“You’re excited to work the night shift,” she said

on

“Because your first shift’s a good one,” she said.

I nodded in agreement. I still couldn’t believe it. This is how much I’m
looking forward to it.

“I’m excited too,” I told her. I wanted to cry. This couldn’t be it!

“A little nervous?” she asked.

No, it’s not nervous. It’s scary. I haven’t been on a customer service job
before.

“No,” I answered. “Just excited to work in the night-shift.” It’s only one
more night before I get to hit the clock. The shift change is less than a year
away.

She smiled. “A little nervous. I’m excited too.”

I nodded with conviction. Just make it through the first night shift without
getting fired or making a huge mistake in your work, and you’ll be all right.

She smiled. “You’re a good man,” she said.

“What did you say?”

“It’s a great name,” she said. “It’s just not the best.”

I sighed. That’s because I hadn’t yet begun my service at night. Not that
I’m ready to stop, just not yet.

“I know,” I said. “It’s only a year away.” I was about to get my first day
working that day.

“Good luck.”

“Same to you,” I said as I walked away.

That was a mistake.

When you’re not the boss, it’s so easy to push people aside and not think of
them as co-workers. Once I finished the night shift, I realized she was right
– my new co-workers were important.

I sat down on the sofa and pulled out the sticky note. It was time to see
if anyone from my old co-workers was on the job. The first answer was “No.”

“How many of your old co-workers still work the night shift?” I asked.

I was surprised to learn that two of my old co-workers were on the night shift.
I’d never asked them before. I was relieved to hear that. I’m excited to work
at the station. I don’t want to disappoint my new coworkers.

The second answer was “I have a new co-worker.”

I was surprised.

“Who?”

“Angie,” she said. I must have asked her a hundred times if she was on the
job yet. She always said that she was.

“This is great, Angie,” I said. “It makes me realize how important it is to
work for you.”

“I’m glad, Brian,” she said.

The third answer surprised me again. “I’m on the night-shift. But I’m looking
for another co-worker. I’m not looking for any one specifically. I’m looking
for anyone on the night shift who’s as reliable as I am and who will do the
same tasks with the same attention to detail.”

“That sounds like you,” I said. “I’m so glad to hear it.”

That was a mistake. The next day, I walked through the gate and started to go
to work. It was like I was waking up after a long nap and someone turned on
the light.

I noticed the security guard in the guard station across the street. I wondered
if he had a day to get to the gate or if he was on the job for an hour and
then went back to bed. I sat down on the floor and pulled out the sticky note.
I wanted to surprise him with it right away. But I had to find more answers
before I walked in.

The third answer was as expected. “Of course.”

I was surprised again. “Why aren’t you telling me that?”

“Because we’re not married,” he replied.

“I know,” I said. “But I want to marry you.” That made me laugh. But he didn’t
laugh. Instead he looked at me with sadness and said, “Sometimes I think you
need to forget about me.”

“Not necessarily. A man can still dream.”

“I remember the day you wanted to marry me.”

“You were so young,” I said.

“Now you’re too old.”

I laughed. That made him laugh too. It was like we were both just kids
again, laughing in the same way we would laugh over how stupid we were as kids
– pretending we were all grown up with enough money to buy things we wanted
which we really didn’t need.

“Just joking,” he said.

“Okay.”

“And I don’t know how to make you laugh.”

“That’s okay. My laughter would get stuck somewhere in my throat and I’d have
no choice but to cough it out.”

“I’m serious. I can’t do anything to make you laugh.”

“What makes you think you can?”

“You know I love you. I just want to see if I can stop feeling this way about
you.”

“You can’t stop feeling this way about me just because I want to stop feeling
this way about you. Not in this lifetime.”

“What do you mean?”

“We made a commitment to each other. I don’t want any feelings to go away
just so we can live out our lives together.”

“And that would mean not being married.”

“I’m very serious. We made a promise to love each other and cherish each
other. We can’t break our promises.”

“Yeah.”

“Promise me.”

“I promise.”

I had to stop thinking of myself as a woman with a career in mind.

“I know you’re having doubts and that would be hard to hear, Brian. You don’t
have to tell me about it though. I don’t want to hear it. I want to believe
that you can be happy with me and we can continue to be happy.”

“I do too.”

“It would be good to be together, Brian. When this is all said and done, do
you think you’d ever regret being part of my life?”

“No.”

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