Nnedi looked at the origami strung up across the little cubicle she occupied at work; she had an absent look in her eyes. She had been at this job where nothing more had been asked of her for the past five years. It had been exciting at first, being within a one-mile radius of all those big-shot corporate lawyers, and she once lived for those moments when one of them deigned to ask something paralegal of her. But now she was stuck in a job that wouldn’t afford her enough time to finish up her law degree and yet sought to smother her in mind-numbing repetitive tasks. She tried to brighten her workplace—here with the origami, whose grace mocked her drab reality; and there with pictures of her family, her rock. She stroked their printed faces, a sad smile slightly upturning the sides of her mouth.
It was past 7pm and the offices were deserted. The day’s work was done. As she gathered her things, her thoughts wandered to Paul, the security man. He seemed so insignificant compared to the tons of ‘important’ people that walked past his station at the building’s entrance, but he had no idea how much of a comfort his presence was to her. She often left the offices late trying to get everything set for the attorneys-at-law the next day, and his being there allowed her so much peace.
Her heels stepped into a steady rhythm with the linoleum floor as she walked past him with a broad smile and a ‘Goodnight, Paul’. He returned the smile with a slight bow and watched as she walked to the bus stop; her smile tapered off as she joined the night rush. She managed to slither into the last seat in one of the buses and as it pulled away from the curb, she tried to get settled in.
Her thoughts drifted to her modest apartment—modest and cold and bland. A tear escaped as she gently closed her eyes, a tribute to the sad boring life she swore she’d never settle for.