“Matt!” I shout across the cafeteria. It’s the morning so he’s the only one who gets to hear my scratchy morning voice. He’s all smiles as he greets me, going straight for the coffee carafes. I stand at the hot water carafe filling up my tea, “Goood Morning!”

“Good Morning!” His voice jumps when he’s excited. “How are you this fine morning?”

“Goood.” I drawl, sticking my chin out along with my words.

“That’s good.” As often happens I find myself following his adam’s apple as it bobs up and down in time with his small laugh.

Matt has a big laugh and a small laugh. The big laugh goes like this: HA! I guess you could call it a bark, but it’s not a bark, it’s just short and to the point, which is what he is – except when he isn’t. The small laugh is entirely in the back of his throat. But it’s not a throaty laugh, no, no, don’t get me wrong. It’s like a chuckle that just won’t chuck.

His voice is nasally, but it sings along with itself, “I just got finished filming last night, so I’m pretty happy this morning.”

My eyes go wide and I practically jump at him. It’s something I do when I’m excited, “Oh reaaally?! That’s exciting.”

“It is!” He bobs his head up and down in the affirmative while he looks for the sugar. I keep it slightly behind me. I don’t mean to prolong the conversation, but sometimes the little girl in me overrides the woman.

Okay, maybe it’s most of the time, not some of the time.

“Oswalt nearly got the better of me, but I showed him!” He says.

I laugh at him as he waves his fist menacingly in the air. I wave mine with him, furrowing my eyebrows, then mock, “Oswalt, you petty animation, do as I say!”

“Not as I do!” He finishes and we both laugh. Me with my loud laugh and him with his small laugh, “Now, where is the sugar?”

I smile sadly, though keep it to myself. If he looked me in the eyes, he might know. Aw shit, he might just know anyway he’s so damn smart.

“OoOh! It’s right behind me.” I sneakily hand it to him

He grabs it from me with shifty eyes, pauses, then softly says, “Sugar hoarder.”

Providing Matt with a perfect, evil MUHAHAHAHA is one of my favorite things to do.

Because it always makes him laugh.

Both his big laugh and his small laugh. “Oh, Andi!”

I don’t just smile, I beam at him, because that’s all I can ask from him and that’s all he knows he can give me and I just don’t give a damn.

Well I do. But I try very hard not to.

Being in love with a married man never occurred to be in my plans. In fact I always figured it would be one of the last things I’d do. But here we are. Me and Him. Him and Me.

And we always just seem to be side by side.

Well, at work anyway.

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Gerald’s Bad Day: The Morning

It may have been the coffee that caused Gerald to have a bad day.

The morning commute, though he only left five minutes later than he normally would have, took twice as long. The bus he took after the train, came after a half an hour of waiting. The train he took before the bus stood on the rails unmoving for fifteen minutes due to an “unexpected obstacle on the track.”

When he did finally enter his office’s building, the security guard he saw normally had already left his shift. The new security guard, the one who didn’t like him, stood in his place. Getting through a metal detector never took longer.

If he hadn’t had that cup of coffee. Or if he hadn’t let his insomnia get the better of him.

Gerald sighed. Then berated himself for thinking about all the things that go wrong. Positive, he’s supposed to be positive.

The elevator took it’s time going up to the fortieth floor. Each floor it passed a little ding! of approval shot through it. Gerald shook his head, then attempted to crack his back. Hands full, cracking proved impossible.

Finally, the fortieth ding! resounded through the elevator and Gerald got off. Taking a left and then another left he walked past the large wood doors of the other offices. His office sat at the very end. It was the smallest of all the offices.

Setting down his two briefcases, Gerald took out his key ring and shuffled through all his keys. The fifth one he came across he shoved into the lock. The lock remained stubbornly still.

Gerald just stared at the door handle and sighed again.

Leaning his head against the cool wood he took three deep breaths. Then slammed his palms against the door as hard as he could.

A door down the hall opened and a head poked out.

“Gerald?” Tom’s voice echoed down the hall. When silence echoed back, Tom moved half way out of his office. He spoke louder, “Gerald?”

“What?” Gerald mumbled.

“You okay?” Tom asked, gently griping the door frame. He kept his eyes on Gerald’s back.

“Yeah. Sure.” Gerald exhaled loudly, “Fine.”

Tom took the chance to look at the splotchy carpet. “Okay.” He disappeared back into his office.

The click of the door brought Gerald’s head away from his own door. He stared at the chipped wood, taking in each little chip’s escape attempt.

With his two hands he pushed himself away from the door. Closing his eyes, his hands remained on the door propping himself up. He shut his eyes tight enough to see the light show behind his eyelids.

“What am I doing?” He asked aloud.

He pushed himself completely off the door and turned back towards the elevators, though he did not move. Standing still, with his hands at his side Gerald rubbed his middle finger and thumb together. He swallowed deeply.

Walking down the hall with secure steps, the carpet squished beneath his feet. The noise of the carpet penetrated the back of his heels and squirmed it’s way up his legs through his body and into his eyes.

That’s when his headache started.

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