As the automatic doors parted at his approach, sending a frigid gust of air conditioning into his freshly shaven face, Jack nervously adjusted his tie. He had spent much time on that tie, knotting and unknotting it that morning until it lay just right on his crisp shirt and ceased to resemble what it undeniably was: a noose. The tie was navy; just dark enough to be businesslike, should he be interviewed by man, but exactly the right shade to bring out the blue in his eyes for a female interviewer. Or, at least, that’s what Jenna had said. Jenna had been up earlier than he had that morning, making pancakes and tucking a note of encouragement into the bagged lunch he now carried, as if he were a child off to the first day of school, instead of a grown man seeking the first adult job of his life. Sometimes Jenna acted more like his mother than his girlfriend.
Jack greeted the secretary and took a seat, resting the briefcase on his lap, and tracing the letters embossed in the leather with slightly trembling fingers. It had been his father’s briefcase, as well as his pride, and it bore his name, John Reynolds, in neat cursive on its smooth handle. John Reynolds was careful to put his name on all that he owned, including his son. Even the resume resting in that very briefcase now bore the dreaded label, introducing him to his interviewer as John Reynolds II. Jenna had said it looked more professional, and Jack had given in, figuring he needed all the help he could get. “Lead guitarist of Canada’s first neoclassical speed metal band” somehow didn’t look right when typed in Times New Roman against the creamy background of the parchment he bought specifically for his resume, especially since the band broke up within a month. Jack sighed and set the briefcase on the ground in agitation. It was pretty much empty anyway.
On his feet were the green converses that he had worn since high school. They were, in fact, probably the only article of clothing that he had kept from his glory days. Jenna had tried to get him to leave them home, of course, pushing a new pair of loafers in his face with the hysteria of a self-proclaimed fashion addict. On this one issue, however, Jack stood firm. He had lost his name, but he damn well wasn’t about to lose his shoes. The door opened and Jack was on his feet, adjusting his tie nervously. At the nod of the secretary, he strode forward, briefcase in hand, and crossed the threshold, his sneakers squeaking in protest.
© 2017 Elyse Maupin-Thomas