For the first time in a week and a half, Jane Summers sat alone at her desk during working hours in the CAD room of Crasob Engineering. She felt good being among her co-workers again, despite the discomfort she felt in telling her lie (a stress-induced backache) that explained her extended absence. She also felt relief that Arjie wasn’t there, explaining the fundamentals of drafting on the computer, and now had time to re-acquaint herself with the familiar surroundings of her work area. The picture of her parents, in the same relative place as she remembered. The Van Gogh desk calender that Brad had gotten her for Christmas. Her certificate for bowling a 600 series from the spring.
Even the stacks of paper, lying unevenly on her desk like a mountain range, were comforting to her, as she found that she recognized most by their content if not their format. It was a mess, but it was her mess. A mess she remembered from before that morning a week ago Monday, when she woke up to find her world had radically changed. She found evidence of that change even on her desk — the laptop in her docking station, the computer monitor, the desk phone with far more buttons than she ever remembered — but there was enough there that she did remember to ease her mind, reassure her that she had some place she could call her own in this strange new reality.