Sitting in her caseworker’s car in the apartment

complex where she was planning to apply for a

new home she noticed the younger woman

filling out mileage records to turn in to her

superiors at the agency of which she herself

was a client–this flashed her back to 10-11

years ago when she’d been working for a

supervisor–an odd, temperamental sort of

fellow for whom she’d felt she’d been

working at sufferance and had been walking

on eggshells–he could be very kind, even

fatherly at times — but at others could be

rather anal or even meanspirited — the one

reason she’d put up with abuse — the feeling

that she could never be sure which "boss"

she’d be dealing with — was that with her

speech disability and emotional problems

would make it hard to find a new job were

she to quit — she was tempted to tell her

caseworker how fortunate she was to

have her comlpany pay her mileage because

some companies — like that she’d worked

for — don’t treat their employees this well —

because back in the late 90’s when she’d

been working for this company and had

been filling out and turning in mileage

sheets as everybody else there was able

to do her supervisor  lectured her about

filling in these reports — so even though

she was earning only the minimum wage

and could barely afford  the gas, it had to

be on her dime (I know, strange metaphor

the way gas prices are these days)  —

she figured that perhaps the accounting

office had spoken to her supervisor about

her handing in mileage reports so one day

when she had to go there for another

errand (the gas for which was on her dime)

she stopped in at the accounting office to

apologize for asking for paid mileage and

the main accountant with whom she’d

spoken had said that was OK — everyone

there turned in mileage reports and got

paid mileage — so driving back to the

branch office across the river where she

worked she started crying because now

she felt she’d figured out for some weird

reason she’d been being made an exception

of — but of course knew she could not

say anything to her supervisor about the

unfaitness of it all fearing his reaction —

snapping back to the here and now after

being flooded by these memories she felt

like crying but instead put on a bravura

performance of a business-like, "normal"

adult apartment-hunting — knowing not

only would those at the front desk of the

rental office get a bad impression about her

— she also didn’t want to bore and burden her

caseworker with the distressing details of

her past working life because there was

nothing she could do about them now —

because she liked the young woman very

much — she’d gotten to know her rather

well — for example, being a voracious

reader the way she herself was (currently

the younger woman’s in the process of

re-reading her Harry Potter books — and

she herself has been into fantasy and sci-

fi lately, but while she’s seen a couple of

Harry Potter movies, she hasn’t gotten

around to any Harry Potter books yet)

–in fact, this was the first time she who had

decided long ago in light of her emotional

problems that she was unfit to marry and

have children ever felt maternal towards

someone (other than the four-legged furry,

purring creatures with whom she’d shared

her home and her life) — after her business

for the day was concluded and she made it

home, she got her work done there, ate

dinner, sat down in her favorite comfy

chair, and felt it safe to cry.

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