Karl stepped forward and extended his right hand, J-Lynn accepting it reflexively. She was still processing what this strange, quiet man had said to her as he backed out of his cube, pivoted softly to his right, and walked down the row of cubicles. She watched the top of his gray head skim the top of the cubicle walls, like the back of a mouse scurrying to its corner. Then it paused, dipped down, and disappeared.
Footsteps coming from the other direction prodded her to return to her desk-clearing duty. Wall and desk calendars, photographs of her boyfriend, memorabilia from trips to Las Vegas and Houston — all tossed quickly into the Jim Beam box. She checked the drawers of her mobile file cabinet, confirmed her suspicion that none contained any personal items.
And with the closing of the last drawer, she knew it was over. Anything she cared to take with her was in the Jim Beam box. Foot and a half wide and high, two feet front to long. The end result of almost two years of her effort, captured in a few cubic feet.
J-Lynn looked across the sea of brown-gray cubicles, hoping to see the sight of Karl’s gray head, while knowing she would certainly never see him again. Not that it mattered to her; Karl was, after all, just another unremarkable colleague. She’d met dozens of them in her young career, was certain to meet dozens more in the years to come. And yet, as she picked up her Jim Beam box and headed toward her final exit at Security, she wondered if Karl was really the one moving on that day.
End of “J-Lynn’s Last Day