“I can’t wait to see you,” I typed into my phone and hit ‘send’.
She responded immediately, as usual, “I know, me too! I can’t believe it’s only been two weeks since I last saw you, lol, it feels like forever! What time are you getting in?”
“I’m leaving right after work, I should land around ten.”
“I’m so excited… I have a surprise for you.”
I grinned, “I like the sound of that.”
All she sent back was a winky face. I smiled even more as blood rushed to my face.
I pulled up my flight itinerary, double checked my departure time and hit ‘print’. I waited for my printer to start up, it was usually a little slow to register a print job but after a few minutes it never sprang to life. I opened the printer analog to troubleshoot the problem and realized that my document had been accidentally sent to the main office’s printer. I quickly walked over to retrieve it.
Along the way a coworker intercepted me; I hurried the conversation along but by the time I made it to the main copy machine I found it was empty. I stood around for a few minutes as it dawned on me that someone else might have picked up my ticket.
I groaned in frustration; the last thing I needed was to be part of the rumor mill. There were just some things in my life I wanted to be able to keep to myself. The disadvantage of working for a family business was that everybody knew everything about everyone.
I resolved that whoever had my ticket would simply toss it after seeing it wasn’t theirs.
Once back in my office I reprinted my ticket, making sure to send it to my personal printer this time and went back to working on this months newest product launch.
The day waned uneventful and I began to feel excitement for my upcoming trip. I started looking up romantic restaurants when my boss appeared in the doorway of my office.
“Derek, do you have a minute?”
I smiled politely, “Of course, Sir, what can I do for you?”
He walked in and closed the door behind him as he opened his jacket to pull out a folded up piece of paper. As he unfolded it, my whole body tightened, it was my ticket.
He placed it face up on my desk and looked at me expectantly.
My throat constricted.
“How long ?”
I cringed at the question, the weight of his words landing on me like an uppercut combo. I suddenly became aware of how hot it was in my office. Without warning, my body felt very heavy as I slumped involuntarily into my chair. Glued in place, the room still seemed to spin around me becoming blurs of color as I searched for the right words.
He grunted, “You can imagine my surprise this afternoon when I got a call from my daughter asking me if I can stop sending you on so many business trips—”
“Sir, I can explain.”
He shook his head; “No, I don’t want to hear it. I want your office empty by five.”
He fingered the paper an inch closer to me; “I suggest you get a refund on your return flight.”
I looked at him in askance, all coherent thought disappearing with each passing second.
“You’re going to need the money,” he said over his shoulder as he exited my office.