Alex was fifty-eight years old and he wanted to be a poet, not a bookkeeper. The thing is, he never actually wrote poems. It was much easier to google poetic forms and write down the format for a cinquain – five lines, with an ababb, abaab or abccb rhyme scheme – than to actually write one.
But he may have finally stumbled onto something. He figured out that he could do a poem a week – which meant he could do fifty-two poems in a year, enough for a self-published volume of poems – if he worked on them during lunch. Except for Maria.
“Alex,” she said, “why are you sitting over here by yourself? I got a table for everybody in the banquet room. Don’t be so standoffish.”
Everybody was the entire staff of Waldron and Waldron, CPAs. He had made the mistake of telling Maria, the office manager, about Templeman’s, just two blocks from the office and, until now, usually overlooked by the downtown Seattle professional types. Now Maria had everybody showing up there for lunch.
He closed his laptop and the old-school composition book where he kept his ideas. He stuffed them into his shoulder bag and followed her. When they got to the banquet room she announced, “Alex has agreed to stop being a dork and join us. Let’s hear it for Alex.” A couple of of his friends from bookkeeping started a slow clap. Everybody else glanced up for a second, then went back to gabbing.
Maria had Alex sit next to her, then ignored him while she talked to Chuck, about how to deal with accelerated depreciation for software installations. He ate his PB&J sandwiches and bag of Fritos without saying anything to anybody.
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