growing up, my mom worked at a doctor's office downstairs from our apartment. i remember going in to say hello after getting dropped off after school. i remember sitting in the chair next to her desk, watching her answer the phone and filling in the lines of the doctor's appointment book. i remember looking at the newest pens from pharmaceutical reps. i remember listening to the clackity-clack clamor of the typewriter as my mom swiftly moved her fingers across the keys. i remember the hum of the copy machine and the warmth of the sheets of paper it ejected. i remember hiding underneath her desk in the winter time right in front of the electric heater in the wall with its red-hot coils exuding warmth. sometimes she would let me stay there, hiding, while she sat down with a patient at her desk.
i hated when my mom told me to get up because a patient needed to sit in the chair i occupied. i would stand in the back hallway, hidden from view, peeking, listening, waiting for my chance to return.
i loved when my mom had to get up to escort a patient to a room. while she weighed them and made notes in their chart, i spun myself in circles in her office chair and rooted through her drawers for Tic Tacs, Coffee Nips, and the odd Werther's hard candy.
i never left voluntarily. my mom had to tell me to go upstairs to have a snack and do my homework. most days, i found reasons to call her at the office. sometimes she stopped picking up because she knew i was only calling to ask if i could have a cookie or get the Lite Brite down from the top of a closet. there was a simple solution for this. i would walk into the hallway right in front of my bedroom and stomp on the hardwood floors directly above her desk. after a few stomps, she would call the house phone and tell me to stop. she sounded irritated and told me to stop bothering her at work, but, looking back, i think she knew that i just wanted to hear her voice. i think she knew that i wished i could stay down there in the office with her all day, watching her work, listening to her talk, feeling her near. i think she knew that i liked her best out of everyone in the whole wide world.