Some of the paperwork I used to require for work needed to be sent to the local library branch near my office. Mostly just demographic junk and numbers on pages that couldn’t leave the building and at times they would look cross-eyed at me if I photocopied anything. There’s a young lady who handled most of my requests. I don’t know if it was her job or just that she somehow was nominated to deal with a lunatic constantly requesting reams of paper.
Last February she was not looking happy. I never asked if it was something at work, or something else; I didn’t know anything about her beyond name, rank, and phone number at the library. But the look on her face made me uncomfortable. The expression was the kind that makes most people walk in the other direction or ask another for assistance. I kept my head down and just waved stupidly as I left the building.
When my ride dropped me back at my office, I asked someone if they knew her. Local library, local people, seemed like a routine question. No one knew her. Most hadn’t stepped foot in a library in years. The age of Amazon and Kindles making physical books part of history.
My email had an advertisement for flowers. It’s weird enough getting them in my work email, until I remember sending flowers to someone who had an anniversary with the company. Thus, you never get off their lists! I paged through some of the romantic stuff knowing that was never an option. Not for me, my brain doesn’t think in those terms anymore. But I wanted to do something simple, something that might put a smile back on that face for even a moment. I honestly don’t recall what arrangement I picked, there are just so many. But I made a simple mistake, I wasn’t paying attention to the calendar. February, anyone? My brain was so consumed with trying to avoid February 11th and the 1st anniversary of my daughter’s death that I wasn’t aware of Valentine’s Day.
So I sent them off for delivery later that day. Made sure they were received via the email or text methodology available through the website, and I went home.
Two weeks went by and I had to go back to the library for more paperwork. [this would be a good time to mention that the government needs to just digitize everything and save us all some legwork!] But as i went to the desk, the young lady in question asked me to step aside.
“I wanted to thank you, but I am seeing someone.” Or words to that effect. This hadn’t been a romantic gesture, so I wasn’t letdown by some rejection of affection.
“Not the reason I sent them. You looked distracted that day, unhappy. I made a promise to someone that I would try to make small gestures to thank people, try to make a small difference.” [I made this promise to the kid when I was wanting her to be proud of her father, not weirded-out by my gruffness]
I was as confused as she was. My mind just forgot about Valentine’s Day. It’s meaning was completely lost and I guess my gesture only muddied the waters of what was to me just a business relationship.
A few months ago I received an email from the library asking if they could find any more material for me. I had to reply that I wasn’t in the area anymore and thanked them for all of their assistance.
There are times when I wonder who was more confused by our interaction, me or the girl? It’s funny how when you are avoiding something, like a holiday, you end up walking headlong into it. I wonder what the reaction would have been if I had done this in the middle of June? Oh yeah, I avoid that holiday too!
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Secret Admirers.”