Quetta slid her finger
across her smartphone. Gorgeous sunsets over mountaintops and stunning sunrises
over colorful beaches sequentially filled her screen. Quetta sighed. Darren,
her manager, had warned her against squandering work hours and savings on
Contrariwise, Susy, that
girl in the cubicle next door, the one with the perfectly almond-shaped nails
and the layered bob, the one with endless tales of Tinder matches, and the one
who brought sushi rolls, or quinoa bowls, daily, for lunch, had gushed about
Phantom Ship Island at Crater Lake National Park and about the Oku Volcanic
Field in Cameroon. If Susy was to be believed, nothing compared to visiting
sites where volcanoes once dominated or where they still spewed.
Worse, during her annual
review, when Quetta had complained about her lack of a raise, Darren had had
the audacity to suggest that Quetta ought not to focus on funding travels, but
on the campfire marshmallows that she shared with her brother, her
sister-in-law, and her nieces. Moreover, Darren had deigned to mention that
recently, not one, but three, tourists had died falling into carnivore
exhibits, at various zoos, while taking interesting
Adopt a pound
puppy, he had warmly opined after reprimanding Quetta for not submitting
all of her reports on time. He had then added that there was no danger that
Quetta would be firedbut there was also no guarantee of her being
promoted if her performance kept on being subpar.
For twelve more months,
Susy spoke of her plans to vacation in Mali and Bangladesh. She told her
watercooler audience about the importance of photographing the Tomb of Askia
and about the significance of hiking around Sompua Mahavihara. It was of
consequence, to her, too, to rent a boat at Inani Beach.
Meanwhile, Quetta filed her
reports on time. Additionally, she continued to regularly host her extended
family. Her nieces had progressed to smores. Her sister-in-law had
organized her coat closet. Her younger brother remained her cherished, only
sibling. For their anniversary, Quetta: used up three vacation days, moved into
their apartment, and set off balloons as they left for the two nights at a
country inn, for which she had paid.
That year, rather than a
raise, Quetta received temporary job security; the company was downsizing.
Darren had looked authentically troubled when offering Quetta only position
retention. Nonetheless, as usual, he had smiled when listening to her accounts
of her family.
Whats more, just as
Quetta was stepping out of his office, he asked her to reseat herself.
Thereafter, he took a ventilated box from a corner, opened it, revealed a
puppy, and then handed the young dog to her. Take the rest of the day
Darren, this is
against company policy in so many ways.
Quetta looked her boss up
and down. He was mildly pleasing to the eyes. He was also a straightforward man
and a loyal employee.
Besides, you need
time to get ready for our pizza date.
against company rules!
Yup. Do you
That summer, Quetta used
most of her vacation time to visit the local water park, to watch the
towns minor league team, and to stopover at many of the countys
pizza joints. After all, she and Darren had been charged, by her family, with
rating all of those eateries.
In the interim, Susy raved
about sleeping with a minor rock star in order to acquire tickets to Eurovision
and about attending Eurovision, itself. She had posted her bucket list outside
of her cubicle and every time that she managed to complete an item, she
publicized her feat. Her next two goals were to be cast as a movie extra and to
do so via a directors couch.
Quettas nieces had
advanced from smores to hot dogs. With Darren participating, family
cookouts had become more interesting. Equally, waterpark outings had gotten
better since Darren, unlike Quetta, was willing to ride the loop-de-loop slide,
which was the nieces favorite attraction.
By the time that her next
annual review was scheduled, Quetta was wearing a gemstone on her ring finger
and was in the process of leaving the company. She had given notice so that
Darren didnt have tohis boss had promised to look the other
way on their relationship as long as one of them quit.
Although Quetta had only
six weeks left on payroll, she participated in her annual assessment since she
intended to discuss honeymoon plans. As it was, it had become more and more
difficult to discuss serious matters with her beloved. It was his entirely
fault that he was so kissable.
No, and its
brother, no, wagged Darren when Quetta suggested traveling to North Korea
after their wedding.
Susys been to
plenty of countries bearing travel warnings.
Tell that to the
families of tourists, who flew to places run by organized crime or corrupt
governments, and who, after landing, were murdered. Why shouldnt we
likewise emulate that youth, the one who fell off of the lip of the Grand
Canyon, or that woman, the one who died doing a backflip on the rooftop ledge
of a twenty story building?
Point made. Niagara
Could. No barreling
over the precipice, though.
Could, but I have no
interest in Wilmingtons bars.
Our vacation has to
What if, instead, we
WWOOFed on a New Zealand farm? I figure two months would be nice. Youll
be between jobs and
Ive already arranged for an extended vacation
time via saved up days and unpaid leave.
I love you, too.
Lets stay on this coast and WWOOF with goats. After hours, we could check
out more pizzerias.
Oregon? White Salmon, Washington? I did some research in anticipation of your
I thought you were
marrying me for my smile.
So, I suppose it
doesnt really matter where we go.