Forks in Roads

May 14, 03:50 PM

G reat Sunday morning! Sun in the sky, not the useless winter sun we got used to: it was warm! Spring this year teased us far too long, but I figured it was here now. I was walking down the road from the coffee shop to office. Yeah, working weekend this one. Don’t mind them much myself to be honest. Got no wife, no kids, can spare an extra weekend working. Pays pretty good too — the overtime. Whoever thought of that idea deserves a medal. My old man used to work like a slave all the time and never heard of that thing.

But yeah, the cafeteria was closed so had to walk a mile to fetch my morning caffeine fix. Annoying, but weather’s nice so don’t mind much. Most of the snow had melted, finally could see the grass. It’s still brown, but makes me happy. Light wind blows, by god it’s fantastic out here! My eyes wander around and spot something weird: a fork on the road! No, I mean a piece of silverware, right there in the middle of the road. It was funny, I mean they try to keep this area pretty clean. Wasn’t it Yogi Berra who said “if you see a fork in the road, you pick it up”, or something like that. I mean I love the man, but ignored his maxim. Had to hurry, was worried if Jess already reached office.

Jess my colleague, who I am supposed to work on this new project together today. She’s great: one hell of a coder, and doesn’t mind putting in a few extra hours to get the job done. Quite a looker too, if you ask me, but never tried anything. She’s got a boyfriend, for one, but wouldn’t try it even if there wasn’t, too close! But do enjoy hanging out with her after hours sometimes, so I guess we are kind of friends.

Took out my key, opened the office door and there she was.

“Hey morning, I was about to call you”, she said rising in her chair. Her cubicle is opposite mine.

“Good morning, just went to get my coffee, the damn cafeteria is closed”, I said putting my cup on my desk. “I can start whenever you’re ready.”
“Yeah I got breakfast too. But I can eat that in a bit. Let’s work from my machine.”

I nodded and rolled my chair to her desk. That’s when I noticed her face. “By god Jess, you look awful. I mean, sorry, but what’s up?”

“Yeah nothing, I mean, I broke up last night.” she said with a blank expression, I wasn’t exaggerating, she looked wretched.

“I am sorry to hear that. What happened?” I thought they were about to get engaged or something.

“I don’t know man, what always happens when things get serious. He freaked out, couldn’t commit. And he keeps travelling all the time, so we don’t get to spend as much time together anyways. I knew this was coming for a while, so you know, it is what it is. No big deal.”

“Oh well, none of my business, but you look like you’re dealing with this fine.”

“I am fine, yeah, I’ve had enough experience to let this bother me. I mean life is just shit sometimes you know, you just gotta go with it.”

“True that, okay may be we can go get a drink tonight.”

“Yeah sure, let’s see what we’ve got to do for the project here”, she said and opened her email. We spent the next thirty minutes going through all the mails and creating a list of things we needed to get done. I hate these big projects with external clients, always ends up getting more confusion than work done. But sometimes you just gotta roll with it.

“OK, I guess that’s all the things we have to do, four to five hours of work, I think” I said stretching my arms, “I am gonna get a glass of water. You want?”

“No I am fine, I’ll eat my breakfast, it’s getting cold.” Jess said, yawning a little. Should have gotten her a coffee too. Oh well.

I came back from the water station and saw Jess just staring outside. Went to Jess’s desk and sat at my chair, “That water is so damn cold, hey you’re not eating?”, I looked at her. She looked miserable.

“Can’t eat, I forgot to get the silverware. I am so forgetful these days. Jeez Mannie, I am a mess”. She looked so angry, I couldn’t understand, just stared at her. She continued, “I mean we have to work on a Sunday because of my fault, I didn’t reply to Monica’s email on time and now she has us working. I keep missing little things everywhere, and everyone suffers. Oh god Mannie, I am so sorry.”

“Hey Jess it’s okay man, you don’t have to take it so hard on yourself, no one’s blaming you.” I said. Honestly, I had no idea what to say.

“No Mannie, I am going to screw everything up. My code sucks, I haven’t had a promotion in two years, the upper management hates me.” She was in tears now.

“Listen Jess, relax man. Let me pick up a fork and knife for you from the kitchen. Then you take a break and we will continue after that, okay?” I said as I ran out the door to the kitchen.

I was clueless, but I guess forks in roads can lead to all sorts of misery.

Rahul Jha