Chapter 9: Truth and Lies
A week passed and Melanie made up her mind, she decided to confront Peter. She went to work earlier than usual so she could talk to Peter at once. As she entered the workplace she headed to his cubicle and she was surprised to see the desk clean. There were no folders, no inbox and outbox tray, it was as if no one was occupying that space. She decided to wait for him so she sat down and stared at the clock. Thirty minutes went by and people were trickling in the workplace but still Peter was nowhere to be found. Five minutes before work time Lorna went to Peter’s cubicle, “Hey Mel, what are you doing? Work is about to start come on lets go” Lorna said. Melanie looked at the clock then shifted her eyes on the desk. “Lorna tell me was Peter ever late before?” she asked and her friend answered no. “I see” Melanie softly said and stood up then walked with Lorna back to their cubicles.
Lunch time came and Melanie returned to her favorite table and stared at the sofa in front of the window. She looked around the lounge but Peter was not there. A few seconds later Lorna sat beside her and offered her a drink. “Has Peter ever been absent before?” Melanie asked suddenly and Lorna shook her head. “Maybe he got sick right?” she asked again. “Of course Melanie, Peter is not a superhero, eventually he would get sick too. But it’s really unusual not seeing him at work or here at lunch. Look around Mel, almost everyone glances at the sofa, so relax its not only you who noticed” Lorna said and Melanie smiled at her.
Each day Melanie went to work early but for three days but Peter never showed up for work. Everyone already acted normal and they thought Peter was just sick except for Melanie. On the fourth day Melanie decided to go to work in her usual time and as she entered the workplace she saw Mrs. Jenkins standing beside Peter’s cubicle. She quickly ran towards their superior and was surprised to see another man occupying Peter’s seat.
“Is Peter’s computer destroyed?” Melanie asked and Mary Jenkins turned and looked at her. “No, the computer is working fine. And this is not Peter’s computer anymore” she replied. “What cubicle did he transfer to?” Melanie again asked and Mary patted her shoulder. “Peter will not be working here anymore” Mrs. Jenkins said and Melanie just stood frozen in disbelief. “I believe it is already eight so get going young lady” Mary said and Melanie slowly walked to her cubicle still dazed. She wanted time to speed up fast that moment and she wanted to wake up from this awful dream.
The following day Peter was really gone, she saw the same person occupying what once was Peter’s cubicle. She went to her cubicle and started to work, several times she stood up and peaked at Peter’s cubicle, and she thought again it was just a practical joke but she was just fooling herself. Lunch time came and Melanie walked lifelessly towards the lounge, she immediately saw two co-employees carrying the sofa away from the window. “Don’t you dare remove that sofa from the window!!!” she shouted and everyone looked at her. The two men carrying the sofa simply stared at her but she was not finished yet. “Put it back where it was now!!!” she again yelled and the men quickly returned the sofa in front of the window.
The lounge was silent and all eyes were on Melanie, Lorna did not even bother to pacify her friend as she just stood there watching with the others. Melanie walked towards the sofa as the two men bowed their heads and walked away. She sat down on the sofa and the lounge began to regain its usual noise. Lorna walked towards the sofa in order to calm down her friend but as she neared her she saw tears flowing down Melanie’s cheeks so she did not bother to go closer.
For several days Melanie came to work just like Peter used to. She sat on the sofa in front of the window during lunch and she finished her work so fast that her co-workers thought that they were seeing a reincarnation of Peter. Melanie was living each day as if she was Peter, no one knew why and not even a single person bothered to ask her. Lorna did not even know her friend anymore and she was longing for her since Melanie goes straight home after work just like Peter did, or they thought he did.
Several floors up the building Mrs. Jenkins entered a wide room that looked like the employees lounge. There were fewer people in that room who were eating and enjoying their break time and on the far end there was a sofa in front of a large glass window. Mary sat down on the sofa and looked at the gentleman beside her. “Hello Peter, how do you like the administrative lounge?” she asked. Peter smiled at her and loosened his tie a bit, “This place is boring, its so silent here” he replied and Mary laughed. “Get used to it since you are already a part of the administration just like I promised you” she said. “Madam, is there a way that I could go back to being a programmer?” Peter asked and Mary looked at him curiously. “Call me Mary from now on. About your question, isn’t this what you wanted? Why do you want to go back being a programmer?” Mary asked him and Peter sighed and looked at the window.
“I miss her so much” Peter softly said and Mary fixed her seat and looked at the window. “You miss the woman in the glass reflection?” Mary said and Peter looked at her. “So you have seen the photographs, yes I miss her” he said and sighed. “Then why don’t you visit her downstairs if you miss her?” Mary suggested and again Peter sighed. “I have been wanting to do that but I don’t know how to explain things to her. You know she is competitive, you know what happened when I first came in. I don’t think she will like the thought that I am in the administration now, amazingly after six months at that” Peter explained and Mary shook her head.
“I am afraid really, I don’t know how she is going to take the truth, me being promoted and me being Kyle. It is as if she knew me as a lie so I really don’t know what to do anymore. I did move on like you said but I did not think this far” Peter added on and Mary started to laugh at him. “You silly man, if she likes you then she will accept the truth so just tell her” Mary told him. Peter shook his head and frowned, “I did something much worse, I played with her emotions. I knew she liked Kyle so I made her think Kyle likes her. Then I did show her too that I like her, so I am really going to look bad” he said and Mary was surprised with his revelation.
“Peter you still have a chance on redemption” Mary suddenly said and smiled at him. Peter looked at Mary intently and asked “What do you mean? Please tell me, help me out I really like her” he begged. “The administrators are not exempted from performing in the employees’ night” Mary answered and Peter was confused. “I don’t know how you are going to do it but on that night you will have a chance to settle things” Mary added and Peter turned towards the glass window and took a deep breath.
“On that night Peter remember you will be there as Kyle and yourself, you have to tell her the truth. If she does not take it well then that is the consequence of your actions” Mary said. Peter nodded and said “On that night I have to tell her the truth, I have to show her who I am.”