The Illustrated Woman
I had seen the office in passing when I applied for the position but today was my first day in it. The manager apologized for the messy disorder and left me to rearrange the area and toss whatever I wanted.
Nobody permanent had worked in this space for almost two years. Temps and interns came and went and Daniel, the illustrator who did the cover for the magazine, came in the last weekend of the month to do some finalizing work and meet with the editor to make sure the visual elements were just right. I had assured them it would be fine for him to continue to use the space going forward.
This building was built decades before I was born and the only offices I’d seen resembling anything like this were in 1930’s movies, a huge wooden desk at the center, behind which sat the cigar chewing boss. The wall with the built in bookcases was well maintained, primarily devoted to back issues, with one of bigger open spaces in the shelves dedicated to an antique Remington typewriter. Gift from the Kennedy’s they said.
A majestic mahogany desk, with parquet inlay and brass pulls, was in fact there, but this one was pushed up against one wall to make room along the other walls for file cabinets, printer, and the glass computer desk where I’d be doing most of my work.
On top of the desk, with a Tiffany lamp resting on one corner, was a worn leather desk pad, inserted into which was a pad of blotter paper. For a while I was captivated by the drawings that blanketed the paper. Beautifully rendered figures in a range of activities — dancing, shoveling snow, standing holding a protest sign. And among the figures, repeated numerous times, the face of a woman, Spanish maybe, with deep shadows around her eyes.
I plowed my way through the drawers, obviously not used by anyone except to dispose of things from the surface; a jumble of clips, rubber bands, yellow pads, batteries, medicine bottles, wires, candy wrappers, calling cards, band-aids, a camera case . . .
Hours flew by and the trash bin got full. Time to take a break and go out to lunch. Back to the delicatessen where I had stopped for breakfast while I was in the neighborhood for my first interview. Perfect bialys.
I decided to skip the counter this time and I waited to be seated at a table. Looking somehow familiar I kept trying to get a better look at the face of the woman leading me towards a table. Of course, those dark eyebrows — the blotter drawings!
As she sat me down I told her about my job and the drawings, and that I was curious who she was.
I’m the manager here. Funny. I got Daniel that job ages ago. I heard about it from a customer and he was always in here drawing on napkins. We’re good friends. That’s sweet about the drawings. Coffee?
Twenty-eight of thirty-one stories — 500 words or less, written one-per-day during December 2018 — The Hunt & Peck Parables PatchWord Quilt™©.
© AleXander Hirka 2019. All Rights Reserved.