Tuesday. April 17th. 5pm.
This certainly isn’t your typical location for catching your breath and collecting your thoughts. But the opportunity has presented itself nonetheless and, let’s face it, I need it. Heck, I’d settle for a crowded waiting room in the office of a paediatrician right about now, if it meant a few minutes of spare time to think.
I stare at the keys still clutched in my hands and am completely aware of the fact that I am zoning out, giving myself over unashamedly to the blank stare that has crept across my face. It’s a good thing I’ve somewhat come to know the girl standing across from me. I mean, it’s not like we’re still strangers – what’s the point in feeling awkward anymore. “We’re practically friends by this point,” I think to myself, and silently fall back into my mental solitude. The punching of keys, the scratching of a pen and the rhythm of the stamp, the opening and closing of drawers, none of these things phase me as I internally sort out my day; what I’ve done, what I didn’t have time to get to, the plans I realistically won’t be able to fit into this week’s crazy schedule. And the way my eyes are still fuzzy and funny feeling, dilated from my eye exam earlier this afternoon.
“Please sign here,” are the words that buoy me back to the surface, and I recognize an urgency partnering with the usual kindness of her voice. As I come back into the room mentally, I am reminded by voices ending phone conversations, glass doors and metal bars sliding shut, keys locking cabinets and drawers into place, and coworkers saying goodbye for the day, that I had just barely slipped in here before the 5o’clock closing time and I realize I am keeping this new friend of mine from finishing her work and heading home. I quickly scrawl out a signature. “Thanks, and they will unlock the front door to the left to let you out,” she assures me and, as usual, I make certain to look her in the eye as I smile and wish her a great evening. She smiles back and I feel confident now: Ya, we’re friends.
I slip on my sunglasses and head for my car, thankful for the friendship and few minutes of peace that the bank has provided for me today, as unusual a location as it may be for such things.
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