now that you are working for the government

If you had a red blazer and a red pencil skirt, in twenty years you’d look like a first lady or that woman in The Sixth Sense who poisoned her children. You remember noticing how it seemed as if her mouth couldn’t possibly open, her lipstick hot glued on, medium-rare and irrefutably guilty. Today a man at your office is trying to sell his lousy old books about finding god in Generation X. The man at your office calls you “doll” because you are a secretary. You try not to look like a secretary, but some days this means you end up looking like a teenage funeral director. You eat three donuts, rearrange the icons on your desktop, save drafts of heartfelt emails so you’ll have some context clues when you forget how you’re supposed to feel about these proper nouns that won’t stop crowding up your life-space. It’s late December. The man at your office hands you a gift card for a website that’s only valid when purchasing from the collection “Just for Her.” You go to lunch by yourself, forget your headphones; a stranger rolls down his car window, says you’re what he wants for Christmas.

Chelsea Margaret Bodnar is a 24-year-old writer living in Pittsburgh, PA, where she may be found playing videogames, watching action movies, and squandering her English degree by working a desk job as a secretary at the Allegheny County Office of the Public Defender.