The Window

October 16, 2011 at 8:16 am | Posted in Memoir -- Non-fiction Stories, Other Stories | 12 Comments
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I glance up, turn my head and stare out the window.  But the shadowy figure has disappeared.

It can’t be him.

A translucent curtain hides me from passers-by and reduces them to moving shadows.  The man walks beyond my office door so I relax and resume reading.  A knock.  The door creaks open.  Lou.  Holding a bouquet of red roses.

“For my sweet baby on Valentine’s Day.”

What is he doing?  He knows that Inglewood is a white-only enclave. 

“You’re hidden away.  Almost couldn’t find you.  But I had to bring my sweetheart a gift on Valentine’s Day.”

I’ve never received a Valentine present.  I’ve never received flowers.

I walk to the front of my desk and Lou hands the bouquet to me.  I press my face into the blooms, inhale slowly.

“So this is where you work,” Lou says, looking around.

I normally sit behind an L-shaped secretary’s desk, with the typing arm facing the window and the main section between me and the entrance.  A bank of file cabinets stands between my work area and two unused desks.  Once this district sales office had four employees.  Now only my boss and I remain.

Opposite my work area is an open door leading into my boss’s office.  Lou looks through it.

For just a second his smile falters.

“I thought your boss was back in town.”

“He is, but he’s out for the day.  These are beautiful roses.”

Lou looks directly into my eyes and smiles.

“Nothing’s too good for my baby.  A dozen of the best.  Man they cost me.”

No, they cost me.  I lent Lou $200 yesterday.  But he promised to marry me.   I had him sign an I.O.U. stating that he’ll marry me or pay back the total $350 I’ve loaned him.

I gesture towards a chair in front of an unused desk.  “Why don’t you sit down.  I’ve finished typing my boss’s letters and don’t have any more work.”

“I have to go.  Just came to give my baby a Valentine.  I’m getting ready to go on the road again.  I won’t see you for awhile.”

“But you just got back four weeks ago.  Can’t you get more jobs around L.A.?”

“It’s the life, baby.  Always on the road.  You stay sweet and good while I’m away.”

I nestle my head against his chest.  He gives me a hug and kisses my forehead.  Then he’s gone.

Why did he come to my office?  Did he think he’d get me in trouble?  He doesn’t understand my relationship with my boss.  We talk about everything.  Steve knows about my inter-racial dating, and although he doesn’t approve, he accepts it as an interesting quirk.  We’re so far away from the head office that my private life doesn’t affect the job.  And the job is all Steve is concerned about.

Such beautiful roses.  Why do I doubt Lou’s motives?  I’m his special girlfriend.  The one he took to the “invitation only” pre-release of “The Hustler.”  The one he took to meet his record producer.  I’m pretty.  And Lou likes blonds.

He will marry me, eventually.

Shannon Moeser

Card Accompanying Bouquet

Receipt for First $150

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