Office, updated

I meant to tell you about my office. We’re on the 13th floor. The actual 13th floor, as opposed to the superstitious one. And the windows open. We have a view of this city you wouldn’t believe, and we love all of you from up here, like benevolent gods.

Today, I rode the elevator up with one of the dudes we share space with, a fellow I’ve just learned is the finest mediator in town.

“Sometimes, Jill,” he tells me, “people’s rancor, their hatred toward one another, is difficult to take.”

I have a great deal of love for this man, the moment he says rancor.

“I imagine you experience difficult things,” I say.

“It’s a good day when no one throws something at me.”

He has gone to some trouble to learn my name quickly, and address me often. One of the other fellows calls me back to the lunch room this morning to tell me a story. It’s a long, windy one about people who put off Christmas shopping, and also about marriage, and heroism, and working right up to the moment of your death — two of the characters die at their desks in their eighties.

It’s the kind of story I admire, and he keeps pressing up on his toes while he’s speaking as though he should have coattails.

He was careful to use my name when he called me back for my story as well.

Sometimes the journey to get here is hard. And you have nothing left to disguise yourself. Sometimes the loveliest things happen on the elevator ride, or while you’re refilling your water glass.

I talked to my kid on the phone tonight. “I wish we had more time,” he said. I often feel that way too, but I think I’m talking about honor, about taking the opportunity to experience all that is brutal, and all that is delicate, and not giving more weight to the things that cling than we give the things that lift.

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