I stand in front of a tall green wall of pine wood and the paint slightly peels and bubbles in places. A fresh old smell mixes with filtered sunshine past the glass of the closed window. I run my finger along the pane. Hmm, needs washing.
I walk around the dusty floorboards and whistle through my teeth. I’m ready for adventure, to see the world. What am I doing in the attic? The pounding frustration is as loud as five hundred angry ghosts banging on the window outside to ‘let me in!’ Screams pulse against the silence. I’m afraid this attic is malfunctioning. Since when were there ghosts in the attic?
“Out! No!” I give my head a little shake and the dust settles. The palpitating echoes stop. What was I looking for again? That heart-beat. Yes, it’s somewhere in here. I lift up a few long flattened and very dusty moving boxes. Art papers in boxes and a tin cookie can pop out colorfully from the shadows into my vision. No. I had meant to get back to that moment. Where did I put it? I guess I came up here and reorganized the attic several times throughout the last era. Now, I’ve forgotten. I look around. It really has been eleven years.
A door closes below. It’s the entry door; my husband’s come back home. Anyways, he won’t know I’m up here. Boxes of holy scripture and memories, legal documents, all sorts of odds and ends that have been properly stored away for the return. I mean, this is practically a library. The heart-beat could be anywhere. It could literally be sheaved between the pages of the most obscure pamphlet for all I know. Some people have that skill to categorize their memories but I’ve often missed the old times and things got shuffled around.
The confusion dies down. It is peaceful knowing that I have resources even if I can’t find my heart-beat. He’s been disappointed by all my adventures, all my heart longings, the unexplainable way people always find ways to trip me up and cut me short.
“Hey,” I run downstairs to meet my odd-ball love. I laugh and toss his short blond hair with my fingertips. “I got fired.”
He looks at me quizzically, I hate it when he looks at me like that as though his eyes are about to pop out. “Fired?”
“I was too perfect.” I look down and sigh. “It was just a normal day. And for the millionth time, I did everything right. But I don’t know why it’s always like this; They found a way to get mad at me.”
His eyes practically drop out of his face and go rolling across the floor. “You told me you would keep this job. We need the money.”
“Don’t get angry at me right now!”
He quietly bites his knuckle. “How could you let this happen; Again?”
“I was literally doing my job. They got angry because a discussion came up about that man–”
“You mean the one that almost fired you?”
“Yes, and I shared with my colleagues how the company only stopped him because I threatened to sue them for racial profiling.”
My husband’s jaw drops to the floor. He stares at me with a blank face and wordless expression. “And then they fired you.”
“Well, at first they tried to bully me into another behavior meeting.”
“I wouldn’t have it.”
“So, they fired you.”
He paces the room and circles back to me full stop. He doesn’t know what to say.
“You know what I told them?” I ask.
“I told the company lawyer, Carolina McDodged, that I have everything I need to prove that she should be disqualified of her license to practice law.”
A hint of color comes back to his face. “What?” He puts his bag down to the floor.
I point to the stack of papers printed out on my desk. “All the proof I need.” My heart pumps into action and suddenly booms loudly against my rib cage. “I’ve waited three years to tell you.” I say this to him and slowly, I’ve found my ever silent persistent heart-beat.