The Calculator

She’d counted.
From the driver’s side door to her new office’s visitor’s entrance that opened onto the dimly lit main lobby was 342 steps. There were 4 bushes to the left of the double glass doors and 4 to the right. The walkway was graveled cement. 16 steps from the main floor to the second floor, where all of the Software Engineers, and Account Managers and Coordinators were located in a cube farm in the North corner of the building, faced street traffic.
She’d talked herself out of suicide since last Thursday, twice a day.
Her cube, with the high carpeted walls, was the second one in the row on the left of three. She’d seen 3 men since she’d been in the building who if as an introduction had walked up to her in the office and without missing a beat had said, “Hi, I want to fuck you”, she’d have made time as soon as possible to accommodate the requests.
She’d counted.
She sat down at the desk and pulled out her 46 quotes and pictures and positive sayings and awards that she wanted to display in her space. She had zero pictures hanging on the walls in her new home though. She walked around the corner to add her name to the scan function on the floor’s color copier and noticed that an article she had posted in 2016 on the company’s intranet was hanging in the corner. Someone had gone through the trouble of printing out her words on the best ways to be kind to each other in the workplace and posted them in the copy room, her name prominently displayed as the contributor. She’d contemplated texting her ex-lover, and her ex-boyfriend, and the ex-boyfriend before that some well-crafted yet still fabricated message about seeing them soon 11 times last night and to make herself go to sleep she took 2 melatonin pills. She had heard no birds chirping since she had arrived but she could have sworn that she saw a black chicken cross her path walking into the building earlier.
One.
It was currently 86 degrees outside and a comfortable 68 inside. Her mother’s birthday was in 4 days and her own birthday in 5. Suicide cropped into her thoughts once more, so she went back to her desk and made a to-do list for the day with at least 6 major items to cross off before she clocked out. She had masturbated twice so far since she had moved to town. One of her co-workers, who constantly posted beauty images of herself all over Instagram came up to say hello and ask her if she wanted to go to happy hour, to which she declined but noticed that the coworker was far from attractive in person, she was just thin and had big tits. She’d torn a sheet of notebook paper into tiny bits and ate them all a week before she moved here because she wondered what paper tasted like and what would happen if she ate some.
She was already mad at her boss and acting a bit awkward and irritated and sad so to regain her composure and focus, she started counting again.
She was keeping track of all of the tasks she had accomplished for the year, even though no one had told her that she had to. Whatever the next thing she did would be task number 1234 for 2018. Her new apartment didn’t make her feel better, and neither did her new cubicle and neither did the beautiful constant sunshine that she’d craved wearing during the doldrums of Midwestern winters like she thought that they would. She sent an email to a client in Atlanta who wanted to have her do a third demonstration on the system that her company sold them confirming she’d do it at $300 per hour. She was nervous about her tax for 2019 with such a massive move and decided to pause her work to do a new budget that doubled her current savings. Every time that she fantasized about an imaginary beautiful young man or blowing her own head off she coughed. She’d coughed 29 times during the work day.  She noticed that the locals pronounced the street where she worked as “GAY-TEE” when it was spelled Goethe and she knew that it should have been pronounced “GER-TAH”. She went downstairs to the large breakroom and purchased a flavored carbonated water that was 50 cents in stores but was being sold in the office for $1.29.
She was frightened at the end of the day that the only love she’d known was fictional and perhaps it was in its entirety- just an idea and not a real thing at all.
She had a chat with an Operations Manager and noticed he said, ‘I don’t mean to be political’ 7 times during.
She’d counted.
She’d finished her work 30 minutes early and started the 30-minute drive of 11 miles that would have taken 15 minutes tops where she had previously been living.
Of course, she was keeping track.

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