Amnesia Didn’t Come to Her
Jennifer Pieroni

Tara hadn’t slept. It was a virus. She was dehydrated. On her way out for work, she fell down the stairs but amnesia didn’t come to her. Everything at home was urgently familiar, just the same but Marc was not, passed out by Tara’s/his desk. He was small, his legs crossed intellectually even though he slept. Because she knew he would not wake, Tara checked his forehead. Sick too. Another reason he should leave.

She got to the office early to use the machines freely. Her coworker came to work early too, from the gym. She sat on the collating table and made nasty jokes about Marc, Tara’s so-called “starter” husband who the coworker had only met at the mixers.

Tara explained that during lunch, she was going to City Hall for the forms. The coworker wanted to go.

“For the experience?” Tara asked, knowing it wasn’t possible. The coworker was fortunate.

“For the support,” the coworker said.

Tara spent the morning playing word games, answering e-mails and phone calls whenever they came in. At noon, the coworker instant messaged her and they met in the lobby restaurant. Tara took a cocktail right away to train down her meanness.

“You look tired,” the coworker said. “We should get you some under-eye cream as a reward.”

It was all crap, Tara thought, and changed the subject back to work. After lunch, they crossed the park to the plaza. City Hall had a conference going. They went through the security checkpoint and x-ray machine, then walked down a hallway with long tables displaying what was left of the box lunches.

The coworker said she remembered the room. So did Tara.

“Some people must think we’re lesbians,” the coworker said, pinching Tara’s ass.

The line moved slowly. A young couple with an infant took a long time, but eventually they passed.

Tara told the woman behind the counter that she would like to take the forms with her and not fill them out right there.

“You can’t mail them,” the woman said when she returned with the stack.

“Fine,” Tara said stuffing them in her purse.

“And you can’t forget your identification,” the woman said.

As they left, the coworker called the woman a bitch. And then they talked about other bitches as they left the building and crossed the plaza. Tara’s heel got stuck in the bricks and she stepped out of her shoe. The coworker didn’t notice. Tara turned around, holding the bare foot off the ground as if it were lame. With both hands she tugged her shoe from the wedge.

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