In the Bathroom,
Minerva washed her dry hands slowly. She turned each palm over carefully to watch water run along her wrists making her olive skin red. Minerva watched her face. She noticed the small crumbs stuck to her lip-glossed bottom lip and sighed. She moved her face in closer to the mirror by arching the heels of her feet. If she had brought her lip-gloss to the bathroom she could have just wiped it off and started over. But she lacked foresight.
By the time Minerva got the crumbs off her lips the steam from the faucet and her hot breath close to the mirror had fogged the glass. She was excited, and felt like expressing herself. Pointing her finger, sharp like a pencil, she drew a giant erect penis with the letters F-U-C-K underneath. Four years of college and a Bachelors in English, but this giant cock was her masterpiece.
Minerva laughed for the first time since she had worked at WWW. But then her knee buckled on the counter she was perched on top of. It cracked into the faucet and she slipped into the sink, soaking her Marshall's black pant suit. Her facial expression was unmoved but her eyes blinked back tears and her knee rang with pain. She slid off the counter and dragged herself over to the hand dryer. Her hand waved unenthusiastically underneath the dryer.
Minerva lowered her head, leaning her shoulder into the wall. She closed her eyes letting heat ease her mind and relax her leg. She propped her ass onto the counter and let her thighs spread out. Her hand still held up the fabric, but the other circled its finger tips around the hot but damp knee, rising slowly. She thought about college. When she lived in the dorms and would watch all the guys drinking in the parking lot. She remembered the late night walks she took with strangers she met in cafeteria. They were dreamy years, full of hope and innocence.
Minerva’s breaths shortened, climax approaching, her fingers and her thighs locked into harmony.
The restroom door pushed open. Fat chubby fingers curled on the doors handle, clenched veins erect. Their hesitation confused Minerva who was otherwise innocent. Eyes darted around the scene and took in the fog, the heat, and the water. Her coworker, Rebbecca shrugged past the door, she sighed and went into the stall.
Minerva slid down from the counter, a little dizzy but otherwise gracefully, and brushed off the wrinkles on her pants. She turned back to the mirror and fixed her lip-gloss. Every day it was the same thing, timed breaks to the bathroom. She always tried to leave her mark, but fog gets wiped away. She laughed, only able to see the tip of the penis. Minerva looked at Rebecca's feet through the stall. She wore ugly black flats. Minerva looked at her own feet, her shoes were no better. Office life, the lack of energy she put into her wardrobe at 6am. No one at the office even mattered to her. These were not the cute boys from college, these were the boring men who lacked ambition.
Her head was hot, a slight migraine. This office was sucking the life from her. She stumbled a little, lost her footing. Even her feet grew indifferent of this place. Every day, the same walk, the same times brakes, the same moments sound tracked by a ticking clock above her head. She fell into her desk chair, defeated. Nothing changed. She didn't even know what she did for this company. Was PR supposed to be telemarketing for press releases? When did she become so fake?
She tapped her pen on the table. The pen had her company logo on it, WWW. Beneath the acronym in italics it read, “Where there’s a Will, there’s a Way”. She thought about who WWW was, if it was one man, or three…William, Wade and Warren might have met back in college rushing for the same fraternity and decided that they better suited a public relations firm. After all, if she thought it, it must be so. But WWW had perched on top of Los Angeles under different names for twenty years. Now it sat, like the city on the hill, over-looking a planned parenthood, a five-star dog hotel, and a relatively clean looking strip club, “The Godfather”. Within the steel walls of the coffin shaped building, past the smog screen ceilings, Minerva slumped in her chair with a group of unenthused workers typing to the rhythm of the clocks.
But the ticking got too loud, and her hands got too clammy. She grabbed a stack of yellow post-its and started to write.
The breeze that pumped into the room was slow, like the ocean.
But it was not the ocean, just the ceiling fans.
The lights flickered, no one noticed.
No one noticed they were inside and not at the sea.
She stuck this post it in the middle of her desktop monitor.
She stopped writing and felt stuck. Leaning back into her pleather ass imprint, she tried to remember where her train of thought was heading, or what inspired it, but the office rug was thick and it made it hard to swing around in the chair.
Minerva finally looked up to find an upturned smile. It had grown within the folds of over-blushed sagging cheeks and two heavy eyelids. Her coworker’s face lowered and her eyes darted. Minerva watched the crow’s feet. The clumped eyeliner. The porous skin and fat chin. Minerva saw through them and into the years of loneliness and superficial depression which shaped Rebbecca’s present. She saw all the children who changed the words of nursery rhymes to include the words “Rebbecca” and “fat”. Minerva saw into the dark nights Rebbecca would spend rehearsing her snaggle-toothed smile in front of her mother’s bathroom mirror while wearing over sized heels and her sister’s push-up bras.
But Rebecca just smiled and nodded to the cart.
“I was saying to, like, go ahead…it’s Happy Cart Day, go ahead, and like…take a Happy Treat!”
Minerva grabbed at the Nature valley bar. Its wrapper crunched into her hands.
She didn't notice how tense she was. The chair turned, with the push of her toes, back to face the bright computer screen. Minerva blinked back tears, the screen was illuminated, so she turned off the monitor and tossed the candy wrapper in the trash. It was getting rather full.