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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Good Ones Will Leave You

Julia has given notice.

“Seems unfair, don’t you think?” I say.  “Just taking off like that?”

Julia smiles the secret, internal smile of the recently paroled.  “The instrument that would measure my regret,” she says, “has yet to be invented.  You are on your own.”

This strikes me as a reasonable comment.

“Are you excited?  For the new job?”

“I have to admit,” she says, “that I’m not so much thinking of that as I am of the buffer week I took between the old job and the new one. “

“Mmmm,” I say.  “Delicious, unstructured time.”

Julia stares past me, out the window on the 48th floor.  “It’s weird,” she murmurs.  “I feel like I’m already gone.”

I smile.  “Maybe you are,” I say.  “Maybe this is all a dream.”

“Oooooh,” she says.

“Maybe you should give me all your money,” I say.

“What’s that?”

“Exactly,” I say.

She smiles vaguely, visions of her last day obscuring her vision.  “I’m just having a hard time, you know, focusing.  It’s like –.”

I watch as she stops talking, stares out the window onto the vista of the northwest corner of Minneapolis, a blindingly bright blue and white panorama.

I laugh at her as her smile broadens and she struggles and fails to pull her gaze from the outdoors.

Good ol’ Julia.


She’s already gone.

26 comments:

Indigo Roth said...

What a lovely piece. You're a better writer than me, ma'am x

Shelly said...

Love this. A wonderful piece of writing and persepctive and one I can identify with. I was often told I had that look leading up to my retirement- and then it would segue into, "She's heading for the light!" and, "She's crossing over!" and finally, "She's left this earthly shell."

It truly is an indescribable feeling.

The Chicken's Consigliere said...

Yup, checked out, Sayonara Suckers. There's nothing like a good buffer week. "The instrument that would measure my regret has yet to be invented". I love that. Saving it for future use. It's your legacy, Julia. Your legacy to me, the chicken you don't know who loves your wit.

Jono said...

Aahhh, buffer week. I had one once and it was delightful. Even in the throes of a polar vortex it would be welcomed.

Sioux said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sioux said...

A week off...in Minneapolis? I don't know if that sounds so lovely (said she, who has been snowed in for the last four days).

Geo. said...

That's it! That's the phrase I've been looking for:“Maybe you should give me all your money.” Must learn to use it oftener in conversation.

fishducky said...

Does “Maybe you should give me all your money.” EVER work?

Douglas said...

I got that feeling of Julia's many times over my unremarkable career. I moved often, each time only barely overstaying my welcome. The best part is the warmth of those burning bridges.

Leenie B said...

Upgrading of employment is a nice buzz. It's the beginning of the next job and becoming the clueless newbie that I always hate.

bill lisleman said...

changing jobs was exciting and scary at once.
Most people are gone when they give notice of leaving.

jenny_o said...

Sometimes the leaver is already gone in the minds of those left behind, too :)

Jocelyn said...

I make a concerted effort to have every week feel like a buffer week. That was hella lot easier when I taught all online, of course. Now that I have to go into the classroom sometimes--windowless classrooms, so no dreamy, vacant staring at the sunshine--my strategy is to gaze into my students' shiny, vacant eyes. And, suddenly, I'm whisked away.

Elephant's Child said...

And sometimes buffer weeks become years. Which has a charm of its own...

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
this gives credence to the company saying there's a vacant post... YAM xx

Joanne Noragon said...

Julia's Billy Pilgrim moment. But, she'll be fine.

Delores said...

Just think.....now you get to train in another one.

Juli said...

You know, I understand the purpose of 2 weeks notice, but really... by the time you actually give it haven't you already been "gone" like for a month?

Dawn@Lighten Up! said...

As the rednecks say: "She gone."

The Geezers said...

I do love the glimpses offer these snippets, Pearl. You're the real deal, the rare writer who knows when to leave things unspoken.

After reading this, I spend a good amount of time remember with fondness the people I've worked with over the years. And it was surprising how many remained friends long after they left—some are still in my inner circle 10 or 15 years later.

Perhaps this will be Julia's fate, too.

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

Hopefully, the snow won't block the door entrance when Julia makes her escape.

Daisy said...

I notice you say Julia is a "good one", and regret her going. In a perfect universe the "bad ones" would go and the "good ones" get raises!

Good luck Julie!

Daisy said...

Slip sliding away and off she goes. Good bye and good luck, Julia.

*waving*

HermanTurnip said...

Ah...the good old mental "check out" between the old job and the new. Rare they are, and Julia should hold sacred these few free days...

River said...

I felt exactly the same when I gave notice at the supermarket. For the rest of that month, I just "wasn't there" in mind and spirit.

Linda O'Connell said...

I feel that way every last week of school. Sometimes it starts much earlier :)