Catherine Ormell

Office, retrospective

Office retrospective
Catherine Ormell

The buses are largely empty but have not forsaken Hamilton! One spider plant hangs on in unhappening space shedding on filing, and over on the bookcase, a client gift presides: a pail of gourmet salt, the sentiment, pure Los Angeles, the crumbly stuff, pure Essex. I dash in and out of the Ladies leaving taps running on full and, in my flight, knock a phone clean out of its cradle. Now an aseptic voice tells empty sunlit desks: There are no valid calls in the system.

Earlier, a figure coughed in the street and the cough hung around, like a stray. Distracted, we ran across the road, tripped into a binman’s expletive-rich aerosol – binmen not making the radio’s keyworker list. Much later, recovered, we Zoom from home to home, and the team ask fondly after the mystic salt – so, we rattle the pail end-of-era-wise, much like we thumped random desks at school in those last moments before the future pitched us out into the street, furiously. 

First published in The Spectator