The security

“Hey Liv, did you see the new security guy?”

I looked up from my desk, mouth full of noodles. It was another lunch-at-the-desk day. I’d just hit submit on the report I’d been working all morning, and had turned to stuff my face into my meal-prepped lunchbox. 

Spaghetti in a sautéed tomato-mushroom sauce. Homemade food had never tasted so good. Perhaps Pinterest wasn’t kidding—maybe cooking on Sundays is a better idea than brunch with friends. I even managed to get the laundry done, and folded it for good measure.

I shook my head at Jesse’s raised eyebrows. She’s not the kind who’d bring up the security guy unless it was important. Perhaps he was cute.

“Nope.” I supplied swallowing the carby goodness. “Why?”

“It’s an old man!” She almost shrieked, sitting down on my desk, despite knowing how much I hated that. But she didn’t seem to be in her right mind today. Her usually straight black hair was bouncing off her shoulders in curls. Her mascara was a little too much to look at, and she’d force-matched her tiered skirt with a pair of high heels she looked terribly uncomfortable in. But she was gleaming with joy. Unable to figure it out, I decided to wait for her flamboyant explanation later.

“So what if it’s an old chap?”

Everyone needed money. It’s possible that this man didn’t have enough retirement funds. Or his kids weren’t around to help him. After all, I’d seen a lot of older folks struggling to make a living. It was sad, sure, but certainly didn’t warrant a hiatus during lunch. 

I went back to my noodles, ignoring the penciled eyebrows glowering at me. After a while, she gave up and went back to her seat. And I turned to the pile of reports that still needed finishing, verifying, and submitting.

Sigh. It’s going to be a long day.

For the rest of the afternoon, I carefully avoided running into Jesse in the bathroom or the vending machine. I knew she ached to discuss the old security guy. It wouldn’t be the first time—she imagined herself an upstanding citizen being the change she wanted to see. A couple of weeks ago, I’d spent an hour listening to her lament the fate of migrants working casual jobs and unconventional shifts. All because she was drunk on a Friday night and ordered pizza. Her delivery guy was an African hoping for a permanent stay.

My escape was short lived. Just as I stepped out in the terrace, glad that I’d finally completed the week’s backlog, I jumped. 

“I spoke to him.”

Not seeing her crawl up behind me, I turned ready to punch her shrugging childish face. Before I did however, she continued, eyes rounding in sadness. “He was missing his daughter. He took the job so that he’s not bored and lonely at home anymore.”

She was Puss in Boots begging to go with Shrek.

My frustration deflated. It was no use fighting it—she wouldn’t rest until she’d gleaned a response from me. 

“Yes,” I rubbed my stiff neck hoping she’d take a hint. “That is sad.”

Thankfully, that was the end of our conversation. I went back to doing some light reading and recipe hunting before heading home to Netflix.

As the office doors swung shut behind me, I saw him. A tall man in a khaki suit. He didn’t see me approach him—something through the window seemed to have caught his eye and he peered, his shoulders hunched.

“Have a good night!” I faked a cheer, pressing the elevator button. I was exhausted and famished.

He swung around, taken aback. 

“Dad!”

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Give me a break!

kicked
around the room
from one end to another
a mindless show of spinning
like a hunter chasing rabbits
a child its dreams
as a runner on a winter morn
out of breath 
wheezing
rasping for air
for a pause—
from the cold chase
gosh, what a wild goose

shoved around for fun
serving bullies all along
a plaything for the kids
to get ‘em off the parents
who pine for a quiet night

this way and that
unclear what’s what
blindly running
a duty of the distraction
that’s done, only ends
when the game’s over
or footballers tire

Birthing

prising away
protecting tether
plops baby


*Experimenting with modern haiku. It’s fun—try it sometime.

Distracted

“I hate you”
you declared
stormed out
into the setting sun
that winter’s eve
through glass doors
away from me,
my reaching hand

I turned back
silent
oh, my child
I love you still
you’ll come around
after all,
aren’t mothers and daughters
just fighting cocks?

it was something silly—
but my dear,
people will dally
you were right to worry
tension’s high
big day nearby
complain, whine—fine
pray, lay off wine!

“drive safe”
text, less invasive
I hovered…
ah, beautiful shoes
perfect wedding night
complements your white
clicked my phone off
distracted.

Sought luxury for your feet
as you lost luxury of feet.

The average

Beth’s mom made cashew cheese

Alisa shared her buckwheat cookies

Laundry’s done, fresh, and folded

Toilet’s sparkling, no drop astray

All the way to the store at night

Getting glue for that project’s due

Still pulling out a casserole for dinner

Serving up mango pie, special desert

Party platter with organic wine

Home-baked goodies for the kiddies

Celebrating the dog’s birthday

Giving mighty thanks to all in life

Mom of the month gave some tips

Quick oats, meal prep, health videos


Everyone’s a multi-tasking queen

Those yoga women the talk of town

And I eat ice cream from the tub