General

Permission denied. That's all HR wrote. My hand tightens on the polystyrene coffee cup and I take a sip without even thinking. I keep my elbows tucked in as I pass down the narrow strip of carpet between the cubicles. I surreptitiously let my eyes wander left and right into the private cages of my fellow employees. There are pictures of children, funny mugs, pot plants; anything to humanise the tiny space they occupy for more of the majority of their waking hours. Before I know it my feet have trodden the path to my cube. I'm no different to the others, my son smiles back at me from the walls, my wife too. The spider plant is looking peaky from lack of any real sunlight, but then so am I. The chores of the day resume their carousel in my mind, each chasing the tail of the other. Impossible deadlines and thankless tasks. Then another thought vies for attention. Jacob turns three today. You won't be there. He asked you to be there. The coffee cup crumples, scalding my hand.

By mickyswanson, October 30, 2014.
General

The morning was as old as the coffee on my desk. I tapped it's murky surface to break the thickening skin and watched the new gap grow. The frigid brown drink dripped from my finger, the ripples spreading toward the rim in ever larger circles. I know I'm spoilt, so used to the finest beans, always freshly brewed and served with half-and-half. I still crave a subtle undertone of hazelnut and my cup to be a festive colour with cardboard around it to protect my fingers from the heat. Instead it is this instant muck, served warm in polystyrene - depression served without a smile. It suits this place though, it matches the beige walls and the melamine desks, it's as welcoming as the unguarded strip lights and the worn blue carpet. The only thing alive in here is the ticking clock, I think the rest of us died some time ago.