Creative Non Fiction, Untitled

I don’t know why I checked my voicemail during work; I was diligent, my phone stayed off and in my bag. But that day I was desperate to check it. I excused myself from from copyediting copyright pages (my only job as an intern) and ran down the hall to the bathroom. Still silenced, I pressed the number 1 on my phone and held it down until it dialed my voicemailbox.
“You have one new message. Press 1 to hear your new messages.”
I drew a breath and it echoed in the large office bathroom. A foot shuffled in one of the stalls.
“Hello, Katherine, this is X with Random House. It was really nice to meet you and we’d love to welcome you aboard. Please call me back to discuss the particulars.”
I pressed 9 to save the message, as my voicemailbox narrator suggested. I checked the time: 4:35. Twenty five minutes. I would twenty five wonderful, intimidating minutes, but it was mine. Editorial Assistant at Random House. The hallway beamed from my glowing smile as I passed Brie’s desk on the way back to my corner. Sure, she got to intern with Arthur, and edit pages of Harry Potter (a book she had never heard of), while I was stuck copyediting copyright pages, but I was offered a job at Random House. I would be a hip writer. I would work in Manhattan. I would work late some nights, sure, but I would to bars and restaurants with agents, editors and authors. I had arrived.
At 4:58 I was on the elevator. I didn’t even look at the book bin, filled with new printing of children’s book, free to any one who happened to pass it. As soon my feet hit the street, I turned a hard left, avoiding the sunglass sellers, and walked into Kate’s Paperie. It was the perfect place to make this phone call, quiet and filled with inspiring papers. I dialed the number I had written in my notebook more than a week ago.
“This is X.”
“Hi, it’s Katherine Lupo; you called.”
“Yes, so happy you called….”
I listened eagerly for the details of my glamorous job but instead I heard a lot of words that didn’t make sense and some that stuck out like a knife, hot from being in the dishwasher; twenty six thousand, 12 hours a day, weekends. The lights seemed to get brighter in the paper shop, which suddenly smelled of that glue that kept old books from falling apart.
“Wow, thanks,” I said from a voice I could not recognize, “I’ll let you know in a couple of days.” I had been prepared to say “yes, of course, see you Monday!” but something like reason and disappointment snuck up on me. I couldn’t say yes to that. I had to think about that. Math. I had to do math. Numbers came into my head – bus pass - $200/month. Rent - $400/month. Numbers numbers numbers. The ½ hour bus ride to New Jersey was a torture device of numbers dripping into my head cruelly, slowly, killing the self I had just met a few hours before.
I would have to choose. I didn’t have to do the math. I knew. Publishing or writing. The door to the apartment was open; my roommate was still alive, but hadn’t moved from the floor of his bedroom.
Everything was wrong. I couldn’t… I wanted to be a writer. I was a writer and the apartment, halfway between the city and home made the decision for me. There was no decision. I’m moving home, I told him, still lying on the floor.


Kat said...

great story honey! i want more!