Fish Out of Water.

“Here, let me just staple it,” my coworker said. “Turn the slit to the side. You’ll be fine.”

There we stood, in the middle of the bullpen—the pit where workers sit elbow-to-elbow to maximize our office capacity—and I held my ripped black pencil skirt together while my coworker stapled the unraveling slit that inched higher and higher with every step that I took. As if the bobby pin to hold the bottom seam together wasn’t enough earlier that morning, as I ran out the door and realized this bargain skirt washed one-too-many times had seen better days.

Since returning from Texas, you could say I’ve tried to fit back into a lot of things. I remember on my first day back, I thought I saw a fish, wearing a suit, walking down the sidewalk. His shoulders lifted to his ears and his eyes bulged and his top button clutched his throat; the suit was a size too small, and he waddled on the tips of his fin from side to side. I thought to myself, I know exactly what that fish feels like.

In 27 days, I will board a plane for Poland. I will probably feel like a fish out of water there, but this time in a place I do not call home. Who knows what I will come back to—some still have tongues stained blue from rainbow icing on the marble sheet cake that they shared with water-cooler friends to celebrate their birthday, when someone decides their time is up. I wonder if they at least let them take the leftover cake.

All I know is that I am going to have one week in a new country without a phone. I hope I miss it all and that I can write pen pal letters about my adventures. I remember days as a kid at the lake when I got lost in the woods and climbed trees and only cared about the pattern of the birds’ whistles and the crash of the waves, and I had so much to say in a letter. I hope I take one week to just blurt out the love of Christ, like Dad’s inability to keep Mom’s Christmas gifts a surprise—uncontrollably and with no regrets. After all, some things aren’t meant to stay a secret.

The drama and the gossip will hang in my closet, alongside my mangled pencil skirt, and wait patiently for my return. I hope it all fits better when I get back this time—staples are a cheap fix that don’t hold for long, and, besides, I don’t think it’s the look I’m going for.

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