On the way to her new office, Moira doesn’t realize how she skirts puddles and tiptoes past mere skims of water. If she thought about it, she might say it was normal, that people hurrying to work try not to get soaked. Then she’d rush away, pretending all the while that was her reason.
Raindrops dribble off her raincoat in the lobby. Under her coat, she’s already suffocating. She unzips. Her blouse has some small holes and a pale pit stain, but if she keeps her blazer on, you can’t tell. She’ll wear it all day over fingers of sweat tracing down her back. For someone at a new job after layoffs four months ago, Moira is remarkably impressed she could find her blazer.
At the right office, she twitches her ankle as she waits for her new manager. In the beehive of cubicles, worn tracks against the sturdy carpet dodge around corners and speed past openings. When Trevor, her manager, pulls Moira through to customer service, she remembers what the cubicles remind her of: bunkers.
Customer service is more open, the desks all squished together in pods and rows. “We’re a bit friendlier here,” says Trevor with a laugh. “It’s our job.” Moira’s chuckle is weak. She resolves to do better next time as she drops her purse off at her new desk. Bending down, she digs for her Tupperware lunch and follows Trevor for the office tour, starting with the fridge. In one of the cubicles, a woman in a cobalt pencil skirt is selling insurance with a brusque, but inexplicably convincing voice. The blue of her skirt saturates the colours around it. Moira guesses the woman is about twenty-nine, same as Moira, and wishes she sat by this woman instead of between Linda and Shirley. This woman is on the phone, and as she turns, Moira recognizes the freckled face: Billie.