The Trickster Diaries/Chapter 32
Shana was leaving the interior design/plantscape business to become a Century 21 real estate agent. I was the only one at work who knew. She’d be giving her two week’s notice at a company meeting soon. It was a meaningless move in terms of how it would affect our… yeah, our what? What was it? We never discussed it. There was zero possessiveness on either side yet complete openess, deep acceptance and constant, irresistible surprise that always drove the nature of our… thing, (whatever our thing was), up a structural notch.
It was present time all the time. And it had a way of breaking down preconception and judgement in a flash. So, skip our public displays of affection, or the night she showed Don who was boss, or the most astonishing plot twist of all—the night I met her parents—and fast forward to the night of the company meeting, the night she was to announce her resignation.
She was late. The rest of us were gathered among very old and valuable urns and statuary, art deco and antique Asian furniture and exotic plants, sitting in a semi circle on folding chairs in the center of the showroom.
Bill: Call her, Robert.
He had me, sort of. It was my job, sort of, to determine her ETA. But he also knew, or suspected, our intimacy, and was hoping I’d somehow blow it on the phone.
Steve, knowing what Bill was up to, intervened: “No, she’ll be here. In the meantime…”
Then in walks Shana. But not in her ordinary khaki cargo pants and black polo shirt with company logo, Doc Marten 1460 black boots, plant maintenance technician tool belt outfit. Not by a long shot.
Instead she glided in dressed in an alluringly tight, low cut red mini dress. Matching high heels. Gold sequined handbag and gold earrings. Red lipstick.
The room hushed.
Then it did something else when, instead of taking a chair, she slid on to my lap and began nibbling my right ear.
Apparently, (from what I could hear out of my left ear), most had guessed.
Gloria: (Elbowing Judith) I TOLD you!
Judith: Oh my God…
Arturo—always smiling anyway—smiled more. But it was Steve’s response that floored us both. He was sobbing, head in hands. He stood up. “Come here,” he finally said, opening his arms. “This is so wonderful. I’m so happy for you,” he said, embracing us. Then he sort of spun us around to face the other six. “Just think,” he said, holding Shana’s left hand, my right, “This would never have happened if Robert hadn’t signed on with us. Or if Bill hadn’t suggested Shana sign on…”
Shana: Yeah but… I’m so sorry, Steve, really, but I’m signing off.
Steve: Excuse me?
Shana: I’m leaving. In two weeks. To become a real estate agent.
Steve: (Stunned) OK. It’s Christmas. It’s short notice, but…
Shana: I know. Sorry?
Steve: No. I understand. Good luck. But I think we should probably exclude you from this meeting, yes?
She picked up her gold handbag and scampered away.
I wanted to say: “OK, then, baby, see you back at the crib?” Or I wanted to say: “Listen, Steve, will you excuse me while I go make sure she’s OK to drive?”
I did neither. I sat back down as Steve, avoiding eye contact with me, addressed the situation: “Bill, Arturo, Judith, anyone… do we know someone who can fill in, someone she can train, maybe someone to take over full time?”