“I’m sorry, but we’re going to have to let you go.”
“I’m sorry?” Pat leaned forward in her seat, not quite sure if she’d heard her boss correctly. The past month had been a stressful one, constant rumors concerning layoffs within the company she’d worked five years for running the circuit. Pat had held out hope history still meant something when it came to big companies and budgetary cuts, but…
“Yeah,” her boss said, scrunching his eyebrows together uncomfortably. “The economy being what it is, plus with the new healthcare and all, we really just can’t afford it.”
“Workers or healthcare?” Pat asked.
“Both. But look on the bright side,” he swung from side to side in his chair. “You have that other job at your church.”
“I’m a deacon.” Pat said slowly, hoping he would understand.
“That’s right,” he nodded. “At least you’ll still have income from that.” Her boss smiled brightly. Pat stared across the desk at him. She opened her mouth and then closed it. She didn’t have the fight left in her to correct him that no, the church did not pay her for anything. “You have until closing today to clean out your office. We wish you the best of luck.”
Pat sat the rest of the day staring blankly at her computer screen. The usual questions and scenarios fluttered through her mind. This was not the first time she had been let go, not the first time she’d suddenly found herself without a job or income. Straightening in her chair she dashed all dark thoughts from her mind. She was too old for such drama. Picking up her phone she dialed the unemployment office and waited. The quicker she began the process, the less time she would have to live in it.
Later that night found Pat at her church; it felt right finding solace in her fellow man during difficult times.
“And I said, retire at 65? Why do I have to wait so long? Other people are retiring at 60!”
Pat looked at Mr. Pink, a man part of her congregation for the better part of ten years, with barely controlled contempt. The man across from her continued his rant, twenty minutes deep, of having to wait for his celebratory trip to the Bahamas to “finally start living.” As a deacon, Pat was instructed in kindness and forgiveness in all ways. As a deacon, she thought she was prepared for any vile, foul thing a person could say to cross her path with little to no affect. But even God had a temper.
Raising her hand she brought it down across Mr. Pink’s face, leaving a red mark of bitter indignation in its wake. Looking at her, he fought to keep tears from moistening the corners of his eyes. Suited him right, Pat thought. No one was going to tell her about retiring to the beach until she could do it herself.