The International Writers Magazine

A Benediction
Nicole Trilivas

Momentary lapses of judgment; I am pinning- prickly fingered- for more, more, more. I have been hording my pennies; trickily scheming like a black and white villainess. Let me curl my fingers. Let me cackle in peace. The nausea is akin to motion sickness; my stomach is a cruel joke, or is it irony and I’m missing the point?

I am ever still: my predators can detect motion. The benediction was a pop-up ad. "Travelocity: Get $75 off Hotel + Airfare" the ugly three stars, like a fortified Miro. Conditioned to shoot for the "X" I almost closed out this auspicious sign, but alas, the misplaced mouse merely minimized it.

A farrago of jargon, my slave drivers approach. Ill tempered and starchy, I have the urge to crease their cuffs in accordion folds. They stalk, sniff around a bit, and mark their territory on a desk leg. Before I can play dead an abrupt swivel from an adjacent cubicle shifts their focus and they slink away- for now- leaving traces of their scent. I am defiant but well behaved: "Bastards!" I mouth to their backs, the 300-page Bilton file like droppings steam on the desktop.

A momentary lapse of judgment? I resurrect the pop-up ad, nonplussed by its resilience. "How did you escape?" I interrogate, once again silently as to not draw attention to my waning sanity. It’s a shame-honor culture here; I am quick to lash out to those below me.
Unyieldingly verbose, the duties, never direct, are cloaked as "favors" and "requests" nested in the bookends of unctuous good tidings. I flounder through them, one by one, weighed by the worth of the requestor. Perspiration drizzles down my forehead. Any peccadillo is punishable. The Bilton file draws files.

What is it that keeps me here? I wonder in the midst of half-assed email replies and spreadsheets. This is the land of the free; why am I choosing to live out a jail sentence? There is but a single realization: I’m immured by material desires. Yes, America: land of the free. We don’t have Berlin walls: we have velvet ropes. Have I really etched out a price tag on my time?

And I see it again, and this time I know. Minimized, it’s a wilted battle flag, a muffled battle cry, and it is time to travel. This is the land of free, and the home of brave. Call it a momentary lapse of judgment- everyone else will. The exit was instantaneous and dramatic: an overturned coffee cup, a winter coat flamboyantly tossed over the shoulder, a chin jutting in the air attached in tow to an upwardly pointed nose. (Or so I would have liked it to go.)

In actuality it was well planned and scripted. Two weeks notice and all, because it’s not about forgoing our duties and responsibilities (two words that I actually shudder while writing) - it’s about re-establishing them. We make the beds that we lay in. We make the beds that we can’t sleep in. We make the beds that we dream in. Can it possibly be as curt and easy as a Nike slogan makes it out to be to reroute our course? Maybe. Just maybe it can be.
© Nicole Trilivas October 2005

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