It would be a while before Ed came to get me from work. I paced nonchalantly outside the door of the classroom. I searched the back of all the heads. Surely I can remember what the back of my wife’s head looks like. I think that was hers, in the front row. I wouldn’t take her as the kind of person to sit in the front row, but then I remembered that classroom settings put her to sleep. She’s probably combatting drowsiness. Her jacket looks kind of dull, she usually wears things that are vibrant and colorful. Then again, she has also been trying to give a more mature impression. I bet that’s her. I did not look ‘natural’ walking back and forth, poking my head in, in figuring this out. I slipped away hoping no one was watching me. If anyone did notice, I hope they assumed that I was trying to get the attention of someone I know, which would be the truth. I hoped the instructor didn’t notice me; I didn’t want to get Bailey in trouble during her first week of training.
I figured I could kill time chatting with my supervisor. The other sups (pronounced soups) were gathered around her cubicle, conversing. I languidly approached, listening in to see where in the conversation we were. Another sup came up and asked me how my family was, how are the kids, and the Ladies. “One of them is here,” I blurted, a bit giddy.
“Hold on, one of your what?” K asked, hearing M. “You mean, like, wait what? One of your what?” I must have been red in the face, and I couldn’t help but smile ear to ear.
“Yeah, for real, she has two Ladies.” K still stuttered, trying to wrap her head around ‘this little quiet girl is in a gay relationship with more than one other person’.
“But seriously though, for real?” M continued.
“Yeah, I could even point her out, I just found her.”
“Let’s go.” Giddy, I did my best not to skip over to her training room. I calmly walked past the glass door and made a sharp turnaround, leaning forward so her instructor wouldn’t see me looking in. M was bold and waltzed through the door, looking around like, ‘yeah, I just came to check out the place, keep up the good work’. All the students looked back at him, and finally Bailey’s eyes met mine. I waved, she waved, and M saw and waved at her. He even told me a little later that the instructor did a little head nod in her direction, as if to say, “This one here.” Then we walked away as if on business. He went straight to the other supervisors and rounded them up, and like a posse they returned. Don’t let them get her in trouble, I pleaded, trailing behind. Inconspicuously they gathered around the door like gossiping turkeys leaning this way and that and asking “which one?” M described where she was sitting, and in the chaos my sup, Ms. G, slipped away just as the instructor stepped out. K’s head was bowed in shame, R was looking away as though the wall was giving her an important message. The instructor looked at M sharply.
“You disrupting my class?”
“No, I’m watching you at work. I admire what you do, helping these people to learn and develop, and I aspire to your position-”
“You want my job?”
I hid behind K. Of our group of rascals I was the one whose position was most easily filled. I think I went unnoticed, or maybe the instructor didn’t care, and she went back in. Ms. G returned, and projected her voice unashamedly, “Don’t put that one on my team. I don’t need both of them. Unless you trade Charlotte for her.”
I felt the tires of the bus roll over me. “Ouch!”
“Baby, we’re too close. And this is the second round with you. You’re even dreaming about me.” She hugged on me in jest. By second round she was referring to me returning after my maternity leave.
“You’ll like me better when I’m not on your team anyway, right?” I pouted and rest my head on her shoulder. I like that I can joke around with my supervisor, but on the clock we’re all about work and professionalism.