She…

I have started for office at 6:30, yes that’s right, 6:30 AM, I like to reach early. Even though earliest in- time allowed in our office is 7:30 and you won’t get paid for extra hours, I always reach by 7:10 or so, I still like to be in office that early, beat the traffic you know…

Like every day, that day was the same, my cubicle mate has left the job, and hence I’ve got this complete cubicle at my disposal only. I’ve been working here for almost 20 years now, came across a lot of people, but I was always stationary. I like the stability here and have made this my comfort zone. I’m kind of used to people coming and going. It doesn’t bother me much now.

As soon as I reached the cubicle, I started getting busy, reading mails, replying to them, this was over in 30 mins, I’ll have to spend another 30 mins doing something coz my breakfast company don’t like to check in early like me, they will be here soon and I’ll go for breakfast then…meanwhile I browsed through the latest styles online.. I just like to do window shopping… Guess you would not call it window shopping since it’s on- line and there is no window but nevertheless…

Breakfast time has come and I pinged people to join me in cafeteria… I like going for breakfast… lot of people from my native place…I don’t feel alone there…. After having enough chit chat I came back to my seat and I see a new face in my cubicle…ah, my new cubicle mate has arrived… She heard me and turned and gave a dazzling smile…that looked very amazing on her tanned skin…and it was infectious too…I too smiled and introduced myself…she looked like a kid…I liked her…

In coming days, I told her a lot about office, its culture, and people to get things done. Poor thing doesn’t have a clue about anything. I felt like it’s my responsibility to guide her and I was doing that…

Her lead doesn’t sit on same floor, so she has to go upstairs to her lead most of the time, even though her seat is here, I saw her less and less..

One day she came downstairs saying her lead has not come today, so she will sit in her cubicle, I was glad. Few days have passed…I was noticing her activity…she was always on phone…in the cubicle, in the corridor, in the lift, in the café, in the designated area for phone call and even in RESTROOM. Why was she always on phone, did she not have work? What was her manager doing? Why was she not at her desk? And why did she come late? Are rules different for different people and see the nerve, she was new and she was not scared doing all this.

Don’t know why but I felt anger whenever I saw her passing time and she did that all the time. Along with that anger, surprisingly I liked her too. I was in contrast of these two moods. Sometimes I wanted to say something to her but then thought better and did nothing…but her activities were getting on my nerves…I was in greater conflict…why was this bothering me..Should I just leave her alone or should I do something about this…

Then other day, I was very busy, my lead was constantly hovering over my head and I was under tons of work and then she came, with phone on one ear and smiling and I just couldn’t take it anymore..I snapped…I have made enquiry about her manager already, I pinged her and I complained about her…I started and I did not stop, I complained about her late coming to office, I complained about her phone, I complained about her office wear, basically I complained about whatever I could think of…there was something which was compelling me do so…and when I finished, I felt relaxed..

Other day she came in a little early than her usual time, she greeted me as usual and said I’m thinking of coming to office a little bit early, it’s better since there is no traffic and you get to leave early too..I nodded… I knew this was a result of my complain but I was wondering whether she knows it’s me…her manager won’t do this, this would be unprofessional of her to reveal my name…my conscience started saying why does it matter if she knows who complained…I shushed it..

I didn’t see her on phone much either those days, that complaint really worked, but instead of feeling better I felt awful…couldn’t explain my feeling to myself…I tried talking to her.. She responded sweetly. Her behavior didn’t show anything…She always smiled, said bye to me when I leave, but she never initiated conversation or it was me overthinking…I think she never did that…but I’m noticing it now out of my guilt…but why I was feeling guilty…I said what I thought was right. Then my conscience spoke again, perhaps you went behind her back…You betrayed her. I shushed it again saying she was not that close that I’ll betray her…it whispered then why are you feeling guilty…I had no explanation…

The day before she was leaving for vacation, she came to cubicle and she looked at me … she looked at me with disbelief but didn’t say anything… There was that hurt, sense of betrayal in her eyes …that look will haunt me forever… That look for a fraction of second was enough to tell me that she knows…I felt such a surge of guilt, I didn’t know why I did that…and above all why I cared what she thinks. But I cared without any explanation…

She was gone for 3 weeks…I was wondering will she come…of course she won’t leave job because of this complain. Or could it be the case that they fired her…m so anxious. I’ve set something in motion which I’m regretting now…

But she came. After 3 weeks she came…I was so happy to see her…but there was a very distinctive coldness in her behavior, though no one other than us could make that out, but I knew that warm disarming smile was gone. It’s been replaced by guarded response, a tight smile. She felt stranger. But wasn’t she stranger to me? After all how well did I know her…?

I saw her that day talking to her friends in café. She was laughing …same smile…and suddenly she looked at me and that cold look has come over her …. It broke my heart…she is gone…however I try and whatever I do, I would never be the worthy of her trust again. Though it should not bother me but still……I miss her..

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