Footprints

Footbridge
Image Source: Panoramio

Again. Again, again, AGAIN. Jesus, why?!?

Dwight Fisk stopped by the footbridge over the pond in the Boston Public Garden and stared back at the behemoth John Hancock tower, where, up until an hour ago, he worked. The winter night was sharp, the kind of cold that caused exposed ears and cheeks to burn and noses to run. Low clouds hung in gauzy puffs, catching and refracting streetlights and the lights of Back Bay. The sound of traffic was muted, the park peaceful and silent save for the excited shouts of the gainfully employed heading for Friday night dinners, drinks and merriment. Even 24 hours earlier, it would have been a beautiful night. But not now.

He played the words over and over in his head: “We don’t tell our ‘employment specialists’ when the last day of an assignment is, because we don’t want our clients to see a drop in productivity.” That’s what Kaitlyn, Dwight’s rep at Office Pros Staffing, had said when he went in after work to pick up his check. Translation: “Oh by the way your temp job is over, tough shit and our client thanks you for not screwing off today.”

She was probably 24, probably grew up in Concord or Lexington, probably straight out of the theater or broadcasting program at Emerson and definitely rising on her career arc. Dwight hated when Kaitlyn was in the office, hated being at least five years older and still temping, hated always feeling like a piss-ant seeing her Talbot’s wardrobe and pictures of her and her boyfriend on the Cape all over her desk. And now she, of all people, was telling him that his assignment was suddenly done and to check back in on Monday for another assignment. Thanks for the memories, and MAYbe we’ll have another crap temp job that may end unexpectedly for you next week.

Dwight was doing data entry for a chain of retirement homes for a stinking nine bucks an hour. His supervisor, Rocco De Nizo, was a total rock-head: pudgy, mostly bald in his late ‘30s with a permanent ring of Doritos and fruit punch Gatorade around his lips like an adolescent on steroids. And the son of a bitch knew all day that the assignment was ending.

Yet THESE two are going back to work on Monday. Why? What the hell do THEY have that I don’t?

And WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?!?

This had been Dwight’s third job this year, and who knew if he’d have anything for Christmas in three weeks. Who knew if he’d ever get anywhere? He climbed to the top of the footbridge, stared back at the towers, stared ahead to the illuminated spire of Park Street Church and the glimmer of the Financial District. He looked at all the footprints in the snow and thought of how they all separated and spread out away from him. Ahead of him. All ahead of him…

Kaitlyn was probably meeting her boyfriend and heading over to Legal Sea Foods or Skipjack’s for dinner. Rocco was probably heading for a good gorging at The Hilltop Steakhouse on Rt. 1. Two more footprints heading away from him, just like all the rest. Dwight continued on, the idea of dipping slightly into his final paycheck for a few books, CDs and Tex-Mex and many drinks at Quincy Market suddenly driving him on against the cold and bitter night. He found a pair of footprints on the path and followed them for
a bit, hoping they led somewhere good, away and ahead. Just in case…

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10 comments
  1. I felt like I was right there…

    • Me too. *grin*

  2. Love. I know how deep you must have dug down for this one. Good for you.

    • Write what you know, right?

      There were many Kaitlyn’s during those days, but the staffing agent that explained their last-day-of-assignment policy was actually a rather daft, overmatched grandmother type. Eveytime I was in the office gran’ma would get tongue-lashed by a co-worker, an absolute brute of a woman. Probably 6′ 1″, the same ’80s metal haircut since she was in high school fifteen years earlier, face and neck withering from too much eyeliner, tanning and nicotine and a halo of CVS perfume. Poor gran’ma…

  3. truly ‘spherical story!! I got caught.

    …and got reminded of the choir’s “say goodbye to neverland” ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWKjja3_UPw ). I think there are some interesting similarities…(?)

    No you can’t go back
    Or defy the clock
    Brace your mind for impact
    Let your soul absorb the shock
    It’s a turbulent
    Unfamiliar atmosphere
    Footprints in the garden
    You’re not the first one here

    No, you don’t have wings
    That was just pretend
    Blistered feet keep moving
    Give your spirit to the wind
    Mournful chimes ring true
    Still a hopeful song resounds
    Way down deep inside you
    You can hear it even now

    Breath in, breath out
    Heart don’t fail
    Embrace the moment
    Shadow of doubt
    Never prevail
    Alas, you know it

    Now he’s at your door
    There’s no place to hide
    Pay the tax colector
    ‘Cause he won’t be denied
    No, you can’t return
    To a world of innocence
    Think of all you have learned
    Time to take your medicine

    Breath in, breath out
    Heart don’t fail
    Embrace the moment
    Shadow of doubt
    Never prevail
    Alas, you know it

    • Nice! Glad I could take you there.

  4. As always you put the reader right there, wonderfully done.

    • Aww, thanks, friend.

  5. Hi Brian, you have a really nice writing style for sure. I will enjoy reading your blogs from today onward. Btw, if I may suggest, the perhaps 24 years old Kaitlyn would more likely to wear J.Crew clothings instead of Talbot’s. I could be wrong though. Keep up the good work.

    • Hey, thanks so much! I really appreciate your kindness (and fashion tips!). Great to have you here.

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