at work, celia, a coworker and one of our spanish translators, asked me about her. she was in my office as i called a client to discuss their case and what we needed from them. she was the best translator out of them all, so i always used her, and so we got to know each other well. after we finished up the call she walked up to my window and looked at the building across the street, glancing upward and then down below.
“did you see it?” she asked.
“yeah,” i replied.
“oh my god!” she said, turning back to me. “you saw her? oh my god. what did she look like? how did–” she stopped herself, putting a hand to her mouth. “i shouldn’t be asking this, i’m sorry, i’m sorry.”
“no, it’s okay,” i said. this was one of those times when i could feel the weight of the world on my shoulders, like when you become conscious of your own breathing and how much of a chore it is. i had spent all day sunday relaxing and paying no attention to anything, that it hit me kind of hard to be reminded of what i had witnessed.
it was actually at this time when i started wondering if my feelings were valid. this woman who jumped wasn’t anyone that i knew whatsoever, just a random body from my frame of reference. sad that she died, yes, and sad that she found this world not worth living for, but she wasn’t my mother, or my wife, or even a friend of mine, and yet whenever i thought about her i felt that weight on my shoulders, whenever i watched her gray hoodie and blue jeans in my mind the pit of my stomach felt like a vacuum. i couldn’t quite put why she disturbed me so much but in that moment, talking to celia, i felt it worse than ever.
so i did what i always do: put on a pleasant demeanor, despite the riding lump in my throat.
“it’s okay,” i said. “it was … fast. it’s not like the movies, you don’t see anything in slow motion. it was a blur and then it was over.”
“i’m sorry you had to see that,” celia said. my work was somewhat infamous for hiring young attractive college girls to be the legal assistants. i appreciate it because they’re young attractive college girls, and also because a most of them are super smart and very keen. a lot of them are hispanic as well, and the whole office feels very diverse, which is helpful since we are an immigration law firm. still, only me and one other guy were legal assistants, as opposed to the ten or so women. pretty good odds if you’re looking, i suppose, but dating a coworker just seems like a bad idea.
that said, if i was thrown into a pit by an evil overlord and forced to choose one woman from the office to date, i would choose celia hands down. i don’t know why an evil overlord would make me do something so positive, but still. she was one of the few women here who was around my age, and she was tall and gorgeous, with long slightly wavy black hair and perfect light brown skin, and her eyes were so full and tapered off in such a way that she looked like she was always thinking of some really difficult math problem, plus she was so smart and empathetic, she was one of the few people in the office i liked to give tasks to because i knew she would get them done right the first time.