My secretary left me for my husband, but still I wore my charcoal Theory suit and Gucci pumps to work Monday because it’s important to keep an image going.
“Sorry about Laura,” Hobson said. “I need a copy of the Canary contract.”
I looked for it in between checking the fourth quarter projections and trying to convince my mother to go over to my house and change all the locks. My feet hurt, so I took off the Guccis and shoved them in a drawer. Laura wasn’t answering her phone. They were probably lounging around in bed all day, assuming I’d support them. It’s true I’m almost too busy to bother hiring a divorce lawyer. Not to mention a tax accountant.
“Maybe I could write them off,” I said to Hobson.
“That’s funny,” he replied with a tight smile. “Have you found the contract yet?”
So, at lunchtime I drove over to Laura’s apartment. It was right at the beach, of course. My husband likes to surf. Second floor. I clomped up the stairs in my Guccis and snagged my stockings on the railing. The air smelled of coconut oil and rotting vegetables. Laura opened the door. She wore a lime green camisole, pink shorts, and turquoise flip-flops with sequins on the straps.
“Oh,” she said. “He isn’t here.”
“No, no,” I reassured her. “I want you. I mean, I need you to tell me where you put the Canary files. Please.”
I didn’t like to beg, but this was business.
Her head tipped back as it does when she’s riffling through the card file in her brain. Laura has a photographic memory, which is one of the reasons she was such a great secretary. I knew then I’d miss her more than I’d miss him. Her sequined feet winked up at me.
“In storage cage twelve,” she said. “Unlabeled. Sorry.” She glanced away.
“It’s okay,” I told her. It really was. I didn’t have time for a husband. Tomorrow I’d hire a new secretary to type up the labels. Everything would be fine.
I clomped back down the steps to my Audi. As I beeped open the door with my electronic key, a seagull pooped on my four hundred dollar shoes.
“That’s when,” I say. “That’s the moment I decided to dump the partnership and open my nude portrait studio.” I wiggle my toes in my ten dollar flip-flops. They’re tan and have little seashells glued to the straps. I swirl my brush around the peach paint and gaze at my subject.
“You do seem much less stressed,” Hobson says as he reaches for the grapes.
“Perfect,” I say. “Stay just like that.”
[from Burnt Offerings]
The Daily Prompt: Label