Team (a retail story)

 

Twin’s not dead. He’s just missing or late, how ever you might choose to view the situation. My co-worker, a fellow janitor, went on LOA. He had been gone for two weeks, he was supposed to be back today. But he called out, the reason (I learned via my favorite manager- all of the other managers would have kept to themselves)- family emergency. One could say Twin was just ‘still on gone’ but to me, it felt like he was ‘more gone.’

I never asked where he was going. Warrior, a man in his fifties went home to the Philippines every year, this year he went for cancer surgery. Kid, a cool teen who shared my love of Nintendo went to Los Angels for nine days, for a comic-con, with a few days allocated for further travel to San Deigo. Where was Twin? I saw him on the computer the week before he left- why didn’t I ask?

Allow me to explain. Twin is my other half, the yang to my yin. He’s everything I’m not. His birthday is even one day after mine as if God said: “Oh crap, I made a neurotic girl, now I need to fix this my making the most strong confident boy in the history of the universe.” Funny story last year the corporate calendar on the wall in HR, once again posted a list of B-days, with no actual dates. So I took it upon my self to make a little drawing of a cart. Because in addition to cleaning restrooms, checking supplies, emptying hangers, and escorting customers to their cars, answering general calls we janitors are also supposed to bring in carts. All- freaking – day. So if you ever go to a Target and the parking lot is covered in trash?- that’s why.

I placed the cart between the 8 and the 9 because on some deep psychological level I thought ‘there is no way my birthday comes before his.’ It wasn’t due to my memory, I genuinely felt ‘There is no way I get honored before he does.’ When the HR rep said, I was not allowed to post the drawing, and days later she posted actual birth dates, I had the stupidity to go up to Twin and ask “Was your birthday always on the 10th?” As usual, he was calm and sweet. “Yes.” Not even pointing out the moronic nature of my question.

I miss him mainly because of his style of helping people. If I had three different tasks that I was stressing out about my first instinct would be “Which one do you want?”

But his instinct would always be, “Let’s do A, then B, then C.” Because working together is always better than working alone.

Twin is not scheduled for another two days. Oh well. What’s meant to happen will happen.

Today was my day off.

I felt like walking to grab some coffee. I literally could have gone any number of directions, but I choose to cut across the parking lot of  Target. My Target.

There he was, emptying the first-floor outdoor trash cans. From about twenty feet away he turned and saw me.

We started to walk towards each other, both of us with the biggest smiles on our faces. The moment felt more magical than it had any right to be.

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“Hey, Janitorgirl.”

“Hey, Twin. It’s been a while. ”

“I was in Hong Kong. Are you off today?”

How was your trip? Where did you go in Hong Kong? Did you visit family? I have family in Hong Kong. Did you go any of the arcades?

“Yeah, just headed to Starbucks. I missed you on Monday.”

“I had to call out: a family emergency.”

What kind of family emergency? Were you stuck in Hong Kong? Did you miss your flight?

“See you Saturday?”

“Yeah, I’ll see you Saturday.”

“We live in cities you’ll never see on screen
Not very pretty, but we sure know how to run things
Living in ruins of a palace within my dreams
And you know, we’re on each other’s team”

– Team, by Lorde.

 

 

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