A young woman is disappointed in where she has ended up.
| “You’re not even going to finish your puny salad are you?” Dawn asked between forkfuls of salmon and whipped potatoes. |
“I’m not very hungry,” Maggie said. “What do you think about Robin Williams?”
“I watched “Mrs. Doubtfire” about a dozen times when I was a kid. He was funny. Why?”
“Owen called him a coward last night,” Maggie responded.
“I think he was just depressed. I wouldn’t call him a coward. He was desperate.”
“I think it takes courage to end it. No one knows if there’s anything after death.”
“There is,” Dawn insisted. “Do you have to work this weekend?”
“I always do.”
“Are you still applying for other stuff? You need to find something better.”
“I know. I haven’t looked in a little while, I couldn’t take more disappointment. I really thought I had that job at the library.”
“You’ll get something. You can’t give up.”
“You’re right,” Maggie checked her phone. “I need to get back.”
Maggie returned to work with only a few seconds left on her lunch hour.
“Hey beautiful,” said a co-worker, patting Maggie on the back of her shoulder as she swiped her timecard. “How are you today?”
“Fine, Janice,” Maggie said with a modest smile. “How are you?”
“Can’t complain,” she said. Maggie disagreed. The woman was in her 70’s and barely scraping by on a minimum wage job. She was one of the few people in Maggie’s life that made her feel a little bit fortunate. As the pair walked back to the sales floor, an attractive man in a suit stopped them.
“Excuse me,” he began, “can you tell me if this MP3 player can create multiple playlists?”
Maggie reached for the package and began reading the information on the box.
The man rolled his eyes. “Obviously, I can read. It doesn’t say on the box.”
“I’m sorry,” Maggie said. “I don’t know. Let me see if someone in electronics knows.”
“Shouldn’t you know about the products you sale? How hard can your job be?” he snapped.
“I’m sorry,” Maggie repeated as the man walked away.
After work, Maggie changed her clothes, refreshed her makeup and hair and drove to Owen’s house as planned. She walked slowly up the sidewalk to his house and took a deep breath before going in.
“ Hey honey,” Owen said from the couch.
“Hi,” she said sitting down next to him. He kissed her.
“So, I talked to John about you this morning. He said to have you fill out an application and he’d get you right in.”
Maggie sighed. “I told you I don’t want to be a salesperson. I can’t even help customers at Target.”
“You just need to step up and get motivated. You have a college degree and you make no money.”
“A bachelor’s in history isn’t worth much.”
“It is here. I make great money. I know you wanted to find a job at a museum or something, but it’s time to grow up. Life doesn’t always work out the way we want.”
“I know. I just think I’m too introverted to sell. I’ll start sending out resumes again. I have Monday off.”
“Come in to Foster Reeves Monday and fill out an application. I’ll teach you some sales techniques. I’m not taking ‘no’ for an answer.”
“Okay,” Maggie said meekly.
“Great,” Owen said, moving closer to her. “You’ll see that I’m right.”
He began kissing her neck and she pulled away.
“Babe, I don’t really feel like it tonight. I’m sorry.”
He pulled her to him. “Just relax,” he told her and started kissing her again.
“Honey- ” she began, but he covered her mouth with his own.
On Sunday night, Dawn knocked on Maggie’s bedroom door.
“Hold on,” Maggie said as she rushed to the door, but she wasn’t quick enough for Dawn.
“Holy hell, Mags,” Dawn said. “Too busy to clean?”
“I know,” Maggie said, “I’m sorry. I know it’s a mess, but I don’t seem to have the energy to clean.
“Let’s go to the livingroom. I have some news.”
Maggie took a seat on the chair as Dawn held up her left hand. There was a new diamond ring on it.
After a moment, Maggie said “Congratulations. When did this happen?”
“He did it over dinner at that little Bistro on Pine. I cried.”
“I’m so happy for you,” Maggie said, trying to sound sincere.
“Thank you. You could be next.”
“Oh, I don’t know about that,” Maggie shrugged.
“Well, I spoke to Owen,” Dawn said as Maggie’s body tensed, “and he said you can move in with him. I’ll be moving in with Mike next weekend so we can start saving money for the wedding.”
“Next weekend? When did you talk to Owen?”
“I called him this morning. He said you’re going to take a job at Foster Reeves. It’s all working out.”
“I guess so,” Maggie said.
“Will you be a bridesmaid?”
“Of course,” Maggie said standing. “I’d be honored.” The women hugged and Maggie returned to her room.
She sat quietly for over an hour. Then she retrieved a bottle from her nightstand and poured the contents out. She stared at them for a long time.
“Fuck ‘em all,” she said picking up the pills. She put them back in the bottle and picked up her phone.
“Hello,” Owen said.
“I need to see you,” she told him.
“You do?” he responded suggestively.
“It’s not like that,” Maggie said. “We need to talk.”
“Oh yeah, we can move you in next week.”
“I don’t want to move in.”
“I want to break up.”
“What? What the fuck, Maggie?”
“I’m going back to Minnesota.”
“You hate Minnesota. Why would you throw this away?”
“I’m not happy.”
“So you’re leaving? Take this job, move in with me and you’ll be happier.”
“No I won’t. I’m going back to Minnesota. Have a good life.”
As she pressed “end” on her phone, she smiled. She took her suitcase out of the closet and started packing.