Dorothy was not happy to be back at work after such a long break. Of course, she knew that no one was happy to be back after the four day weekend, but it did little to comfort her as she trudged along with all the other worker cattle. She could see her own sad face reflecting in the mournful cow eyes of her equally disenchanted fellow commuters. She fixed an errant hair that had blown into her face as the chilly wind curled up around her as made her way toward her office building.
College had failed her completely. She had a degree in nutrition sciences but there were no jobs for anyone in that field. So now she worked in an office that managed the medical benefits for older Americans. And those older Americans were mean. There were more than a few times Dorothy had to leave her desk in tears after some curmudgeon had given her a stern talking to about how awful her company was. They always had a terrible story about how they lost a son in Nam or a daughter to a bad marriage. They always thought they were right because they beat Hitler and no 28 year old office girl was going to tell them different.
Dorothy got to her coffee place with the other cows and waited in line. Each cow got their mocho-choco-latte-espresso-mucho-grande with four shots of super espresso or half-caff-decaff- green tea with a scone. Dorothy got to the counter and obediently mooed her regular coffee order; just a medium coffee with one cream and one Splenda. That was all she needed to start her day. She stepped from the coffee shop and looked at her tall office building standing monolithic like in the morning chill. She felt a pain in her stomach and her heart freeze in her chest. The cows around her continued their busy, shoving path, completely ignoring her.
She felt a tear welling in her right eye and she wiped at it with her gloved hand. She should have run off and joined the circus or maybe joined up with some outlaw bikers, anything would be better than entering that cold office world. Dorothy looked away from the building and saw an old black woman holding a small sign, begging for what little change people could spare. The woman was ragged and dirty and Dorothy could smell her molding clothes. She was sitting against the coffee shop wall in a mess of old blankets and refuse.
“Please Jesus, help me Jesus”, the old woman repeated as people passed her by without any acknowledgement. Dorothy thought about giving the woman some of the change she got from the coffee shop but she doubted thirty eight cents would provide much comfort. Dorothy felt the sadness creeping in again and wondered what it was all about. What was the point of it all?
“Here you go”, said a man as he passed the old begging woman. He had given her a breakfast sandwich and something to drink and just kept walking by. Dorothy only just heard him and didn’t really catch a glance since she was so mired in her own thoughts.
“Bless you sir, bless you, thank you Jesus, thank you”, cried the woman after the unknown man.
Dorothy looked back at her office building and took a deep breath. She crossed the street and entered.