I am lost, and I cannot find myself in this ocean of emotions. Some days I am motionless. Some days I wake up ready to move mountains, yet by midday, I am already tired, and I am not sure if my morning energy was just the caffeine kicking in. I get to work and run my fingers over the keyboard all day long, setting up meetings, putting papers in order, and going about my day with little interaction. Everything is virtual; not a soul in sight, not a person around to exchange a few words. I have colleagues, but everyone seems to avoid conversations, absorbed in their work or perhaps their thoughts. Janine from marketing is planning her wedding, definitely not focused on the tasks she is doing. She’s a bit annoying these days, but what can you say to a girl who thinks the wedding day is the most important of all? I will not tell her my opinion about it; I am not even invited, thank goodness. Andrea from HR is ready to retire, even though she still has a couple of years left—it seems like she has been ready for years now. Her children are already grown up, and her worries are related to the next cruise she booked in advance, where she will go with her friends and enjoy her third vacation this year—and it’s only May. James from IT is so seldom seen that I forget he works with us. He is in the office every day, before everyone, but he is just not available. He packs his lunch and stays in his office, tapping those keyboard keys as if he were the next Liszt. I rarely need him, so it doesn’t even matter where he is.

And then there is Jay. Well… Jay is the new employee. But I’ll be damned if I talk about him. Why would I care that he is lean, 6ft tall, with black crow hair and sparking emerald eyes? He is not even interesting, not when he parks his motorcycle in front of the office, with his tight jeans stretched over his legs, and the leather jacket clinging to his body. No, he is not. And when he takes off his helmet, his messy hair looks even better. Despite my claims to the contrary, I can’t help but notice every detail about Jay. As I observe him, mesmerized, I see the subtle nuances of his daily routine that seem to escape the notice of others. He begins each morning by meticulously organizing his desk, and aligning his pens and notepad with an almost surgical precision. It’s a ritualistic dance that captivates me—every movement is deliberate and poised. Throughout the day, Jay takes frequent short walks around the office. He strides confidently, yet there is a softness to his steps, a quiet grace that belies his imposing frame. Sometimes he pauses by the window, gazing out as if lost in thought or perhaps savoring a brief moment of solitude. I wonder what goes through his mind during these reflective interludes. During lunch, unlike others who rush to the cafeteria or out to the nearest eatery, Jay prefers the solitude of the small park behind our building. He sits there alone, a half-eaten sandwich in one hand, a book in the other. His concentration is palpable, and I find myself curious about the world contained within the pages that so thoroughly captivate his interest. In meetings, he is equally intriguing. He speaks sparingly, but each word carries weight, each suggestion is thoughtful and considered. Observing him, I notice how his eyes light up with a spark of passion when discussing projects he’s invested in, and how attentively he listens to others, never interrupting, always processing. By the end of the day, as the sun begins to dip below the horizon, casting long shadows across the office floor, Jay meticulously shuts down his computer, organizes his papers, and places everything exactly as it was when he arrived. It’s this meticulous attention to detail that I find so fascinating, so utterly captivating. Despite my resolve to remain detached, I find myself drawn to him, absorbed in the simple elegance of his daily rituals. Yet, I will never tell him how deeply I observe, how intently I watch—my secret fascination hidden beneath a veneer of indifference.

I try to keep a low profile because I’m concerned about what Jay might think if he sees my desk, which is almost always a mess. It’s cluttered with scattered papers, a few forgotten coffee mugs, and sticky notes in every imaginable color sticking out at odd angles. The only lively thing on my desk is my cactus, which, by some miracle, has survived almost a year. It’s not only survived; it has thrived, doubling in size. But I’ve adorned it with googly eyes, making it seem like it’s watching everything—Jay included. I worry he might find it odd, or perhaps even think I’m weird. As for my attire, it doesn’t strictly adhere to the office dress code. I do wear dresses, but they’re usually adorned with floral patterns, and I choose them specifically to conceal my figure, which isn’t quite what it used to be. Then there’s my mind and my too-eager mouth, which I struggle to rein in every day. That’s another reason I keep to myself; my words tend to escape before my thoughts fully form. And as for those thoughts—well, they often involve Jay on his motorcycle, but it’s probably best I keep that to myself.

But today, I decided to do something different, even though it’s a small thing. I took all my colorful sticky notes that were all over my desk and monitor and sorted them by color. Reds are for really important stuff, oranges for meetings, yellows for things I need to remember, greens for my own notes, blues for deadlines, and purples for when I have fun ideas. It might not seem like a big deal to anyone else, but to me, it felt like I was making my desk a little neater and maybe even a bit more interesting. It was just a simple change, but it made me feel like I was starting something new.

As I focus on arranging the sticky notes, it becomes like a little game, seeing how neatly I can line them up and how organized I can make my space look. With each color-coded note that I place, my mind drifts less to Jay and more to the satisfaction of tidying up. I start to feel a bit better, a bit more in control. Who knew that such a simple task could be so absorbing? Time flies, and before I know it, most of the afternoon has passed. By the time I finish, not only does my desk look brighter and more cheerful, but I also feel a sense of accomplishment. It’s nice to focus on something other than Jay for a while. Maybe tomorrow, I’ll even tackle those old files or finally sort out my email inbox.

Just when I thought I had everything under control and my sticky note sorting had successfully diverted my attention from Jay, he walks over to my desk. With a casual smile, he says, “Hey, we’ve got a project to work on together. Looks like we’ll be desk buddies for the next few hours.” There I was, surrounded by my newly organized rainbow of sticky notes, and now I had to share my space with Jay—Mr. Motorcycle, Mr. Mysterious. Of all the timing! I couldn’t help but laugh a little inside at the irony. All my efforts to avoid him, and here he was, being assigned as my partner. As we pulled our chairs closer, my mind raced. “Great, now he’ll notice the googly eyes on my cactus,” I thought. “Maybe he’ll think they’re quirky… or maybe he’ll just think I’m weird.” “Nice cactus,” Jay commented, not missing a beat and with a grin that suggested he found the googly eyes more amusing than strange. “Thanks,” I replied, suddenly grateful for my earlier tidying spree. “He’s my little project manager.” As we settled into the project, the hours flew by with laughter and light-hearted banter. Turns out, sharing a space with Jay wasn’t just unavoidable; it was unexpectedly fun.

Next time I feel the need for a change, I’ll start with changing a lightbulb—hopefully, it’ll be more inspiring. And who knows? Maybe it’ll brighten up my ideas as much as it brightens up the room. At the very least, it’ll keep me from rearranging my sticky notes again or adding more googly eyes to office plants, which clearly seems to invite unexpected company!

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