Page 29 - WTP VOl. IX #1
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 his ears were still working at that point.
Probably it was shitty that I didn’t go to visit him. I can say that I didn’t know where he lived, and that’s true, but that’s not why I didn’t visit. I could’ve asked someone. I’m sure that HR would’ve told me if I’d asked. They’re not supposed to, but in this case they would’ve, I’m sure. The reason I didn’t go is that I know that I wouldn’t know what to say.
In the office, people were saying what a hero Aaron was. How brave he was. And he was, but not neces- sarily like everyone was saying. Not that I have some insight into what his bravery meant. Maybe the best thing is to tell one more story. I saw Aaron taking a few office supplies once. It wasn’t a big deal. Every- one did it. I’d taken home a ream of paper just the week before. Nobody noticed this kind of thing, but I think that everyone saw Aaron as this perfect worker. Not necessarily in his performance so much as they assumed that he was magical or something and totally dedicated to the company. So, when I saw him
taking a couple of packs of staples and putting them in his pants pocket, I laughed a little.
He turned and looked at me. He made the “quiet” sign, but he did it with his smoke arm. That shocked me. I was about to gasp, but I caught myself. I felt like that would be rude, though I wasn’t sure. And after he lowered his smoke hand, a little whisp was still in front of his mouth. He blew, and a little cloud floated over my shoulder. It seemed like it was on purpose.
It seemed like he was trying to tell me something that was clear to him. Or maybe he knew that I would never get it. All I knew at that moment was that he figured something out that I never would. That was the only thing I knew. Which I guess was the point.
Jarvis is a Professor of English at Eureka College. He earned his PhD from UW-Milwaukee, where he edited Cream City Review. His work has appeared in Moon City Review, 2 Bridges Review, and Posit, among other places. His books include So Anyway..., In A Family Way, The Three of Them, and Antisocial Norms. His play, Meeting, was produced in 2018. At one point in time, he played the banjo.

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