The woman I love skips into the office and tells everyone about the new guy she met last night. He took her behind the disused bowling alley and – in her own words – nearly split her in half. When I look at her face I see bags under her eyes and yesterday’s lipstick; a bright pink now faded to a smothered nude. I watched her apply it before we switched the lights off last night, looking at her reflection through her computer monitor after shutdown. She looks tired, happy and unrepentant.
I’d never noticed before how much I sweat sitting down. Or how my fingernails smell of printers and post-it glue. The boy in the cubicle next to me comes over and just won’t shut the fuck up about how amazing the solo is on Pink Floyd’s Comfortably Numb. He wheels his chair over and I can hear it playing faintly through the tinny speakers on his workstation.
This place eradicates creativity and passion. It takes songs and art and being, and bleaches them. I want to climb into the huge cardboard box in the corner and make weird noises, to revert back to my favourite childhood game, hiding behind the sofa and growling. I just need a release, but I can’t be bothered to explain myself.
Yeah, I nod, it is amazing. No, I can’t play it. He’s disappointed. I’ve been playing the guitar for thirty years and I only know three chords. But I can knot a perfect tie.