Window of Opportunity by Irene Wende

I couldn’t keep my big mouth shut. Not after I saw my boss, that moron Dan Brody, pull a slant eye pose after Amy left his office. I had marched right up to him, told him I was reporting him to Human Resources. But when I had gone to Amy, and told her what he had done, she flat out refused to back me up.

“How can you let that imbecile do this to you? Come with me to Personnel. We can-”

“I can’t.”

“Of course you can.”

“Libby, this is my call. I need this job. Another year, when I’ve finished studying, I’ll quit. The company has been good to me, letting me work around my school hours.”

So, I had backed down. Now, Dan was demanding an apology. I mean, who was he kidding? I’d quit before I’d apologize. I couldn’t. Not to that deprecating, self righteous bigot. If only I had taken a photo, I could have gone to HR on my own. Amy didn’t deserve what Brody had done. No one did. She was intelligent and kind, always asked how things were going. But Dan. Dan was a little, little man. Like those kids in school who had called me Bucky. Those things, they stay inside you, even if you can change them. Eventually, I got my teeth fixed, but inside I was still Bucky.

So now I was barricaded in my office, notepad in front of me, ready to write my resignation letter. I start. Two minutes later I tear it up and throw it onto the floor. I had to get the right words. I pull at the elastic band around my wrist. Snap, release, snap, release. The sound cracking the air. I pick up my pen, try again. When Amy walks in, the floor is littered with paper.

“Libby, we need to talk.” She pulls a chair up close, sits down. “We’ve worked together for three years. You are a good friend and colleague but please don’t do this. You donÕt need to defend me.”

“What he did was despicable.”

“Do you really think that was the first time?”

“What do you mean? He’s does it all the time? How do you put up with him?”

“Behind his back, I call him the white boy.”

I laugh. I can’t help it. Justice did come in all forms. But it wasn’t enough.

“So, will you apologize?”

Would I? I smile back at her. “No.”

“No? Libby, please don’t ruin it for yourself.”

I look behind her. The bastard was watching us; leaning back in his chair, his tiny hands clasped behind his head like he was thinking. Impossible with that pint sized brain of his. I angle my chair so I didnÕt have to see him. “Amy, are you sure? This is what you want?”

“Yes.”

I sigh again. “Okay. But not until tonight.”

“Why not now?”

“Let him stew a bit.”

“Can I tell him that you will?”

“Sure. Just say I’m being difficult and will come round.”

Amy stands up, presses my hand. As she passes Dan’s office, I see her give him a slight nod. I sit up in my chair. Did he just wink at her? Damn it, where was my iPhone? Buried somewhere under my friggin’ paper. The room was getting warm. I turn around to close the blinds and stop. For some reason today I see all the streaks and smudges on the window. When was the last time someone had cleaned it? Needing something to do, I grab an old newspaper and start to wipe down the glass. Across from me, all kinds of advertising signs are flashing. I stop. An idea forming in my head. I sit down, think it through. God, it was tempting. Pulling up the cuff on my blouse, I check my watch. I couldn’t do anything until Dan went on his break in two hours.

Four o’clock finally rolls around. I pick up my box filled with my personal stuff, stop at the door and take one last look around. Payback time. I stroll down the corridor, wave goodbye to everyone and tell them there’s something for them in my office. I stall any attempts to talk and commiserate about Dan and the job and head for the elevator. I’ve got five minutes to get out before Dan returns.

In the elevator, I think of all the things my colleagues will say when they see what I did. It feels good. I start singing a little tune. The door opens and there’s Dan. Damn. He steps inside and looks at the box in my arms. “Where do you think you’re going?” Then, “Aren’t you forgetting something?”

I smile. “Not at all. Your apology is in my office.” It was all about timing. When he got back to the third floor, everyone would be in my office. The good thing about glass is that it’s so transparent. Hard to hide things. And just in case the prick decides to stop me, I slide my hand inside my box, put my fingers around the letter opener stashed underneath some paper. If I have to, I’ll stab him in the hand. The guy was a cretin and he wasn’t going to get away with what he had done. Apology, smology. I left him one, all right. I hope Amy likes it.

Ahead, I can see the entrance door, the late afternoon sun shining onto the marble floor, like a beacon. I’m glad I decided not to leave an official letter. When everyone walks into my office, it won’t be the sun’s reflection they’ll see; it’ll be the big letters I had scrawled over my glass window with my cherry red lipstick: Dan Brody! Kiss my ass!

I tap my pocket where I had stowed my iPhone. Maybe I’d post the photo I had taken on Youtube. Maybe it’ll go viral. I think I’ll tag it “WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY.”

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