Nightshift (1)

Two months after they arrived Sophie found a maid’s job at the Chancellor—one thousand rooms, each larger than the one she and Gordon called home.

Her boss, Eduard, was a good man. He’d arrived the same way years before. ‘Like a bird blown off course’. Eduard put Gordon on at a department store downtown.

In the evenings Gordon and Sophie talked about their workdays and reminded each other of their good fortune. They bought a television, new shoes, a dress for Sophie. Gordon said she looked like a movie star. They started thinking about a better place.

Then the market crashed. Eduard came to Gordon. ‘I can’t keep you on here ——’

Gordon swallowed.

‘—— but I’ve got something else. It’s not much.’

The factory job was hard and dirty. Gordon could put up with that. But sleeping in the morning, working at night—‘a man,’ he told Sophie, ‘is not a bat.’

Their once happy room contracted. It became little more than a place for passing time with foolish TV programs and conversations dulled by drowsiness.

It got so bad Sophie started leaving notes inside his lunchbox. She wondered if he even read them, until she found them in his overalls, in a well-thumbed envelope. On it, in his native language, were the words, because we are here.


2011—Richard Holt / small stories about love (