I stopped actually going to
the office last May, but from time to time I see some of my ex-staff. I like to
have lunch with Maja, my Croatian lady, Amel, my blond boy from
All my Canadian paraphernalia in my house amuses him: the beer mug with the RCMP coat of arms, the babushka dolls painted like Mounties, the Canadian flag kitchen clock, the photograph of me standing between two very tall Mounties who agreed to pose with me at the Musical Ride.
But I’ve given up trying to match him up with either of my daughters. At 44 he’s a little too long in the tooth for my subunits of 18 and 22. As a matter of fact he’s closer to The Moo’s own age, but, sadly, he’s too much of gentleman to make a move on a married woman.
He was over for his most
recent visit a few days before we left
“So, you’re leaving Sunday,”
I pause in my washing, wipe my hands on a dish towel and turn to face him.
He widens his eyes and gives me a “tell me about it” look.
I sit down with him at the kitchen table. “Being unemployed is making me buggy. I haven’t had an office to go to since last spring. It’s not healthy for me to be out of work.”
“What’s your plan?” he prompts.
“The plan for now is to spend
the holidays with the family in Trawna like usual. Then after New Years I’m
going back to
He nods his understanding. ‘I suspected you might be doing that,” he confesses. “I processed the reimbursement for your plane ticket for the trip home.” (I used to be in charge of the Payment and Payroll section. I myself taught him how to process reimbursements. They grow up so fast.)
“After you’re gone, you mean?” he asks.
I’m not sure what he means by that. It’s as though his actions are somehow dependent on mine. What a silly thought. “I guess so. You must have some plans. I can’t see you spending the rest of your life as a bean-counter.”
There’s leftover apple strudel on the table. He picks up one of the dessert forks I’ve just cleaned and starts poking at the strudel with it. “Go ahead and finish it off,” I assure him, gratified that he feels comfortable enough in my house to pick at the leftovers. I’m also going to be sending him home with dinner remnants: a Tupperware tub of chicken soup and matzoh balls, slices of roast beef, potato pancakes.
“I guess not,” he says, finally. “I’m going back at the end of December. I’ve had some offers.”
Oh dear. Is that really
embarrassment in his eyes?
“I’m going to have the same email address, so we can keep in touch,” I say.
What I really want to hear
him say is that he’ll miss me. I mean, it’s only the polite thing to say and
“I’ve been thinking of taking
a post in
nation’s capital, eh? Mountie
Now he smiles. Really smiles. “If I come to
He’s never called me “Moo” before. How does he know that nickname? At the office I’m Marilyn, Mister Moo calls me Poof and the girls call me Mummy.
I address him by the nickname I used to use at the office. “You can bet on it, Ben-ee-shore.”