He is absconding, leaving the office for the last time and his departure couldn’t have been more dramatic. I had intended to follow, to learn more, but despite wanting to, I find myself rooted to the spot, unable to move. I don’t want to be pulled into it, to become a part of the drama. I suppose it is because that, unlike him, I have to come back.
The others are gathering in front of his desk. The desk he has turned inside out. I join them and together we gaze down at the debris; at all he has left behind and most of the items are work related. Folders, files, biros, a stapler, a phone and a couple of chargers. And there are lots of letters scattered here, there and everywhere. I notice that most of the envelopes are still sealed, that he hasn’t bothered to open them. And there is a picture frame, the glass is cracked and the photograph behind it has faded. I wonder for how long it had languished in one of the drawers, untouched until today.
I push my way forward, needing to get a proper look at it and I notice the ledger. It is big and cumbersome and I vaguely remember these books. But the information in them, all the facts and figures had been downloaded onto the computer system more than a decade ago. I reach for it. The cover is scuffed and its spine cracked.
Clearing a space I slide the ledger into the centre of the desk.
‘It’s been a while since I saw one of those,’ someone says behind me.
I open the book. It is empty. All of its pages are blank and, as I leaf through it, the others begin to talk.
Illustration by Christine Renney