Invisible - Part 4

Continued from Part 3: Mooch

Part 4: Margaret

After a solitary lunch at the deli, Margaret makes a quick stop at the Old Corner Bookstore to look in on her friend Milo. Poor guy, he’s wasting away. Her heart breaks for him. His wife died last month, and he’s wearing his grief like a cloak against the winter chill beginning to seep into the old shop.

“Milo, please come visit me on Saturday evening. I have an idea, and I’d like to ask your help.”

Milo gives his best effort at a smile, and replies, “Um, okay. What time?”

“Great. Seven o’clock should do it. I’m sure you know where I live. It’s that old pile at 1420 Emerson Lane. See you then!”

Back in the bank, Margaret stops off in the ladies’ loo to check for the inevitable piece of lettuce stuck in her teeth.  She smooths her unruly hair back into the bun intended to tame it and straightens her suit skirt. Smiling at her image in the mirror, she thinks, pretty soon, I can ditch the suit and let my hair run wild. I will not be the invisible banker lady anymore.

In her office, she turns her attention to the never-ending paperwork on her desk until it’s time for the meeting. As vice president of the bank, she’s convinced that it is she keeping the place afloat. But it's gotten more difficult.

Under one of the stacks of paper, she finds a note that says, “Meeting in the conference room, today 4:00PM.’ It’s signed with her boss’ recognizable signature, an unintelligible scrawl of his initials. What now, she thinks, quickly followed up by whatever. Tomorrow is her last day.

As Margaret walks down the hall, she notes that the double doors to the conference room at the far end of the hall are closed. Odd. While they are normally kept closed, she’d expect them to be opened in anticipation of a meeting. She glances at her watch: 3:57PM. Perhaps she’s the first to arrive.

She opens the door, and the room bursts into applause and cheers. She’s quickly surrounded by her coworkers, all clapping furiously. Smiling, she looks around the room.

The ceiling is festooned with balloons of every color, curly ribbon spiraling down from each one.

The conference table in the center of the room has been transformed into a banquet table. At the left end sits a cake, iced with the words “Congratulations, Margaret!” Down the center, she sees platters of finger sandwiches, cookies, and brownies, the kind she loves best, deep chocolate with nuts. And at the right end, there’s a wine bucket with the foil top of a bottle of champagne poking out. Next to it is a tray of plastic champagne flutes. I guess 30 years at the bank has its rewards, she thinks. I wonder if there's a gold watch...

On the wall opposite the doors hangs a big colorful banner, its fanciful letters spelling out cheery best wishes.

Grinning broadly, Margaret says, “You guys! Now this is my kind of meeting!”

There’s laughter and more applause, and then Josh Lane, the head teller, picks up the champagne and wraps the dripping bottle in a dish towel obviously purloined from the breakroom. “Here, you’re the star of the moment. You do the honors,” he says as he hands the wrapped bottle to Margaret.

She loosens and removes the little metal cage over the cork, then peels off the foil. She wonders if she should show off a little and open the bottle the way that dashing young vintner taught her when she visited the wine caves in le PĂ©rigord in France during her vacation a few years ago. Deciding against it, she positions her thumbs on either side of the cork top, aims at the ceiling, and gives a mighty shove. The cork flies off the top with a loud POP! and makes a direct hit on one of the balloons, which gives an even louder POP!!! Waiting to catch the gushing wine, Josh is at her side, holding the flutes beneath the flow. then passes the glasses to the assembled.

When everyone has a glass, old Henry Ogilvy, the bank's revered president, raises his and says, "To Margaret! I don't know what we'll do without her."

You've got that right, Margaret thinks, but says, Thank you."

“What are you going to do, Margaret?” Henry asks. "Are you planning on a trip?”

“No. I've got a project in mind at home. Come see me,” she says, though she knows they won’t. “You know where to find me. 1420 Emerson Lane.”

To be continued in Part 5


Posted for River of Mnemosyne Challenge No. 11, Muse 4: "1420 Emerson Lane."

1 comment:

Thoughts? I would love to hear from you.