She had been taking things home from the office for a few weeks now. A little something personal each day, so that it wouldn't be noticed. She wasn't ready to face that she'd be leaving soon, so there was no major packing of boxes or moving things out all at once.
Monday, she'd taken the last of the photos, and her degree certificates, leaving clean marks in the dust on top of the cabinets and taking away little wisps attached to the bottom of picture frames.
She would be coming back to the office for three more Fridays, but today was really the last day of work, in her mind and in the minds of her boss and colleagues. So today was the day she would remove the few remaining personal objects, like her cocoa mug and reading glasses, and the poncho made of alpaca that she'd picked up at the market in Otavalo, Ecuador back in 2000 -- it lay across the back of her chair for five years, at hand when she needed warmth to counter the cold breeze of the air conditioning vent over her desk.
Toward the end of the day, she began to remove her personal things from the computer. Deleting cookies, internet history, bookmarks, and music. Removing every trace of her existance. Wiping down her desk and cleaning it one last time.
Driving north on the Bronx River Parkway toward White Plains, she began to really feel it. To understand what it meant. She'd spent five years of her life in that office, that chair, that desk, sitting at that computer. Five years. Five years of work and play and laughter and grumbling.
She felt tears burn behind her eyes, threatening to spill forth. This was the kind of thing that called for a few therapeutic hours at her favorite place -- Barnes and Noble.
Two hours of book loving later, she had moved from erotic stories, to novels, classics. She left the store with Sir Thomas More's Utopia, Willa Cathers' My Antonia, and WEB DuBois' The Souls of Black Folk. And her guilty pleasure: a copy of the latest People magazine issue.
When she had left the office earlier, she stood, pushed her chair under the desk, picked up her bag of personal items, and looked back. Nothing remained of her in that cubicle. It was as if she had never existed there. Five years erased.
And then her eye caught the business card laying on top of the CPU. Her business card. She reached for it, intending to throw it away, but then pulled her hand back. Let it stay there, she thought. It's the ony thing left of her here. Let it stay.
This the moment on sitcoms that cues turning off the light and closing the door on the past. Can't really do that in a cubicle. But it felt the same.
This was the end of five years of her life.
Now she would go on to something new.
It will be the end of her blog as well.
If she finds she just can't stop writing, she'll start something new somewhere else.
Just like her job.