Eliza took a sip of her coffee. It was just the way she liked it - mild, with a hint of spice. She looked around the small coffee shop. Most of the tables were empty, but there were a few that were occupied. A couple sat at a table staring happily into each other’s eyes. One table had a young teenage girl who was staring out the window. The girl had long red hair and blue-grey eyes. She looked dreamy and peaceful, a blissful smile on her face. It was odd that she would be smiling on such a rainy day. Looking at the girl, Eliza felt a feeling of joy wash over her. She hadn’t felt happy in a long time, and somehow watching this girl who looked so blithe on such a rainy day had cheered her up.
The cars zipped by the window splashing water up on the curb. Cabs went by, people trying to hail them down in the heavy rain. The rain made it hard to see the people running back and forth. The sudden downpour had surprised many people in New York City that morning. They were running with newspapers and umbrellas held over their heads. Joyce took a sip of her latte. Rain always made her smile, she liked the sound it made when it fell. She looked back out the window. One woman caught her eye. The woman was walking quickly and looked like she was in a hurry. The women only had one shoe. It was a black high-heeled boot. She wished she could have a pair of shoes like the woman’s. Her focus back on the woman, Joyce saw that she was almost to the next block hobbling her way. She didn’t understand how someone could walk so fast with only one shoe.
Sal was almost running now. Her meeting started in 15 minutes she hoped it would be enough time for her to get to work and get a new shoe. She was pretty sure that she had an extra pair in her office. She broke into a run taking off her other shoe so she could run faster. She made it to the office with 5 minutes to get upstairs. The meeting’s agenda flashed through her mind. Not wanting to miss the presentation that was happening first, she ran faster. Sal almost tripped on the stairs, but a new employee grabbed her arm and helped her up. She stopped for a moment and asked the man what his name was, forgetting about her meeting.
“Howard,” he answered, “I’m the new Assistant to the Policies Director.”
“Oh, I work with them sometimes. I’m Sal, see you around then.”
“I hope so,” he replied.
Sal continued up the stairs at a quick walk feeling like the simple conversation had lifted the weight of the morning’s, hurry from her shoulders.
He looked over and saw Sal, at least he thought that was her name. It was hard to keep track with so many new faces to learn. People told him that in New York City no one tried to learn everyone’s name in their office, but he felt like he should keep at least one tradition. When he was in Ohio, working in a small office building, he had always known everyone’s name. He was on his way downstairs to pick up a package that had been delivered the day before. He thought it might be a gift for his girlfriend’s birthday. He had gotten it shipped to his office so she wouldn’t see it. He walked over to the mail desk. A old woman was working it. She looked distant and exhausted. He walked up and asked her for his package.
A young man was asking her for his package. Nancy pulled herself out of her memories, chastising herself for dwelling in the past for the fourth time that day.
“I’m sorry, could you repeat that, dear?” She asked the young man.
“Hello, I’m Howard. I’m picking up a package.” She looked behind her and saw a small box with the words, Mr. Howard Marks Assistant to the Policies Director, Room 709 10th floor, printed on one side.
“Howard Marks Assistant to the Policies Director?”
“That’s me,” he replied.
She picked up the box and handed it to the man.
“Thank you,” he said quietly, as he turned and walked away.
A young woman came up and asked for a letter she was expecting. Nancy felt bad telling her that there were no letters for her that day. The young woman’,s face fell.
“Sorry dear, there hasn’t been any mail today. The postman’s late.”
The young woman turned sadly and walked away.
“Wait!” said Nancy, “Someone at the post office called and told me that they were late and would be coming by later with the mail. If you tell me your name I can have them bring whatever you’re expecting up to you when they get here.”
“Heather Malibu, thanks so much.”
“Have a good day, honey.”
He was supposed to send something. He had promised the day he left that he would send something every week. It had been two and she had gotten nothing. Heather hoped that it would come with the rest of the mail later that day. She felt sadness wash over her. It might have something to do with the rain. Rain always made her feel sad and forgotten. She walked quickly into the elevator. She saw an old man walking quickly towards her elevator. As he got closer he waved for her to stop the doors from closing. She stopped the doors. The old man hurried inside. The doors were about to close when he reached out a hand and stopped them from closing.
“You ok, girl?” he asked with a kind smile on his face.
“I- I’m fine.”
“You sure? I should walk up the stairs anyway. Would you like to join me?”
“No thanks, I got to go.”
“Bye then. If you ever need to talk to someone I work on floor 5.”
The man’s kindness made her smile. As the doors closed she wished she had gotten off with him.
When he had been younger he had always been athletic but as he got older he had become inactive. Slowly he began to climb the stairs wheezing as he went. He made it to one landing and then the next. After what felt like an hour he reached his floor. He slowly walked to his cubicle and collapsed into his desk chair.
“Hey Jim, you doing ok?”
He looked up. His old friend Jack was looking down at him with a concerned face.
“Yeah, I’m fine. Walked up the stairs.”
“Alright, see you at lunch?”
“I’ll be there.” Jim smiled and was glad that his friend had reminded him about their plan to go to lunch. He had forgotten.
Jack sometimes worried about his old friend, he forgot things so easily. He walked back to his desk and sat down and began typing his paper on the proper usage of a lawn mower. It was one of his usual how-to papers. He wished he would've gotten a more interesting thing to write about. He was always given the boring, useless topics. He closed his computer and left his cubicle to use the bathroom. He walked past another person he had been working with for the past 20 years. Her name was Lauren and she was the Foreign Relations Director.
She walked by Jack and nodded briskly. They had both been interns at the office at the same time. She had been promoted time and time again, but Jack always chose to stay in the same position he had started in. She had never asked him why; always assuming that it was because he liked the other people he worked with. She walked into the restroom and heard a sniffling sound coming from one of the stalls. She knocked on the stall door the noise was coming from.
“You ok, sugar?” The only response was more sniffling. “It’s all right. Tell me what’s wrong.”
“I lost them.” came a timid voice from the stall door.
“I lost the papers and I wasn’t supposed to I had to deliver them and now they’re gone.” the voice said very quickly without taking a breath.
“It’s ok. We can just print them out again.”
“No! You don’t understand!”
“Come out and I will help you find them.” The door cracked open and two brown eyes came into view. “My name’s Lauren.”
“I’m Claire. Are you sure you can help me?”
“Yes come on let’s go.” Leading Claire, Lauren walked to her office and sat her down. “Now tell me what’s wrong.”
“I was supposed to walk around and deliver papers but I set them down and now I can’t find them. I need special clearance to get more and my boss won’t give it to me.”
“Where are they?”
“Policies for the Workplace, folder 5.”
“I’ll print them and you can deliver them. No one ever needs to know.”
“Ok,” said the girl, “Thank you so much.”
“Anytime. Now get working.” Lauren said, handing Claire the papers.
Feeling gratitude towards Lauren, Claire walked down the stairs, planning to go to Floor 1 first, then work her way back up. She dropped off the first few papers and continued working. She passed another employee who was on his way out of the building. She figured he was on his way to lunch and wished she could leave too.
He arrived at his favorite lunch time spot. It was not too far away from the office. It was a small coffee shop. He liked it because it was never full and always quiet. He saw a woman smiling as she was drinking her coffee. She looked calm. The woman was watching a teenage girl who was looking out the window...