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Love In The Time Of Mergers

“What does this remind me of?” she kept asking herself. She wasn’t sure, but it definitely no longer felt like her workplace. Using the wide-open stairs in the middle of the atrium, she continued to make a quick floor-by-floor tour as a final farewell to a place that had been her life for so long.

When she reached her cubicle, she pulled out the bottom drawer of her desk as far as it would go. Then she leaned down and reached deep into the opening where she had long ago duct-taped a No. 10 envelope. Inside was $200 cash emergency money—an amount that had seemed like a small fortune when she put it there years ago right after she and Rob started dating. Also in the envelope was a condom two pack—just in case. Added to the envelope after discovering she was pregnant, Cindy recalled thinking that one conception at work was enough.

After slipping the envelope securely into her purse, Cindy stepped to the window overlooking the parking lot to see if Rob was waiting for her at the car. She was glad there was no sign of him yet. I have a few more minutes before I have to walk out the door, she thought. Although Rob wasn’t in the parking lot, she did notice the young weekend security guard was out there, leaning into a car window, apparently talking to friends.
Cindy retraced her steps to the center of the atrium where the space at the core of the building opened three stories above. You could stand there next to the stairs and look all the way up through the glass pyramids on the roof. It was a special place in the building—it was, after all, designed by an architectural genius.

Cindy stood in that spot looking up, her hands clutched to her chest and swaying slightly. Her eyes glistened with emotion. She recalled all the good things that had happened to her in this place, under this roof. Tears ran down her face. It didn’t seem so long ago that she was bringing the baby to work to show him off to friends and coworkers before returning from leave. The baby had gotten hungry and began crying before she could take him out to the car and feed him. She remembered how his cries had echoed when she walked through this open space. Now she was the one crying. She was crying the way women cry when they are intensely angry. With her fists and eyes clenched tight and tears streaming, Cindy screamed in the loudest voice she had ever used, “Damn you Jeffrey Elkins!”