When Andrew Barker woke up in the same clothing he had worn to work yesterday, unfed, unwashed, he knew he was losing self control.
His deity had always been control of self. He didn’t lose his temper, he never was unprepared. He lived his life as if he were a well tuned machine. He focused on his duties.
He never left the cap off the toothpaste, never arrived at work without an operational pen. He always had cash in his pocket, his credit cards, his car keys, his documents. He knew how many steps from his bedroom to the bathroom.
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Living his life according to plan had seemed wise. Until he woke up on the chair early Tuesday morning and realised what he thought was his life was a farce. A fraud.
If he missed all the signs at home, what about work? Was his job secure?
Andrew looked at the clock; he had to get to work!
He raced into the bathroom, used it quickly, then out, grabbed whatever came to hand, dressing without planning, took his keys, his wallet, and out.
For the first time in history, Andrew Barker was not at his desk at 8:30.
He arrived in at 8:55 expecting everyone to be up in his face…”Where were you?” expecting his boss to be glowering.
No one said a thing. No one looked up.There were no messages.
Andrew Barker surveyed the open plan office. He saw people talking to each other, some smiling, others seeming angry. He saw them moving, living their lives. He marvelled at what he saw as if it were a wonder in the world.
All these years he had come here, focused on his desk, his work, time tables, dead lines, but everyone else was living. Everyone else smoothed the job into their lives. It was not a function, it was … real?
The word ‘real’ hit him as if it were some magical phrase spoken by an angel. Real. What is real? Was he real? Was there a real Andrew or just an automaton going through the motions, with all emotions locked off, all interaction measured?
A man approached his desk.
“You’re Andrew Barker.”
“Yes, I am.”
“You’ve been officially served,” the man said, putting an envelope on his desk.
Andrew stared, took up the envelope, it came from a law firm. He opened it. There was a divorce petition.
“I was informed a copy was left in the house, but that is not official. This is.” The man made a rude smirk and walked out.
A few of Andrew’s co workers were looking at him. He kept his face flat, dropped his eyes.