She talks animatedly, using gestures, her whole body turned towards me. Her eyes twinkle as she recounts the road trip she and her Mom took cross country. She described to me little tidbits of the cities and towns that they passed during the journey. “I hate Texas!” , she says. And proceeded to enumerate the things she hated about Texas with the same passion she displayed earlier. “I love all the national parks, we need more funding for the national parks”, she says. I laugh, I gasp, I am amazed and take in all her stories, all her emotions.
This is my co-worker. The girl who spends most of her time in front of the computer – stoic, monotonous. She comes in daily, says hi, exchange pleasantries and just sits there. You tell her something and she responds, still facing the computer. Monosyllabic responses.
Every once in a while she becomes this – the animated girl who has seen most of the world, experienced almost everything, had it all. Most of the time she is the employee who comes in, does the job half-heartedly and leaves early.
There are times when I wanted to ask – what happened to you? Why did a child genius end up not finishing college, got married at 16, left home at 18, got married to a man 15 years her senior? Why do you do this job where you sit in front of the computer where the work you do is mechanical, unthinking, not using your brain?
But I do not ask. I wait for the day when she chooses to tell me herself, without prodding, without questioning.
And I hope one day she finds what she has lost.