School-I was given a woman's description for a paper-I editted it and am now posting it
|From the murky glass window of the unemployment office where I work, it is not uncommon for me, to see a poor soul wandering the side walk which leads to the office door. This time, I saw the familiar face of and old woman wearing men’s pants and an overcoat; both of which were filthy and had holes scattered about them. She had been outside for about half an hour now, and as usual, I could tell that something was on her mind from the fast pace at which she walked.
Finally, about half and hour more, the woman put down her half full bottle of wine on the newly swept sidewalk, and with quite an effort on her part, opened the “heavy” door.
“Uh…Uh,” and with what was a difficult gulp of pride for her, she managed to get out, “Yes…well, I need to speak with an employee here about finding a job.”
The day was going pretty slow, so I immediately put down my sandwich bag full of buttered popcorn, which I had needlessly been snacking on, and offered my services. I extended my hand outward, she removed her tattered hand covered with gloves torn half way up her fingers, and introduced herself as Kelsey Purcell and for some strange reason, I kept thinking that I’d heard that name somewhere before.
“Nice to meet you mam, I am Jenny Jenkins, please have a seat. So what brings you here?
“Well, my career was...uhm…well I’ve seen better days, that’s all. But the point is that I’ve finally gotten over my pride and walked in those doors over there; which, by the way, are a little heavy for my taste.
With a little chuckle, I handed her an 8”x 12” sheet of computer paper which had a few paragraphs typed on it.
“Okay Mrs. Purcell, first”
“Did you just call me Mrs. Purcell? People used to call me that, but they don’t anymore okay…just, if you would please, call me Kelsey.”
“No problem, Kelsey.”
“Anyway to test your qualifications, you are going to need to type the words on the paper I handed you onto the computer as fast, and as accurately as possible; begin”
To my surprise, Kelsey made no spelling errors and typed with astounding speed. I was beginning to ponder the name, Kelsey Purcell. And then it clicked, Kelsey Clare Purcell had been a major CEO in the 1960’s.
Clearing my throat of the last of the popcorn that had been stuck in my teeth, I asked “Have you ever done this before?”
“Mrs. Jenkins, my last job involved a lot of typing, a lot of work actually; too much for anyone to handle really!”
Could this really be her, Kelsey Clare Purcell, the former CEO of Typhanco and possibly the greatest women’s rights advocate in the world, sitting right here, in front of me? Sure there were plenty of speculations about what had happened to her, but never a truth to it all. By know she probably thinks I’m insane; sitting here thinking of the possible persona in front of me, but that did not lessen my curiosity.
Brushing the tangled and matted hair away from her long prominent nose, and away from her blueberry-blue eyes; she interrupted my pondering and asked if there were any other tasks which she would need to complete. I then pushed my favorite boots against the dingy grey carpet which had recently been given a new addition of crumbs, and rolled the chair and myself over to the cluttered bookcase. After pushing away unwanted papers and avoiding many paper avalanches, I handed her 3 sheets of paper; it was a questionnaire.
I then proceeded to say the following, “If you could Kelsey, please answer the 45 questions on those sheets. Once you are finished I will evaluate your qualifications and assign you to a job accordingly.”
As she sat there with legs crossed and all, I started to once again ponder the potential of having the CEO of Typhanco across from myself, and before I knew it, the questionnaire was complete. As I reviewed the answers written in a cross between script and cursive, my curiosity only grew. You know what, I think I’m just going to ask her; what could hurt. If it’s not her, we’ll both get a laugh out of it, and if it is her, then my agonizing curiosity will be gone. It’s a win, win situation.
“Mam, are…are you…”
“Mrs. Jenkins, feel free to say anything about my answers that you’d like; I respect your professional opinion. So, have you thought of a suitable job for me yet Mrs. Jenkins?” asked Kelsey, as her green-tinted teeth revealed themselves from her thin chapped lips.
I’ve got to be professional; think professional. There have been plenty of times where I’d wished I could say something, but I didn’t; this time should be no different. I’ve got to control myself.
“The job I think that you’ll be best suited for is interning at the Webster Company. You will rise in the company quickly because of your high qualifications that you demonstrated to me, and eventually will obtain a paying job to get you back in your feet! As for now, I can arrange for the Welfare Office to help you out financially. Does all of that sound okay; any questions…concerns perhaps?”
She got up from her seat, and as she did, I saw a single tear role all the way down to her strong jaw line and fall. “God bless you dear,” she said to me.
I gave her the necessary paperwork to begin at Webster Company and she began to walk that same fast pace walk that I’d seen her walk time and time before. As I watched her hand extend outwardly to the office door I knew that I would never know who she really was. She took her hand off of the door, pulled one side of her torn overcoat across her thin and frail body and did the same with the other side, but in the opposite direction for warmth before going back to the street where she lived. She waved her hand at me and slightly opened her mouth taking in a deep breath at the same time, like she wanted to say something, but she didn’t; she simply pushed open the Unemployment Office doors. Once outside, she picked up the half full bottle of wine and proceeded home to her box, blanket, and her shopping cart full of soda cans. I’ll never know if that was her or not; but it only makes me realize that bad things can happen to the very best of us.