Vegetable

by Sje

I can’t spell thesaurus, and I want to be a writer. I don’t know which way is west. I want to be a journalist. The world is one space to me. A room with many doors and stairs and pieces of wood that have laid in the sun so long they look like bones and places the sun has never looked that are dark and soft and slimy.

We work in very tall buildings, typing on machines and fixing the machines and talking through or to them and talking through or to each other, working working working, so we can get sushi on Friday night and buy special-print American flag napkins for Fourth of July and drink it all and tell our friends how much we love them, for real.

At the top of the tallest building is where I sit and work, in a room with no windows but lots of doors and so many corridors. I get lost six times a day, choose a door and a corridor, end up in my rightful place, coddled in ugly, blue carpet and wood-paneled walls and bright, circular lights that make everything look yellow and old, especially the people.

Osborne shuffles down a hall looking sick, typing on a typewriter, surrounded by sheets of paper that keep a few sentences, eating ham and cheese sandwiches and drinking coffee with whipped cream.

Carla buys Osbourne coffee sometimes. She was mean, at first, and quiet. She wears a wig and looks like a client at a battered women’s shelter. She told me I was quiet – too quiet, she said, to be a journalist, and it made me angry because I knew she was right. She was surprised when I told her I was a Leo. Too quiet, she said. Much more than the others. I was born on a cusp, I said, almost a Virgo. She seemed reassured. Oh ok, she said. Like it makes sense. I saw her later that day crossing the street to Starbucks and we greeted each other warmly, like old friends.