Friday, September 5, 2008

Proving Santa Exists by Victora Blisse

"Have you seen the new guy yet, Jenny?" Susan from Accounts giggles, as she joins me in the queue to use the coffee machine.

"Oh, yes. He's just by the door, a couple of cubicles up from me," I reply, not wanting to say too much to the office gossip generator.

"He's from America, you know? Transferred over from the Texas branch." Susan beams proudly all over her thin, narrow-nosed face as she offers me this well-nibbled bone of information.

"Really?" The tone of my voice is a verbal pat on the head. "I didn't know that!" I did, actually, but there's no use upsetting her. I can't bear to see the disappointment in her eyes.

"Well, yes. I wonder why he ended up all the way over here, in cold, wet Manchester and so close to Christmas, too?" Her eyes float off, a wistful hint to their blueness. I know she's hoping for a drop of juicy gossip from her out loud wonderings. I shrug, then slip my silver coins into the machine, select tea, milk, no sugar, and wait for the appliance to do its business.

"Do you think he's been demoted--like, big time demoted--or he's pissed off the boss and has been deported to this God forsaken place?" She's desperate for more gossip to spread, but even if I did know something, I'd not tell her.

I shake my head as I pick up my tea. "Maybe he just wanted to see England. Who knows?"

Susan sighs, shakes her head, and wanders off to find riper pastures. She's probably not even thought to talk to the new guy. No, she might be in danger of finding out the mundane truth that way. I walk past the new guy's cubicle on my way back to mine, and I smile at him.

"Hiya." I stop for a moment, and he looks up from his monitor.

"Hi!" he replies, smiling nervously.

"I'm Jenny. I'm in the cubicle just over there." I point diagonally over to my little square of space. "You can just see the back of the monitor from here, and the tinsel that surrounds it. You've probably seen my elbow at some point this morning, at least."

He chuckles, his cheeks flushing soft pink and his dark, coffee bean eyes shining. "I probably have," he replies, his deep American accent very apparent. "Oh, my name's Jonathan. Nice to meet you, Jenny." His hand reaches out and I clasp it. His fingers are thick and strong but soft. We grip hands for a second, then pull apart.

"So, is this your first day at Computers, Incorporated?" I ask, and he nods his head.

"Well, this one anyway. I was at the Texas branch for--what?--six years before moving over here."

"Do you like rain then?" I giggle, and he looks kind of confused--very politely confused, mind--his thick lips holding a tentative smile and his cheeks pinking up further. "It rains a lot in Manchester. People often make jokes about it. That was a lame attempt at humour."

"Oh, I see." His eyes light up, and I'm rewarded with some more of his rolling chuckles. "I wanted a change, really." His face settles into a more serious a shape. "And I've always wanted to see England. So, when this IT position came up, I took it. I mean, why not, huh?"

I smile, nodding my head, then taking a sip of my just warm tea. "Has your family come over with you then?"

"No. Well, I've got no family really. I'm an orphan."

"Oh, gees. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to pry."

"Don't worry," his hand waves in front of his face. "I know you were just making small talk. No, don't worry. Don't worry yourself at all."

"Okay, then." I grin and he grins back, his smile lighting up his whole countenance. "You'll find that we British folks are very polite. Oh, yes, we hate to be seen prying into someone's personal business. We're too dignified for any of that nonsense."

This time he picks up on the joke, and laughs. "I'm used to it. Everyone gets a bit flustered when I first tell them. I've just found it better to be up front with it, y'know?"

I nod vigorously, then notice the time on the office clock. "Blimey! I'm sorry Jonathan, but I'm going to have to get back to work. The damn boss seems to think that's what I'm here for!"

He chuckles once more. "Oh, I know. Damn strange, ain't it?"

I nod, my green eyes sparkling with mischief. "What lunch shift are you on?" I ask as I turn to walk away.

"One o'clock." he replies, and I stop and turn to address him once more.

"Oh, so am I. I'll see you then, then." I answer awkwardly, and he nods.

"See you later."

Yes, Jonathan is a lovely chap: funny, polite, interesting, and damned good looking, too. His eyes! Boy, oh, boy, they're beautiful, and those lashes so thick and luscious. Many women will be jealous of them, that's for sure.

Anyhow, I can't afford a crush right now, and I know he'd not be interested in me like that anyway. No one ever is. I'm Jolly Jennifer, everybody's friend; no one's lover. I'm pretty short, plump, and have a well-developed mothering instinct. I take care of people: keep them smiling, encourage them, and help make them laugh. That's all. No use dwelling on the situation. I could sit here and mope about it all day and all night, but why? There's nothing I can do to change the fact. I'll just get on with being friends with him.

He's on his own, and it's very nearly Christmas. It's a terrible time of the year to feel lonely. I know, because I do everything in my power every Christmas to keep busy, surround myself with people, and attempt to forget how lonely my life actually is. It works to an extent, but I have to go to bed each night in an empty house, and it's then the loneliness really hits me.