These post-Christmas lights that strobe and gleam over stale front yards, I don’t know whether to appreciate the purposeful distraction or detest them like expired decoration. I think that I like them for some reason, breaking up the drive as they go on singing an old song that lingers through the neighborhoods. The spirit of the season may have gone entirely unnoticed if it hadn’t been for them there – that reminder that it was the holidays, and that it was supposed to be ringing and magical.
And the snow – I don’t mind the snow this time. I don’t mind my tires spinning on broken roads or even the mush as dirt and mud is mixed in with the frozen slush sloughed off in uneven heaps. Every time it falls and the streetlights catch those little while pieces some part of me is appreciative. Yes, this is exactly the feeling. Yes, as cold and as terrible as it seems and as much as everyone will go on about their winter blues. Yes. Cover up what you can and be as frigid as we are inside.
I may be depressed. I may be tired and sad. But I am well aware that as long as I am working very hard, it will end and something else will eventually begin.
Dear Diary, I am starting to change. The more I listen to myself the more it scares me and the stronger I feel. I feel awful. Terrible. I feel like a bad person. I feel like I have failed. I feel like I want to succeed and that my new course will not be well understood by anyone besides myself. I’ve been different for a while now – I know that – but the way that everything has been racing through me is finally saying those heartbreaking, excruciating things that no one wants to hear.
I’ve dared not even write about it. My private spaces are compromised a little more every day – exactly what will destroy me. Exactly what I’ve always wanted to happen.
This was good. This was settling and this was taking care of me. This was more than many people could hope to have in a lifetime. Dear Diary, my heart doesn’t want this, anymore.
There are problems within the system at work. Things that I’m not seeing. I’m good at picking up on the outside opportunist and the unfortunate criminals who try to take something in front of me. But we are losing product and the other day I let something go right out the door.
They called out a man who had picked out a range top of all random things, and paid for some electronic machines. They said that he had his receipt in hand and was good to go – the source, a trustworthy person. And when the cart came up I saw the items and the product that the employee had wrapped in plastic bubbles. I saw over a thousand dollars on the receipt and every sign told me: this is not one of those things you’re looking for. I also noticed that the man’s receipt had a woman’s name listed as the credit holder but I’ve learned that accounts are often shared and husbands and wives carry around shared wallets.
I let him go and the thing they had taken the time to retrieve, wrap and put on the cart had not been paid for. It had been a major oversight. It was one line missing on the receipt. And the credit card was reported stolen a few days later. We incurred several hundred dollars in shrink and it rocked my brain.
Now I have been at the door, looking over every receipt. Matching every model number. Being that security guard, being that bitch who inconveniences the majority of honest people who have folded their papers up and buried them deep inside their purses only to have to fish them out, all the while scowling at me. And every moment I spend doing this is a moment that I am not on the CCTV footage monitoring the salesfloor. It’s a new rhythm, a new balance that I’m working with now. But the numbers are so disappointing – over budget and not even halfway through the fiscal year. Then there are times when leadership is nowhere to be seen, and so many people passing through that working several cameras in one view cannot possibly show me everything that’s going on.
There is no control right now, I think, like a secret I’m keeping from busy workers in fear of how they’d react if they really knew. Sometimes, anything could really happen.
“Autumn, play your music,” William said, as he walked by. He was referring to the fact that I will normally cue up something on LastFM and let it stream loud enough to be heard by people who get close enough to me. It hadn’t been playing one discouraging evening and I thought, you’re right. I should just play my music.
Just play my music.
And then there is the ghost – the one I haven’t written about. I know better. My life’s history of romanticized goodbyes and the pointless, damning rush of my emotions pouring into someone or some thing that could never make me feel as good as the goodness I expel into it. It is a deadly addiction, threatening my own well-being the moment that I cannot sustain my own levitation.
“Ghosts aren’t real.”
“But I believe in you. And you aren’t here anymore.”
It’s fine, though. Worse things have haunted me.