How to Be (7)

Samantha Edmonds


With work

You have a cubicle on the third floor of an office building downtown. Your husband with golden eyes will insist he makes enough to support you both without the job. Explain to him you need this for reasons unrelated to money. Frame pictures of him for your desk. Call your mother from the work phone every day on your lunch break. Your new job requires you write copy for small-time companies you’ve never heard of. Write in rhyme. Write in couplets. Write in thirty seconds or less. Write sharply, like cheddar, and realize it’s still cheese. But it’s all the writing you will ever do again.

Your coworkers are kind. Share smiles and work gossip but leave the relationships in the office at 5pm. Dress business casual. Go home when the clock says to with nothing else to do. Leave work at work. Kiss the golden-eyed boy at the door when he gets home. Spend the evening with him. Sometimes he will bring home flowers just because. Go out to eat on Fridays. Thursdays go to his parents’ house. On Tuesdays, make breakfast for dinner. Watch TV. Do puzzles. Laugh. Fight. Fuck. There will be kids one day, with freckles and sticky fingers and golden eyes like his. Not yet.

Invite your mother up for a visit to see the house. Make the five-hour trip home at least once a month for the first three, then every other month, then every four or five. Eventually just settle for going home over Christmas, at least. Pretend not to notice the envy in her voice when she asks after your mother-in-law, who lives five minutes away. She thinks she will be a stranger to her future grandkids.

Start to miss your academic days, when you didn’t know the difference between work and life, passion and duty, when your peers—coworkers—were like friends were like family. You miss the blurred lines, personal is professional is personal, the business conversations at the parties, the drinks at the business meetings (like parties).

Decide to enroll in grad school and go to Section 8. Before you do, kiss the golden-eyed boy goodbye.