Across The Waves
Jenny slammed the office filing cabinet shut as the florescent light above flickered above warning her of approaching darkness. A mature lesbian woman in her early forties with lengthy legs and Nordic features, tattoos dotting both sides of her upper arms. Jenny’s tattoos represented a testament to her rebellious youth. Tasteful in design, so not to offend the professional pricks she found herself rallying against daily as her unequal pay chipped away at any hopes for a stable financial foundation. Jenny, a polished graduate of a private, female liberals arts college spent her lifeless hours fending off uninvited advances from the senior members of the personal injury law firm she prostituted herself at five days a week often for twelve hours a day, depending on the severity of the case load which she was assigned.
The smells of wealthy masculinity was torturous. Jenny did find some relief from her mundane duties in the follies of the firm’s semi-retired receptionist/secretary who ate the same thing for lunch every day for the past five years which produced a fresh whiff of canned tuna, as its distinctive odor permeated the office air. Working at a law firm dealing with pretentious, self-absorbed liars was beginning to take its toll on Jenny. Every morning like clockwork the lawyers gathered by the office water cooler at eight-thirty to begin debating the happenings of the latest episode of what Jenny liked to call, ‘straightprogramming’ which dealt with some random character or another and their fucked-up relationships. Jenny was subjected to the work week banter which included a television drama set in a fictitious hospital somewhere along the west coast to which baseball team was in the lead for the National Pennant. Jenny wandered through the law firm halls careful to walk in long strides as she briskly made her way towards the firm entrance. Her hurried thoughts concerning her bad career choice propelled Jenny forcefully out the door onto the sidewalk. At the corner restaurant, Jenny’s lunch consisted of salmon cakes with a spring mixed salad, tastefully washed down with one too many glass of house wine. Jenny knew better not to drink during lunch, but today she needed to escape from the confines of her current reality. A reality that included a crushing amount of student loan debt, coupled with a girlfriend who made online purchasing also look like a competitive sport. Feeling overburdened and underpaid, Jenny found solace in the book stores which dotted the subterranean shopping mall located underneath the office in the high-rise building. Dissatisfied and sleep deprived, shopping offered a momentary release from the tedious doldrums of her soul-sucking day. Mindlessly wracked with episodes of depression the thought of spending money on needless material possessions helped to relax her nervous along with a freshly rolled blunt courtesy of the office building security officer, whose name she could never remember. After the long work week, Jenny spent the weekend in her sunless, overpriced micro-apartment with her best-friend and lover. It was within the darkened walls of Jenny’s self-conceptualized cave where her words came to life as her thoughts and feelings found meaning within the deepest parts of the writing ocean, flooding the blank pages of her composition book with the wave-like strokes of her pen, and where there was once nothing, a rediscovery began to fill the empty parts of her need to succeed and break free from the constraints of an unforgiving society.
The brim of Jenny’s coffee mug barely had time to touch her naturally pink contoured lips when she tensed with flashbacks of the work week. Jenny tried her best to shake the feeling from her exhausted drawn-out frame. Outside, the chilly summer morning’s mist covered her window and the city’s annual heritage parade. The parade participants were lined in formation up and down the freshly paved street as a fine mist rolled upwards towards each participants recently pressed parade day outfits. Jenny took her morning cup of liquid fuel into the living room office, taking a seat on the apartment-sized—made in China—hot pink and black futon which was about as comfortable as an outside garden bench. Jenny could feel her haemorrhoids begin to form as her behind began to go numb. She knew it was useless to move. The futon had her ass, and it wasn’t going to let go, for her need for outside human contact had reached its peak for the week. Part of Jenny resisted the urge to peek out from behind the heavy darkening curtains to see the crowd gathering on the sidewalks with their colorful coolers and matching lawn chairs. For now, her writing pen had won the battle until some small distraction provided a brief respite. Her thoughts consumed the spaces between the lines of the paper as her wisdom came pouring out. A life filled with ups and downs, future concerns melted together on paper forming a chain of change. Jenny heard the marching band playing in the background, glancing-up from her notebook, she drew the curtains ever-so-gently, going unnoticed by the crowd. She caught a glimpse of glistening sunlight as it danced from a brass trombone reflecting restorative hope and a restoration of pride.
Jenny closed the curtains, deciding to hide inside her cave for another day. It was her reclusive way of staying sane in a world on the brink of evolutionary decay. Jenny whispered goodnight as she pulled the curtains tightly together while Tommy Tutone’s song ‘Jenny’ carried her name across the radio waves. She inhaled deep, her eyes began to narrow slightly as mellow relaxation filled her hundred-miles-per-hour brain. Jenny sunk back into the pink and black futon feeling unburdened from life. She exhaled white rings as the goodness released her cluttered thoughts. Jenny closed her eyes, shifting all focus from possibilities to realities as her dreams vibrated to the music playing on her reliable radio.
Bio: Valerie is a perceptive poet and writer living a happy life in Happy Valley Pennsylvania. A native of central Pennsylvania, she received her BA in History from Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, Viriginia.