Yesterday I sat in traffic on Six Forks for over half an hour. A few of Raleigh’s Finest and some Progress Energy guys decided to get together around, oh, say, the RUSH HOUR. They parked their various vehicles up on the curb, blocked off a lane, set off some festive red flares and sent one of their number up in a cherry picker to work on a power line. Then the rest of them stood around, periodically looking up and shielding their eyes with their hands and shootin’ the shit.
During RUSH HOUR.
Every Friday my sister picks Evie up from daycare. This gives her special Evie-time (coveted by many, I assure you) and it gets Evie home an hour earlier. I stayed a bit late at work and then stopped by the local generic tire chain to have new tires put on my car. I figured this would take, at most, an hour. After fighting traffic all the way to Garner and sitting at the generic tire chain, waiting, I looked down at my watch to see that it was actually taking…
TWO AND A HALF HOURS.
I finally made it to Maggie’s house, only to spend ten minutes with Evie before she fell asleep for the night. I was very sad.
Two weeks ago, I resigned from my job at the law firm. Out of respect for their anonymity, I’m omitting their names, but if you need a good real estate or estate attorney, call me. Anyway, I resigned and will be starting at a new job on Monday at a title company in downtown Raleigh. I’m omitting its name because, again, they think I’m normal, and I don’t want an innocent Google search to disabuse them of that notion. This new job will cut my commute time down to less than half of what it was before and give me, I hope, a couple more hours a day with Evie.
Today was my last day at the law firm. It was a bittersweet, surreal day. I couldn’t help but think during every task I performed, “This is last time I will do this.” I was very sad.
I’ve been with these two attorneys for almost eight years. I started with them when I was 24, before I got married (hell, before I’d even met my husband) and way before Evie. When I told them I was pregnant, I assured them over and over again that I would be back after maternity leave. I promised them nothing would change. They nodded and jokingly shot back, “Yeah, right.”
Over the last two weeks, I’ve done a lot of thinking. I thought about when one of the attorneys’ beloved mother suddenly died. After the funeral, he walked with his brother and sister and climbed into the waiting limosine outside the church. I stood at the glass door and waved, assuming that because I wasn’t a member of his family, I wouldn’t get to speak to him and give my condolences. As I made my way across the narthex to the door on the other side, I heard my name. I turned, and there he was, walking quickly towards me. Without pause to calculate the professional appropriateness of my emotions, I threw my arms around him. I pulled back, and, although shaken by seeing him cry, I told him firmly not to worry about anything at the office. I would take care of everything. He stammered out some thanks and hugged me again. Y’all, I will remember that for the rest of my life.
I thought about the many, many hours I have spent in conversation with the other attorney. Over the last eight years, we have discussed movies, books, TV shows, actors, actresses, politics, his family, my family, religion, current events, food, restaurants, music, the law, language, clients, clients’ families, pets, the housing market, Wall Street, the DMV, the IRS, the North Carolina Department of Revenue, the Internet, traffic, alcoholism, Alzheimer’s, cancer, death, college, high school, teenagers and many, many other topics. Honestly, folks, this man has, in essence, sometimes paid me to share my opinions with him. For the past two weeks, he’s come up to me several times and said, with a sad smile, “Who am I going to talk to?”
I’ve also thought about the clients — those I’ve dealt with once and those whose voices I recognize over the phone. There was the nice gay man who was dying of AIDS and to whose bedside I delivered Powers of Attorney and a hope he would see on my face that I didn’t judge him. There was the woman who had written a book with my great Aunt Blanche as a character and who was tickled to death when she realized who I was. There was the long-time client who reminded me so much of my dad that I felt homesick every time he came into the office. And there are numerous other relationships, working and personal, that inspire an aching feeling in my chest.
I thought about all of this last night while I rocked Evie to sleep. I felt the limp weight of her warm body on my chest and held her little hand that had reached for my neck before she gave in to sleep. I nuzzled the top of her head where more silky hair comes in every day. I listened to her breath softly whistling through her nose and smelled her sweet Evieness.
And I knew that I would give it all up again, all eight years of it, a hundred times over for one more hour, one more minute, one more second with this precious, precious child.