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It is 4pm, Monday,
and I am coming to
my last hour of work
at the office.
It is me, Celine, Jade, Faye,
and Wilson writing in the e-Learning Dept.
“Wilson, could I borrow a moment of your time?”
I hear Jade say.
“Umm, sure,” he says.
I hear them get up and leave.
“Ary,” Celine says to me,
“Could I speak with you
in the meeting room?”
“Umm. . .yeah. Sure,” I say. Getting
up, I notice Faye is no longer at her
We exit the room.
I don’t like being called into places without an
explanation first. I always think it means something
Jordan, my manager, a guy I have come to consider
as one of my favourite bosses,
as one whom I have bonded with over comic books
and superhero movies — over our geekdom —
is there and orders me to take a seat.
I sit down.
He sits across from me.
Celine remains standing at my side.
“Ary, I’m here to give you some bad news.
We’ve decided to let you go.
I’m here to terminate your position.”
He slides an envelope stuffed full of paper in front of me.
“This is your severance cheque. Now,
do you have your keypass card? I will need that back from you.”
He holds open his hand.
I feel like I have been struck by lightning,
and it has left a hole
the weight of a bowling ball
in my gut.
I unclip the keypass card from my belt
and hand it to Jordan.
“OK. Now I would like you to go back to your desk,
pack up your things, and leave,” he says.
I wait for an explanation. There comes none.
“Why?” I finally say.
“Like I’ve already told you,
we are terminating your position
without reason and without cause.
So by company policy
I am under no obligation to give you a reason,” he says.
I must have missed that the first time he told me.
I don’t remember hearing it. But I believe him.
I pull myself up and follow Celine back into
the e-Learning room.
It is still empty.
I am the only one leaving.
Jordan enters holding two tattered cardboard boxes.
“Do you want boxes or plastic bags?” he says.
I am in too much shock to think. “I...I don’t know,” I say.
“Bring both,” Celine says. “We’ll make do with whichever is necessary.”
Celine has been like a mother to me.
Now she is treating me like a stranger.
I can’t seem to empty out my desk drawers fast enough for her.
“You don’t have to take those papers if they are from work,” she says.
“You can leave those notebooks here if they aren’t personal.”
When I use the computer mouse to shut down the programs
That I've been working on, she stops me.
“Actually, we can’t let you use your computer anymore.
For security reasons,” she says.
“I have my personal email account open,” I say.
“It’s okay. We’ll get Calvin to wipe out your computer.
All of your personal information will be erased.”
“Alright.” I finish cleaning out my desk and
packing up. I don’t like how my computer is still
on with my Gmail account accessible from the browser
and my Google Drive open on the screen.
“Can you please turn off my computer? Are you
allowed to do that at least?” I ask.
“I just don’t want any of my personal information
to be compromised,” I say.
She grants my last request and shuts down the computer.
And that is it. She escorts me to the elevator,
the ground floor, the lobby,
and waits with me
for an Uber cab I call
to take me home.