She said she wanted to “touch the face of God.”  “I wish to learn to meditate and be connected with the supreme being,” she added, giving a little glance up to the ceiling. What a crock of bull.  She didn’t care about touching God’s face.  (What does that mean, anyway?  Was God stuck between the acoustic foam secured to that ceiling?  I glanced up, but He wasn’t there.)  She just wanted people to think she did.  She wanted people to think she saw God.  In a place they couldn’t.  Beyond the acoustic foam, in some heavenly cosmic swirl reserved only for her eyes. 

She wanted recognition.  She needed it for the feeling of significance it gave her.  She had owned plenty of it before she retired, in her position of authority, shuffling papers around a big desk, terrorizing young employees with performance reviews, acting like she understood everything before going home at four-fifty-seven in the afternoon, not knowing what had happened since that morning. 

She retired because it was her entitlement to do so.  She had her pension and her old folks insurance and her gold pen set.  Her newish white Mercedes was always gassed and ready to take her to any airport so she could whisk away on a jetliner in first-class to some Island somewhere. 

But there were lots of retired folks collecting pensions and traveling first class between doctors appointments.  She was just another one of them.  There were no papers to shuffle on the little tray before her, no cowering young people shaking at the knees after yet another bank balance threatening performance review. 

She no longer had significance. 

She went back.  She interviewed.  She interviewed with people half her age, people who remembered the figurative water-boarding experiences of those performance reviews not too long ago.  People who saw their friends stumble down the hall after a review gone bad, fumbling through a pile of boxes “she” had put in a corner around another corner in a dark place of the office.  Fumbling until they found one big enough.  Then taking the walk of shame out the glass doors and past that white Mercedes right up in front by the entrance in the reserved spot.  The same one they could see out the window of their office, parked five rows out to the left, while she sat in front of them in a chair that had legs just a wee bit shorter than the chair they sat in.

“No.”  She heard it again and again.  “No, we don’t need you.”  Then “no, we don’t want you.”  Then finally, “no, and don’t come back.” 

She said she wanted to “touch the face of God.”  What a crock of bull.  She didn’t care about touching God’s face.  She just wanted people to think she did.  She just wanted people who walked past in her newish white Mercedes right up in front by the entrance to think she did.  She just wanted the sweating, worried young employee in the short chair pushed up close to her desk to think she did.  She just wanted people on the plane to think she did.  She wanted to be different and somehow thought this was the way to go about being it.  But she didn’t have a job.  And she hadn’t touched the face of God.  She was looking at the same acoustic foam attached to the ceiling above us as I was, and He wasn’t there. 

Chris Plante

October 19, 2018