Within the Emerald Room

January 16, 2018
By MontsePalomino BRONZE, Clarkston, Michigan
MontsePalomino BRONZE, Clarkston, Michigan
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Three weeks into living in the grey city, Matthew had been promoted in his job twice already from factory worker to manager, while Mary continued selling stockings on the Bloomingdale’s ground floor. Their parents beamed with pride as Matthew came home with his paycheck every Friday, Mary followed behind with hers. Matthew began to take night classes in order to be promoted further in his job. When Mary asked to take night classes her parents only laughed, when Mary asked Matthews professor if she could join the class he only laughed. Matthew continuously climbed bringing home a bigger paycheck every three month. Mary always followed behind with the same amount of money as she had been making since she got to the city. She often sat on her bed and stared out her window and thought about her day and how it always seemed like it had they day before. She heard the door open and close, Matthew was home. She could hear her parents ecstatically greet him as he probably made his way to the kitchen table. She began to think of how his paycheck had grown and how hers remained the same. She needed change. The next morning, paycheck in hand she walked up to the office door, prepared to receive that raise that she long deserved. She knocked on her managers door and stepped inside.

From the moment she stepped into the room she was welcomed by the cloud of smoke coming from the almost finished cigar located on his desk. The mahogany wood desk, chairs, and cabinet stood proud and tall battling for attention against the deep emerald green wallpaper. The dim lamp flickered as it struggled to shed light into the dark room. As Mary walked in, the floor groaned under her shoes. She struggled to talk as when she opened her mouth a wave of smoke entered her lungs. Quietly she croaked, “Sir, I had a question I wanted to ask you.”

“Yes Mary, what is your question?” He said without looking up from his papers.

“Well I’ve worked here for almost a year now, and I have not received a raise like many of the other employees here have.”

“That isn’t question that is a statement.”

“Yes, sorry sir, well, I guess my question is why have I not received a raise?”

“Well, Mary, that might be because I know that you have a brother who brings a steady income to your household, meaning I do not need to pay you as much as other employees here because you already have a man who supports the family.”

“Yes, well I don’t believe that that is fair sir. I think-”

“What isn’t fair about it? Your family has enough money why are you asking for more? You see-”

“Well because I work a lot harder than anyone else here.”

“Did you just interrupt me?”

“No sir I only wanted to answer your question.”

“Stop trying to answer my question you’re interrupting me.”

“No sir that isn’t what I meant, I’m sorry.”

“Quit interrupting me and allow me to finish. As I was saying you need to see how I am being a giver, by not rising your paycheck I am able to give more to those employees who actually need it. Now doesn’t that just make me a magnificent person?”

“Yes sir. But-”

“And then you waltz in here and tell me to quit being magnificent and to begin giving more money to you greedy families that have enough.”

“No sir. What I meant was-”

“Quit interrupting.”

“Sorry sir.”

“I will not be giving you a raise do you understand?”

“No but sir-”

“No? What are you an idiot? I just told you why what do you mean you don’t understand”

“No I do understand but I just wanted to-”

“Then you lied to me about understanding what I just said. I don’t tolerate liars in my shop.”

“But sir I wasn’t lying I was only trying to-”

“Are you calling me a liar? Because I know what I heard and you were lying.”

“No sir I would never call you a-”

“Now you’re interrupting again. What is it with you women and not knowing when to keep your mouth shut?”

“I’m sorry sir but-”

“A simple apology will do, no need to explain.”

“Sir I just really want to ask-”

“Again are you an idiot I just told you that I need to hear no more of this, you are dismissed.”

“Please if you could only listen to-”

“I am sick of your stupidity, grab your things and leave.”

“No please I-”


Mary drew in a breath and gave up. She walked out of his office, out of the store, out of the building. Her hands were shaking as she tried to wrap her head around the conversation that had just escalated. She slowly made her way back home in a daze, trying to figure out where she went wrong. What was she going to tell her parents? What would Matthew think of her?   

When she arrived and shared the news Matthew stared in disappointment while her mother began to ramble on how about Mary could finally help around the house. Mary was now to learn new recipes, clean, prepare dinner and search for a man. Her mother beamed with pride as she watched Mary hang the clothes on the roof of the building. At night all Mary could think about was why she wasn’t able to do what Matthew was doing and how she would never be given the chance to do that.

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