The Way It Feels To Be Let Go
by Krystal Sierra
My boss let me go June 8, 2012. It was a Saturday, the busiest day of the workweek. I had taken lots of smoke breaks. I borrowed time and knew it.
Out back, behind our plaza, the sun shone down on me.
I had this slow anxiety creeping up into my stomach all day. My fingers tingled. Something was amiss. I saw it in the way my coworkers avoided me, didn’t look at me, talked through me as if I wasn’t there. I was a ghost at my own funeral. I knew the signs only because I had done the avoiding too.
My boss asked me to come into the office. I looked down at the letter he asked me to read. I sat there on a wooden stool, blinking like a prodded cow. For a moment, neither one of us moved. No one breathed. “Okay,” I said. “Okay. Okay.”
“I’ll need your keys before you get your last check,” my boss said. I took the keys out from a top pocket in my purse and freed the one he wanted from its ring. I caught a glimpse of the hands on my watch. It was just after 5:20.
I found my legs and picked up my workbag, which I had leaned against the wall—a witness. Collect your belongings and leave immediately, the letter had said. I was a lost balloon.
“You going home?” someone asked after I left the room. I watched my hands do the work of packing.
Krystal Sierra is the editor-in-chief of Guide to Kulchur Creative Journal. Her work deals with the violence of being a woman and mother. She is working on a book length collection of essays for Vanguard Series (GTK Press) and lives in Lakewood, Ohio.
September 10, 2014
Photo by: Gessy Alvarez