Aaron sat at his cubicle. Was it really Friday? He couldn’t recall. Outlook was showing Friday. Finally, a weekend off! A knock came from his cubicle wall behind him. Aaron turned and saw his boss leaning against his cube wall.
“Great job this week, Aaron.” James smiled.
“Don’t you mean two weeks, boss?” Aaron was only half joking.
James chuckled, “Well, some weeks are longer than others. I wanted to take the team out for lunch as a thank you. Since you ran the show I thought I’d leave it up to you.”
“I think the pub across the street then.” Aaron knew everyone on the team haunted that location at least once a week. Nobody had time to leave their cubicles the past two weeks, so it was a safe choice.
“Thanks, I’ll make the arrangements.” James walked off. Aaron looked down at his ever growing stomach. Long hours at a desk, and poor food choices were catching up to him. It seemed to be the destination of every desk jockey. When he first started working in the office buildings he used to count how many middle age men were carted out by the EMTs. It seemed a weekly event. Victims of their stress and poor work/life balance. Aaron had told himself he would not become like them. Somehow, he seemed to be headed down the same path.
When he was a younger man he had the energy to fight against the destructive path he was being forced to walk down. Lunches were spent walking with friends. They could cover four miles in an hour on a good day. Then friends moved on to other companies. He had moved on himself had he not?
Aaron smiled. He had arrived at the place he had always dreamed of for his career. Sure, there were sacrifices, but there are always sacrifices. At least he had made the right choices. He balanced the burden on his family and his job. Others less deserving had accepted positions he had passed on so he could have time at home. His wife had supported him when a promotion came he really wanted.
Maybe his gut was a little bigger, but so what. The EMTs had not come for him yet, and if he had any say in it, they never would. Aaron picked up the phone and dialed home. “Sophia.”
“Hi honey. What do you think about a quick beach trip? I feel like celebrating.”
“I love it! What are we celebrating?” Aaron could here the joy in her voice.
“Life. Surviving together, and surviving the past two weeks.”
“I’ll start packing. Love you.”
“You too” Aaron hung up the phone. He pulled up the project debrief document he was finishing when he heard another knock at the door. James was standing there again. Aaron could feel a tension begin to rise up inside him. This could not be good.
“Aaron, I was on the other side of the cube. Sorry to eavesdrop. Why don’t you take the afternoon off, and Monday on me. You and Sophia enjoy your trip.”
Aaron sat there, unsure what he heard. “Is there anything else, boss?”
James laughed, “Nope, that’s it. See you at lunch.” He disappeared from view.
Aaron smiled and spun around in his chair. He didn’t know what challenges would be coming tomorrow, but today was a day of celebration. Pumping his fist in the air he pulled himself back up to his desk and made quick work of his debrief.
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