Word Count 500
By Sam McManus
The room was frightfully bare, save for the indentation where a fireplace used to stand, a starkly clean wooden desk in the center of the space, a chair that matched the desk, and the sculpture of Annie Lennox next to the window overlooking the San Fernando River. It was underutilized space, that’s for sure, but no one ever complained because no one was ever in the office, save for those who worked at Delightful Décor, and they were used to the atmosphere.
For Philip, it was the “less is more” philosophy he espoused that gave him a sense of serenity in the space, a sense of calmness in the storm that was his life. He was dating a woman he knew he would have to break it off with sooner rather that later, and confrontation gave him agita. It also made him break out in nasty hives that were only mitigated by the sparseness of his office, the feel of wide open space that he had come to crave.
And of course, during stressful times, he imagined what his life would be like if he were in a relationship with Annie Lennox, the seductress by his open window. Some days he sat there at his desk and just stared at her countenance, done in bronze, and he imagined she was tanned from a weekend they had spent on the beach. He imagined she was looking at him with the same fascination he reserved for her. Sometimes she winked at him, and he knew it was meant to be.
One time Jenna stopped by to get his opinion on a pattern of wallpaper for one of her business clients, and he imagined them having a three-way – him, her, and Annie Lennox. He felt ashamed almost immediately, that he could think such things. But he pushed it out of his mind. He knew once she was gone he would have Annie Lennox all to himself again. When Jenna left, he knew she felt shunned, banished to the far reaches of the forty-fourth floor, but he just couldn’t bring himself to care.
They gossiped about Philip at the water cooler. Of course they did. There were bets going around that he was doing disgusting things to that sculpture. Ralph didn’t even know who Annie Lennox was, but even he agreed it was weird. Only Allison refused to place bets on what Philip did in the privacy of his own office. In some strange way she understood. She breathed in deeply before heading back to her own private space.
If Philip was aware of all the talk he didn’t seem to care about it. His clientele was as eccentric as he was, and fiercely loyal, so there was no chance he was going anywhere. He looked over at Annie Lennox, and she looked back at him. Tonight he would deal with the issue of his girlfriend, and then they would be able to move ahead with their own plans. He knew she was ready.