After climbing two medium sized hills of snow and walking step by step on slick black ice with toes freezing up inside her boots, she finally made it home. There was only about an hour left and if it was like any of the hours this week it would also go by super fast, so she picked up her speed. “I’m home!”, she announced and rushed into her room. A new shirt, a name-badge and a new scarf later she walked into the kitchen to grab a bite of whatever food item her eyes caught sight of first. She glanced over at her mother, tired and relaxed with her fingers curled around a cup of tea staring at her daughter’s chaotic and quick ways of getting ready for work. “Why don’t you call in sick or something, or just say the truth? Tell them that it’s too cold out and the roads are blocked by mountains of snow and the cars stuck in them and that you can’t come to work today”. She paused in the dining room to reply back to her mother. That was the first pause she had had since she started plodding in the snow she realised. “I can’t just call in sick Mom, I only get to work over the weekend. Don’t worry! I’ll wrap up nice and warm before going out side okay?”. Her Mom looked at her and sighed, “You don’t have to take the transit. I’ll drop you off to work”.
That put a halt to her chaotic rushing, and when she noticed she had nothing to do, she sat down by her Mom and took a breather. “I don’t get why you just don’t quit. It’s such a lousy job and it only causes you stress!”, her Mom began. She knew this was coming, after the last weekend’s ‘almost froze myself to death waiting for the bus after work’ incident her Mom hadn’t made any remarks or scolding comments, she had to make up for that someday. She couldn’t have chosen a better day. “I like my job Mom, and I need the money for the trip.”, she replied with hopes that the mention of the upcoming trip would put an end to this conversation. But as they say, Mothers can read minds. They know anything and everything. she was on to her, “You have enough saved for the trip stop lying. You should find another job. Most of your old co-workers don’t even work with you anymore, and you’re always complaining about the new ones who never seem to actually work.” “Mom! I like my job. I like the money. I like that it keeps me busy on the weekends or else I’d be sitting at home getting fat on your cooking.” She thought she could lighten the mood with that reply and gradually change the topic but her Mom was not letting that happen, “The store is always dead. You have been there for too long now and been through a lot in that store. It’s time you moved on kiddo. Find a new job, a different type of retail maybe, you like electronics, why not try Best Buy. It’ll be a nice change.” her Mom was so hopeful that it almost made her say yes just to see her tensed brows relax and a smile of relief to light up on her face. She took a minute to think and then braced herself to say the last few lines that would seal the conversation, “I like the fact that I’m the oldest worker there now other than Doloris and most of all, I'm gaining work experience. You know the university likes students who are somewhat independent if not completely independent and don’t rely on their parents for everything.” The topic of University was something no-one argued over too much at her house. ‘You do what you have do to get into University’ was how it went.
There was a silent moment between the two during which all the tiny voices could be heard. The ticking clock, the clicks of her Mom’s ring as she tapped her hand back and forth on the mug. If you listened closely enough, you could even hear the churning sounds from the furnace by their legs. From the kitchen there was the tip tap of the water droplets in the sink. These are the little sounds that we always seem to ignore. The tic-toc, the churning, the taps, the water droplets hitting the stainless steal surface of the sink. These faint sounds are often draped by the loud noises of the TV, computer, people talking, footsteps, cooking. Other sounds that are more significant, hide the little clutters and creaks that we are surrounded by round the clock.
The conversation had ended, and her Mom got up to leave the dining. She went to put on her coat and out the door to warm up the car and clean off the bit of snow that had covered the windows.After her Mom closed the door behind her, she thought of a flood of things she
could have said should have said. It’s not about the money. It never was about the work experience. It’s about the memories. It’s about the day Paige and I started working there, with the excitement of having a job together. It was about the Friday night’s shifts, much like the one I was going to work tonight that are dead and slow, we would sit up on the counter for hours and just talk. It was about the times when we thought we were going to get robbed by the two German men, pacing about the store with no intentions what so ever to buy anything, who ended up leaving when Paige pretended to call the ‘Security Guard she thought was really good looking’. It was little memories like these that I veiled behind significant and more valid reasons like, saving up for a trip and gaining work experience. It was the one little string I could grasp on to that would give me the comfort of remembering the good times spent with her. To know that even though she is not here now, she used to be. She influenced the way this store looks, and the way I handle tough situations at work. Her presence was basically everywhere in my life, but I felt it here more. I felt it in a way that comfort me and I don’t want to give that up.
Getting to work wasn’t hard that night, courtesy of the Mom who dropped her off. It was the getting from one end of the store [the main doors] to the other end [staff room]. Small, medium, large and extra large cardboard boxes were everywhere, and in the corners by the walls were some of the shelves, tables and hooks. There were clothe items folded and numbered stacked up in the boxes. Some boxes were taped shut with a white sheet on the front of them that read: Shipping back to head office: Mississauga, Ontario. Once she made it passed the front doors and inside the store, she saw empty walls and packed boxes all around. It almost looked as if someone had moved in or someone was moving out. In the back room was Doloris, her lovely manager who was instructing a man about where to put the shelves and which warehouse they’re going to. She waited for them to finish their conversation and then asked with somewhat of a dry throat, “Doloris, what’s going on?”. Doloris looked her straight in the eye with a dreary and a sorry and said, “There’s some bad news hun. The company owner had some sort of an argument with the landowner and the store is shutting down.” Doloris swallowed hard after breaking the news to her and then let out a sigh of relief as if she was glad to have had it off her chest now and walked away. She took the news in with a deep breath but not so much a surprised look. The store was having very bad sales for the past months, so it wasn’t surprising to any of the workers that the store was going out of business. Finally. Later that night, Doloris told her as they packed boxes that she had already been offered another job and that she wasn’t upset about leaving this company. She was upset about leaving her. After Paige left them, they had shared many moments of grief, silence, deep and touching conversations that were all coming back as tears in Doloris’ and her eyes. They packed away some of the boxes in silence. Sometimes they would pack and talk about how bad the business was and make sarcastic jokes about the company’s pathetic policies. They would sit and rest for a few minutes and talk about the good times and the bad times the staff members shared. They would never talk about the good times and the bad times they shared. Those conversations were part of the silence.
Another fact about Mothers is that they are always right. The products were being packed away and shipped off to Mississauga, Ontario and it was time for her to pack up her memories: the smiles, laughter, cries, moments of silence, talks, learning, experiencing and much much more that has to be packed away in a box. This was the sort of push a company usually needs to work hard. When a store branch of the company goes out of business because of whatever argument there was with the landowner and how down-the-hill the business was, it’s usually a wake up call to work hard. If one idea isn’t working, move on to the next. It also turned out to be a little push she needed. To move on to something new and detach from this string also, just as she cut off from oh, so many others.
Yours truly sharing a Friday Night’s Tale
Peace and love x =]