Encouraging words coming from an eight year old I thought to myself. An eight year old. Sitting at my desk at work oxford shirt complete with black slacks and dress shoes to fulfill the formal attire. It was bring your kids to work day and the investment bureau I worked for went all out for the children, setting up activities and full-tours of our workplace. I was the quiet observer of all of these things happening at some distance, "Pretty good turnout huh Robert?" one of my colleagues said to me pulling my body into the flow of the events taking place, because that's how I was, my body would be present but mind always in critical thinking mode on its little vacation off the coast of Madagascar, playing golf. “Yeah real good" I replied. "victor we need you to help us with piggy back rides the rest of us our getting exhausted" Susan, my supervisor, said joining in on our little conversation I despised her because she always stayed on my a** about s*** she wasn't telling anyone else to do. Of course I never showed this mental anonymity towards her directly but yeah you get the point. "Alright, but wait have you met Robert?" Victor said. " um... oh I think I have hi there nice to meet me Robert" shaking my hand as if we had just met which would have fit except it didn't she had known me for 4 months but didn't want to come off as a supervisor being too close to a worker, don't worry you don't.. Susan. " alright Robert see you a little later" victor said walking away from me with Susan back to the piggy back ride game they were playing, " yep" I replied casually. that small talk I had made just now with the two of them was distant from me because all I was thinking about was the eight year old I was assigned to today.yeah that's right I am a single middle aged man that is still a virgin and not married therefore cannot bring my own child to work but assigned a child. Yes, I am stuck in my own s***. Firstly because I am afraid of commitment and if I slept with a woman and she bored a child many months after he would be called a "bas****". returning from this depressing digression I would give this kid the tour of my building and my cubicle that I am very proud of, and after about two hours the kids would reunite with their parents to play games in the party room (our conference room) we have prepared for them complete with all kinds of games, refreshments, and snacks they can enjoy. The kids name was Eric he was eight years old, and ironically Susan's child. Since she had two kids one girl the other boy she decided to give me Eric, if she didn't I probably wouldn't have came into work today, in fact all I planned to do when I came in was punch in some numbers representing the amounts of a few investments made by small business owners on my cute little pocket calculator, convert them into Microsoft excel where I can then add them all up and subtract them from the value of the bonds made by the corporate bosses so she can see if the amount passes our budget or not (all of these calculations are done by me personally for she relies on me heavily to do all the math computations), and be on my way but she caught me and lent me a partner. Sweet woman, it's not like I'm the most boring person in the world that punches in numbers all day, for you! And plays golf on the weekends. (That's why I was so ready to go because it was Friday and she wanted to keep me prisoner at work)So the beginning of my day with Eric went smoothly, “so what does that number represent?" I asked him overly excited- like “the tax payers money" he said slightly interested. Smart kid I thought to myself, a half hour through our tour and he already knows half the stuff I do. He takes after his know-it-all mother quite well I snickered. Earlier we had started outside the building and as Susan's child looked up at its structure thoughtfully the glass windows reflecting the gray overcast-ed sky of autumn he replied “this building has to be about 135 feet in height". "Close" I said and decided not to finish because even I didn't know the answer and didn't want to be embarrassed if I gave him a dishonest one. "so how tall is it exactly Mr. Robert" he said profoundly, " so how's about we head in Eric it's getting a little chilly out here I wouldn't want your mother getting mad at me because you caught a cold". He agreed and I motioned for him to enter, when we both were inside we were immediately greeted with warm air and a receptionist I knew well, her desk a little ways in front of us across the black marbled floor. Eric's mind was in a frenzy I can tell his eyes wandered all over the place first at the water fountain to our left a little play wooden bridge leading too it in which he ran across and I followed close behind " look at the colorful water Mr. Robert doesn't it look so inviting?", " yes it does, the water changes every five seconds to another color, see" we both watched the colors of the water pouring out of the spouts of the fountain statue silently. Strange, this time viewing the water I didn't see it as a normal old dumb fountain I pass every morning anymore. Instead I saw it as Eric did, a unique piece of art that you get drawn into until you lose yourself entirely. Mystified I began to question if any of my workers looked at this fountain the way the two of us were- “Mr. Robert what is that on the ceiling!" Eric asked absorbed into another thing, I chuckling the attention span of children I swear " those are constellations named after Greek gods of mythology who lived long, long ago" "were they real?", don't crush his spirits my conscious whispered to me " Yeah of course they are, well not too long ago I used to go to the Coliseum and see Hercules perform great acts of strength for the audience's enjoyment" here we both laughed for different reasons though, even the receptionist Ms. Tammy snickering off in the distance we exchange a brief glance. "Hey come here Eric I want to show you something neat" I led him to our elevator, for I work on the thirtieth floor and the elevator in our building is similar to those at the mall, see through glass type that I believe Eric would enjoy riding very much. He ran to it very quickly, already inside he said " come on Mr. Robert let's blast off!” I laughed he must think this is a rocket and we are astronauts very well I complied with his fantasy "well you can't take off without your space commander now can you?" I replied impersonating an actual space commander, a voice I didn't even know I could do. "Noo!" he said and I allowed him to press the button 30 and we were ascending slowly. We watched as Tammy the receptionist shrunk in size as we climbed higher and higher in height Eric decided to wave good bye to her, and she waved back. We were about halfway there and I began making sound effect noises of a space rocket taking off and he spun around very quickly not knowing where it came from and I shrugged as I stopped making the noise. “Mr. Robert you’re not doing it right it's like this...BBRRRRROOOOOORRRRR" he made a rocket noise of his own that in my opinion think was better than mine so I clapped for him as we both laughed and made noises together. We continued as the elevator doors opened at the twenty second floor and Eric and I slowly turned to see the confused faces of the workers inquiring to enter at this floor, but Eric pushed the close door button in their faces to their dismay. Here it was my turn to laugh truthfully, which I did “Haha, nice one Eric we were almost doomed but you saved us from those space invaders!" I high fived him as we arrived at our floor and we hopped off strolling down the long, unobstructed corridor leading to my desk. Here I showed him how I communicate with my clients he said "can you also order pizza with that phone?" "You won't have to there is going to be a big party prepared especially for you in that room over there" I pointed to the room labeled: Conference Room a fair distance away. he nodded, displaying patience that even though he could go for food, and stuff he was willing to wait until the appropriated time to do so, I admired his obedience maybe instead of groaning when Susan gave me work I could simply nod and say "yes maim" maybe then she will see my revealing virtue as I have just now seen in her imaginative little one, or still ignore it either one the main point is that your being true to yourself and that's what makes all of the diff- " Mr. Robert can I ask you a question" Eric requested pulling me out of my thought lounge " fire away my brave space cadet" keeping the sanctity of our space cognitional unhindered " where is your fun?, do you actually enjoy doing the work you are given?". I think this is now the second question he has asked me I wasn't able to answer adequately. What am I supposed to tell this child? No Eric this is a s*** job, but this also is a s*** world so suck it up and face the music. course not it would ruin the nature of his being, a innocent little child eyes now open to the reality that is a working adolescent, I don't have permission to spread napalm over his sacred forest of innocence. “Yes Eric I do have fun" I assured him. No you don't my conscience, supporting me before, argued with me now “especially when your mom assigns me work to do! Have I told you she is my supervisor?" you sicken me my conscious said disparagingly toward me claiming I have definitely taken leave of my senses. “No you didn't Mr. Robert, is she treating you alright?” I could ask him the same question seeing as how she treats me so bad " just fine, splendid actually!" I said convincing myself at the very slightest. “good, because well I have always wanted a dad." he said with a lowly heart feel, my own heart began to sink. I felt compassion for Eric so I questioned “what happened to your dad?" "House fire" he answered. "oh" I answered back, I haven't lost anyone close to me like that not even my grandmother how will I relate " guess where he is Eric?" I said trying to uplift his now down mood because I probably brought back bad memories for him "where?" he replies, "well remember those constellations on the ceiling we were taken by some time ago?" I start, "yes I do remember those stars how beautiful they are Mr. Robert!" Eric says "well in that beautiful place lies your father and one day you will be reunited with him again." I said touching his shoulder comfortingly, “you really think so Mr. Robert?" Eric said thoughtfully. "I know so" I replied. The doors to the Conference room where now open and children began to run in to enjoy the refreshments and party games. “Mr. Robert?" Eric asked, “yes" I replied. "Can I call you.... dad?" he questioned with true eyes, innocent as and angels. I felt a tear being produced “sure you can" I confirmed. Eric shook my hand and thanked me for giving a tour of my workplace and spending the day with him, he half- ran to the Conference Room eager to join the others in play when he stopped and turned around running back to my disbelief gave me a great big hug almost sending me out of my chair, and said " don't look down when you’re having a bad day, just look up and there you will see those beautiful constellations you've told me so much about. And.... I love you dad". And ran off to the party. I sat there in my chair watching as Susan's son ran off out of sight into the loud bedlam of merriment that was coming from the party room. “Pretty good turnout huh Robert" victor said approaching me “yeah real good" I replied. Encouraging words from an eight year old, here Susan interrupted our dialogue while eyeing me as I eyed her.
The child I never had
October 29, 2011