Laying in her bed, under the covers, she fights a losing battle with the yellow street light that enters her small room from the gap between the deep purple curtains. She continues to stare at the yellow light as snatches of memories come and invade her mindspace even as she reminds herself repeatedly that she has work tomorrow and she must sleep. The clock strikes two. She can only clock in a measly four hours of sleep before she has to wake up to complete the daily chores. Predictably, she does not doze off. Instead, she remembers the incident that had occurred a few days back, in her office.
She was talking to this lady who had recently joined the department and was still finding her footing. They were sharing stories. The new one was being funny, throwing insults, sexual remarks and making innuendoes at anyone and everyone in a bid to prove that she had an I-couldn't-care-less attitude.
The old one, to the department not the world, was smiling while she decided how much to let this stranger inside her world. The new (older) one was talking about her daughters fondly. The old-to-the-department-newer-to-the-world went through something that instant. She decided to talk about the person most important to her. As a preamble she joked about cancer. Then she choked while saying, 'She is my best friend, you know.'
The older of the two women did not know how to handle this old-to-the-department-newer-to-the-world girl, who was enjoying the last few days of her 20s. She decided to wear her nonchalance like a prized heirloom--the rightful owner never misses a chance to wear it but never displays it too obviously to the world. She gathered the empty plate, on which fruits had been cut only a few minutes ago. Took a second longer than necessary to balance the blue knife on the white, gold-rimmed plate and headed to the office kitchen muttering to the 20-something girl, 'Ya, ya, I get it. Your mom's your best friend.'