Office Romance

Office Romance

I fell in love with an office block in March 1987. It was a slow romance. She didn’t reveal her secrets—the play of light along a corridor, the cathedral silence of a stairwell, the smell of her balconies—to me until long after we’d gotten to know each other. No. Instead she was mute and taciturn, refusing to speak to me in anything but the most flat of voices. She was concrete and she was grey and I detested her for it. But I had nowhere else to go. No other building would admit me, I couldn’t work anywhere else.

I hated the building I lived in, but we were old companions. Her noisy stairs and leaky windows were familiar to me, comforting and soft. She had wooden floors and delicate eaves. Wholly old fashioned and proper. We made a good team.

And of human companionship? Forget it. Women were inhuman to me. I could no more love them than I could a car. It would be absurd.

But I lusted after something new. Something that hadn’t been worn down by the ravages of time. Smooth and angular and mysterious. An office block it would have to be. And then, walking past the receptionist in this building, this taciturn and silent girl, I was struck by the light from the high window, falling clear and diagonal across the floor. And suddenly her beauty was clear to me. What a fool I’d been! It was under my nose all the time. The wooden window frame—a detail I’d looked down on before—was now so tender and dear to me, I almost lost my breath.

Of course, we began to spend time together. In the mornings I would scurry to work, arriving before the guards and wandering her empty halls. I’d caress her red-bricked walls. My desk was at a window, what better place to appreciate all she could give me. My career went well, all you had to do was turn up. I was promoted and then promoted again because of my attendance. I didn’t do anything at all. I was on top of the world, and it continued for years.

But my old neglected house became jealous. In a fit of rage walls sagged and her lighting broke. It came to a head when her roof collapsed, and then I had nowhere to go.

So now would the time to consummate the relationship, I thought. After all, what else have I got to lose? I hid in a cupboard after work. Until the lights went out. No matter, I knew her layout intimately. The proper place was in the basement, the deep plumbing room. There was a piston that would give me some sense of feedback. It went splendidly. Of course, I was naked. I would have been bad form to wear any clothes. You don’t treat a lover like that.


About the Author

Thomas Kealy is a Welsh writer who concentrates on themes of mental health, trauma, and capitalism.


Photo by Jakob Montrasio from Wikimedia Commons