, holding their personal items in a small box.

“Give me a call later this week, we’ll get together and have lunch or something.”  Tommy said as they crossed the parking lot.

“Definitely.  We can figure out where to apply to.”  John stopped at his car and put his box in the backseat.  “I didn’t even get a chance to warn Steph about this.  She’s going to worry.”

“At least you’ve got someone to go home to.  I think I’m gonna call Janice from our team tonight and see if she wants to go out.  We always seem to have fun together.  Don’t have to worry about HR making things weird now.”  Tommy waved and started towards his own car.

John sat in the car thinking of what he would do.  It was only 11:00.  Too late to surprise her with an egg mcmuffin.  She might still be asleep.

He drove home in silence, trying not to dwell on everything.

The house was still dark when he came home.  Stephanie was still asleep.  He moved around as quietly as could, but every sound seemed to echo in the house.  Sitting on the couch he took his shoes off and padded silently to the bedroom.  He stood in the doorway for just a minute watching her sleep.  She would complain that her hair was a mess and she snored, but right now she was a vision of beauty.  He leaned on the bed and kissed her.  She woke to his kiss, but quickly realized he shouldn’t be home.

“What time is it? Why aren’t you at work?”  Stephanie sat up in the bed.

“Well, I’ve got good news and bad news.  Which do you want first?”  He sat on the edge of the bed, pulling off his tie.

“What’s the bad news?”  She was worried and a little confused.

“I got laid off today.”  He looked down in shame.  “They let half our department go.”

“Oh no.  What’s the good news?”

“Nothing, I lied about the good news.”  He curled up to her on the bed, his shirt still half tucked into his pants.

“I’m so sorry, sweety.”  She pulled him close and put her arms around him.  “There is a little bit of good news though.”

“What’s that?”  His voice weak.

“At least you don’t have to go back to that soul crushing job anymore, and you can spend more time with me.”  She smiled at John, trying to cheer him up.

They lay in bed together for another hour before it was Stephanie’s turn to get ready for work.  John changed out of his work clothes, sat on the couch and stared blankly at the dark TV while she got ready.

“I want you to make me a promise today.”  She sat next to him and began putting on her shoes.

“What’s that?”  John said, waking out of his daze.

“I don’t want you to dwell on what happened today.  You said they let a lot of people go, so it wasn’t anything that you had control over.  I want you to take some time today and relax, cheer yourself up.”  Stephanie stood up and grabbed her purse.  She came back and kissed him.  “Find something that will make you happy.”

John managed a small smile and a nod.  “I’ll try.”

“Good.  Text me if anything else happens.”  She blew him a kiss as the door closed behind her.

Stuff I’ve Written: Live Your Dreams (part 2)

In the past I’ve shared some of what I’ve written here.  It may be good, it may be terrible, but I need to get it out into the world.  If you like what you read, let me know.  I’ll be posting the stories in installments, and I will eventually put up a pdf of the full story.

 

Live Your Dreams (part 2)

 

John was at work. This was meeting number 3 for the day and it wasn’t even lunch.  The fluorescent lights flickered and buzzed. The air conditioner hummed. The omnipresent soundtrack of daily life in the cube farm.

 

‘If I fell asleep in this meeting, I wonder how long it would take for people to notice.’ He thought to himself.  The manager continued to drone on, trying to make pointless corporate buzzwords and double speak sound exciting. This was another in a long series of updates that really had nothing to do with his job, but he had been put on the committee.

 

The manager was new, still very excited and gung ho. His soul hadn’t been crushed by the corporate machine yet. John thought that there must be some kind of psychological paper you could write tracking a person in Corporate America from exciting optimism at the beginning and see how long it took before they were another crushed soul.

 

“You are a very important piece of our company…” The manager continued on.

 

‘Now sit down, shut up and get back to work. Don’t question the system, just go with the flow.’ John added in his head. ‘No wonder people brought guns to work. The system will break everyone.’

 

John had to get out of here. Every day it gets a little harder to not just run screaming from the building. He saw everything as a facade. Fake walls separated the desks and cubes, pretend friends and fake smiles in the hallways. All of it hiding the soul crushing depression they were all feeling.

 

‘Stephanie wants me to work on my novel. She has seen the notebook with ideas.’ He thought to himself, focusing on her, on his life outside of work helped him to put the nonsense of work into a proper perspective.

 

“If you write your novel, you could get of that crappy job.” She told him when he complained about work. ‘So easy for her to say that, it’s another thing to actually do it.’ He thought to himself.  ‘Stop it John. You are being defeatist again. Stephanie would not approve of this attitude.’

 

“Focus on your strengths, and you can pull yourself out.” She had told him that back when he decided to make a serious effort at writing. He had begun repeating it to himself as a mantra every day to keep himself focused on what was important.

 

‘I can do this.’

 

“You coming John?” A new voice interrupted his thoughts, it was Tommy who sat across the row from him.

 

“Oh, meetings over, hope nothing important was discussed.” They shared a laugh as they walked back to their desks.  The job was not his favorite, and it was not his first choice.  However, he was reasonably good at it, and liked his coworkers. There were a lot of worse things he could be doing. Focus on the positive.

 

It was finally 5:30 on Friday, time to go home and not think about work until Monday morning. John made a promise to himself as he walked across the parking lot to his car, this weekend I’m going to get some work done. Come Hell or high water, I’m going to move this thing forward. He felt energized and ready to go.  Stephanie wouldn’t be home for a few hours so he had the time to himself. This was the worst part for him, he was so tempted by the TV, the internet or just relaxing with a book.

 

“No! I’m not going to waste this time. I’ve wasted too much time already.” John said to the empty house. He felt that since he had said it aloud that he had made a vow with some unseen force, and he was determined to stick to it.

 

He stuck to it and forced himself to just keep the thoughts going, keep the pencil moving, just get the words down. He was thinking like a sculptor, you don’t start with a statue, you have to shape and carve, build some sections up and tear others down. It’s a first draft, not a final piece. He kept these thoughts and images in his head whenever he started to feel like he was running out of steam.  It doesn’t have to be good right away, you have the talent to make it good. Stephanie’s words repeated in his head. He wrote until Stephanie came home. He finally stopped when he heard her come home.

 

“Oh no, don’t stop because of me. You seemed like you were really on a role there.” She said as he started to get up from the desk.

 

He got up from the desk and walked over to her. Immediately putting his arms around her and kissing her and leading her across the hall to the bedroom.

 

“What got into you?” She asked.

 

“What? It’s Friday and I’m glad to be home with you and off work.” He said.

 

“That’s not what I’m talking about. I haven’t seen this level of passion or excitement in you for quite a while. I don’t know what changed, but I’m glad it did. I was getting worried for you.” She sat up and looked into his eyes.
“Honestly, I don’t know what changed. I just made a promise to myself that I was not going to waste any more time. I was going to get something done, be productive, for good or for bad.”  He smiled.