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Working Things Out

Working Things Out

The only thing worse than being in the same room with a fighting couple is to have that room be an office in which you're stuck for eight hours at a time.  

My co-workers and former roommates, Maureen and Jackie, had been fighting for the past three days.  I didn't suspect anything, at first, since the fight was mostly acted out silently: Jackie would enter the break room at the exact moment when Mo would be picking up her food to leave.  I'd ask an innocuous question like, "what did you guys do for Thanksgiving," and I'd get an answer like, "well, I went to my mother's house.  I have no idea what she did." 

OK, call me dense, but I still didn't catch the hint until yesterday, when I noticed the way that Jackie, her face a mask of rage, was pounding away on her computer keyboard in short staccato bursts of machine gun typing.  When I went into the computer lab and saw Maureen, wearing an equally angry expression, returning fire on her computer, I realized that they must be Google Chatting each other, and not in a pretty way. 

Our boss, Elston Caan, noticed what was happening well before I did.  He is always on the lookout for potential problems that could put a damper on business and take a bite out of his bottom line.  He pointed at Jackie's stone face in the front office, then  through the glass where Maureen was staring a hole into her monitor, and he told me, "you're the office manager.  These are your friends.  Fix this.  They're bumming me out and scaring the customers."

I logged into my computer and entered the virtual battlefield.  I created a Google chat room to which I invited both Jackie and Mo. 

Me:      So, what's up?

Jackie:  Nothing's up, except in Mo's mind.  Manny's back from Portland.

Me:      Well, that's great news.  Isn't it?

Mo:      Jackie slept with her.

Me:      So? I thought you guys were a triple? You always used to sleep together when I was living with you."

Jackie:  That's exactly what I told her!

Mo:      Well she's been gone for almost a year.  Things changed.

Jackie:   For you, maybe.  Unfortunately you forgot to tell either Manny or me about it.

Both Jackie and I waited, as the cursor flashed on and off, but Mo didn't  reply. 

Finally, Jackie declared, "oh, this is ridiculous."  I, who was sitting at the next desk, totally agreed.  I followed Jackie as she stormed into the computer lab.  We both stopped short when we found Maureen sitting with her head on the desk, her shoulders heaving. 

Jackie, gently stroked Maureen's back as Mo explained between sobs, "I guess I got used to doing the couple thing.  I really liked not having to share you with Manny or anyone else, not having to wait my turn for you to pay attention to me."

"I didn't know you felt that way," Jackie said.

Maureen sat up, and wiped her face on her sleeve.  "Do you want to know the worst thing about it?  I bought you this and was planning to give it to you for your birthday next month." 

Oh no, I thought, as I saw the velvet covered ring box. Surely Maureen knew better than to try to lure Jackie into some heteronormative courtship ritual.  Jackie is the most independent, free-thinking woman I know.  Together, she, Manuela, and Maureen were the poster children for polyamory, which I've always admired and to which I've aspired.  

You can imagine my surprise when I saw the look of unabashed pleasure on Jackie's face when she opened the box and took out the diamond ring.  I was even more astonished when Jackie squealed with delight as Mo placed the ring upon her finger, a perfect fit. 

"Oh yes, I will, I will..,"  Jackie murmured to Mo, between passionate kisses.

"Who is this woman," I wondered.

I was speechless,  textless, and Google chatless by the turn of events.  What kind of enchantment did nature put on diamond rings that turns every woman into Liz Taylor the minute she puts one on her finger?

Just then, Elston came into the lab, unnoticed by the embracing, newly engaged lovebirds.  He took one look at them, his mouth agape, then he gave me a thumbs up and left. 

Mission accomplished, I guess.