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george bailey Snow was falling in Bedford. Big heavy flakes muffled Georgia’s footsteps as she pulled open the front doors of her organization. Sighing, she entered the elevator and pushed the button for the third floor. Clutched in her hand was her resignation letter.
Heading for the CEO’s office, she ran her fingers over the paintings on the hallway walls. I’m going to miss this place, she thought. And I can’t even think about how much I’m going to miss the volunteers.
The hallway was deserted. All the better to sneak the resignation under the executive’s door. She could slip it under and then head downstairs to sit at her desk and try to keep up with the overwhelming workload. She paused and thought about some of her favorite volunteers and how she knew she was letting them down. “It would be better for the volunteers if I just quit. I’m tired of trying. I’m not helping them at all,” she mouthed to the empty hall. As she stood staring at the Executive Director’s oak door, she caught movement out of the corner of her eye. Looking around, she saw a frail woman dressed in an old fashioned lace dress staring at her from down the hall. For a moment Georgia shivered and then a sense of calm came over her. “Can I help you?” she asked. The woman walked towards her, clear eyes sparkling in a time worn face. “I’m Clarise” she said, “your guardian angel.”george and clarence
Georgia caught her breath. Was she up here alone with this crazy woman?
Clarise smiled a smile of the ages. “You’re thinking of quitting, is that correct my dear?” She pointed at the rolled up resignation in Georgia’s hand.
“How did you know?” Georgia whispered. She clutched the paper to her as her eyes welled up with tears and her frustration spilled over. “I can’t take it anymore. I can’t do this. There’s just so much work, so many requests, and I can’t get to them all. I shouldn’t be here and I never should have started working here in the first place. I’m a failure.”
“You think that would have been the right choice?” Clarise prodded gently. “I think we should make that happen, yes, I do declare, that is such a good idea,” and she waved her hand. ” There. You don’t work here. You never did.” She touched Georgia’s arm. Her fingers were electric. “Come, my dear, let’s take a walk.”
In shock, Georgia followed the odd stranger down the hallway towards the elevator. Am I dreaming? she thought. They stepped out of the elevator just as the staff was filtering in for the day. Georgia nodded to the mingling staff members who looked at her with strangers’ eyes. No one said hello. “Come,” Clarise motioned for Georgia to follow. She brought Georgia to her office and opened the door. Georgia gasped at the sight of her bare office. Her computer and phone sat on an empty desk. The walls were devoid of notes, pictures, trinkets and tacked up letters. “Who stole my things?” Georgia cried as she opened drawers and touched empty shelves.
“You don’t work here, remember?”
Georgia whirled around. “What did you do?” She crumpled down on the corner of the desk. “Who are you?”
“I told you, dear. I’m your guardian angel and I’m here to show you what life is like because you do not work here. Do you want to see?”
Before Georgia could protest, there was a knock at the door. “Come in,” Georgia called eagerly. The door opened and a tall man with short hair and glasses peered in.
“Charles!” Georgia exclaimed. “Please, come in. I don’t know what happened here, but this woman,” she pointed at Clarise, “this woman took all my things. And she’s talking crazy talk. I think she cast a spell on me or something.”
Charles looked nervously from one woman to the other. “How do you know me? And what are you doing in Dale’s office? Do you have no shame? The man died. I was coming down to see if everything had been removed.”
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Georgia’s voice trembled, “Charles, don’t you know me?”
Charles frowned. “I’m sorry, I’m going to have to ask you two to leave. I can call security if I need to.”
Clarise stepped forward and put a hand on Charles’ arm. “That won’t be necessary, Charles. We’ll be out of your way in just a few minutes.” She looked up at him and for a moment he seemed to lapse into a trance. Then he snapped out of it and muttered, “fine, ok, just lock the door when you leave.”
As Charles left, Clarise turned towards Georgia. “Well, it looks like we have some undisturbed time, dear. Now, let’s you and I look at your life since you don’t work here. Do you want to see?”
Georgia’s shoulders drooped. “yes,” she said, resigned,”if it will make this nightmare go away.”
“Good, come sit down.” Clarise patted the desk chair. She turned on the computer. It glowed, flickered and sputtered to life. Images flashed at rapid speed and then as they slowed, Georgia saw glimpses of her childhood, then school, then marriage and the parade of images slowed to show her getting a job in a large office. She saw herself sitting in a cubicle. She was crying.
(to be continued….)