Kim walked definitely into the office building where she'd worked for the past two years. Unwilling to let her losses bother her, she held her head high and walked with purpose. Coworkers stared rudely at her as she walked down the aisle to her assigned office. She smiled sweetly at them as she passed, purposefully ignoring their whispers. Quietly she shut her office door. Answering phones and filling out paperwork wasn't exactly her idea of fun, but it sure got her mind off the happenings of the past two days.
After about an hour of answering phones and trying to remain pleasant despite her mixed up feelings, she heard a knock on her door. Smoothing her knee-length skirt, she answered, "Come in." Her boss, Mr. Haye, popped his chubby face through the now open door.
"Hey, Kim. Can I come in?" He asked softly.
"Sure." She answered politely. He carried his short, fat body into the room and sat down across from her.
"For starters," he began, "I'm really sorry about your loss. I know you loved them very much." The familiar lump began to form in Kim's throat, but she stubbornly pushed it back down.
"Thank you." She said quietly.
"You know, you really don't have to be here right now. We'll manage somehow without you. We all understand." He said quickly.
"No, no. That's okay. Really, I need to be here. I have things to do. And besides, I have bills to pay and stuff." Kim answered earnestly.
"Kim, it'd be paid leave. It won't count as vacation time or anything. I'll pay you to stay home." He smiled at the irony of the statement.
"Mr. Haye, I need to be here, 'cause honestly, I wouldn't know what to do with myself if I were home." Kim said. Mr. Haye sat for a few more minutes, silently. Kim shifted nervously in her seat, hoping for all she was worth, that he wouldn't send her home.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, he sighed deeply and slowly stood up. "Kim, I want you to do what you think is best." He said softly before leaving the room. Kim sighed with relief, glad that she wouldn't have to go home to her empty house.
The rest of the day went smoothly, as Kim went through her regular office duties. When 5:30 pm rolled around, Kim dreaded the thought of returning home. Though it was after hours, she decided to stay and reorganize her desk and book shelves. Eventually she became so focused on what she was doing, that she lost track of time. The sound of a vacuum cleaner brought her out of her daze. She poked her out the door, and noticed the janitor cleaning the hallway.
"What are you doing here?" He asked, surprise written all over his face.
"Oh, you know. Figured I'd have a one-man slumber party," Kim joked. He gave her a queer look, and she retreated into her office once again. She grabbed her jacket and slowly made her way out the double doors to her parked car. Getting in, she started the ignition, and against her better judgment, made her way slowly home.