I get to work early most days. I sit in one of the break rooms and I type. Today I type these words. In earlier days I typed other words. Different words. Someone unfamiliar to me adrressed me by name a few moments ago. I don’t know who he is but I said hello. I spent most of my first year and a half here in a cube. Not a physical cubicle necessarily. I just did not want anyone here knowing anything about me. All I allowed was that before working here I was a “starving artist,” a statement which is not really true but I say it because I believe it to be relatable. There are a few people here who have done work in the arts. I don’t know them but they show up on the corporate intranet once in a while. I remember, now, when I got a job at Avon, the cosmetics company, my mother remarhed that companies like that have money they give to the arts. This is not wrong but I don’t think being an employee at the company would do anything but disqualify me from any such grants or awards. Sometimes I think about the off-base things my mother said. I still get irritated over her insistance that no musical composition ever changes key. There is never a key change in a piece of music, she would drag on and on. “Maybe an occasional modulation but music should never change key.” I still shake my head, at this very moment, over this repeated assertion of hers. But none of that matters now. Everyone is gone. I am alone in this world. My sister and I talk but our lives are separate. I have no one to talk to anymore. I make smaltalk at work, and occasionally let on some fabulous secret from my storied past. But I never let on enough for anyone to think they should look me up online, which would be radically easy to do if there was any interest. Must keep people uninterested. That’s why being addressed by name by someone I do not know, but who appeared to be a senior person here, has me worried that someone here will poke around into my past and find something unacceptable. Something conflicting with the interests of the company. I read news on the subways most days. I glom on to it like I’m starved for it when really I retain very little. Today I looked up from the news apps and assayed the people around me. I became most interested in an older woman, dramatic face, long grey hair, a sense of anticipation about her. She reminded me of a comment made by an older woman in a news piece somewhere, that an advantage of aging as a woman is you get far fewer unwanted advances from men. She must have been quite the looker. Or maybe she made up the sentiment as a sort of retroactive bitterness. There were two men sitting next to her. All of them stood up far earlier than seemed appropriate to prepare for deboarding the train. I think it might have been 45 seconds or longer that they and others stood, waiting for the door to open. That’s too long. Then I asked myself what am I doing here? I could be trapped in a freezer, or an enclosed bathtub filling with water knowing I will drown and that death is imminent. I could be getting assaulted by a stranger who thought my look, my gait, my attitude about everything signaled that I disrespected him. I could be at a bar, meeting new people and making connections. I could be in a new-to-me bathtub, showering with a woman and making dirty jokes and sex talk. I could be all these and more but instead I am assessing the unnecessary wait time of strangers on a subway train, people I think stood up far too soon to indicate their intention to exit the train when the doors open.