Cool air flows in through the door, left slightly ajar by some coworkers who haven’t figured out that it’s too heavy to close on its own, and licks at my cheek. It smells of rain, and the dark clouds above my office building agree. We’ve been getting so much rain lately, I sometimes forget that I live in Southern California and, by this time, it would usually be warm enough for a light T-shirt and some shorts. Not today, though. Today, the weather is gloomy, humid and threatening a light rain. I suppose I should be happy for the plants and rivers being nourished by all the water, and I am inside, but I’m also tired of the cold. I’m ready to be past the feelings of exhaustion that settle over me anytime the sun is blocked out. I’ve been living this feeling for several weeks now, ready to curl up and take a nap at a moment’s notice, staving off the cold with mugs of warm water and teas.
I slept poorly last night, so today is proving to be slightly harder than any other day. I nod off mentally, letting the wind wake up my senses just enough to stroke at my imagination. Goosebumps cover my flesh, and the familiar sense of falling tugs at my chin. The white office lends no helping hand in pulling me from this state, neither do my empty inboxes or silent coworkers. I’ve earned a rest, I know, and it would only be for a moment. I relax my eyes and lean into my white and silver desk chair.
Opaque glass panels separate the reception room from the kitchen, where the white counters are lined with silver canisters of various coffees to be used in our silver coffee pot. Two hallways spread the space out into multiple smaller offices, also taken up by silver, white, and glass equipment with sprinklings of black laptops added in every now and then. Before I’d arrived, even the laptops were silver. Many people walk in to the office and are taken aback by how minimal and clean the decorations are. It never feels, warm, though. Even in the midst of the summer heat waves, the space always feels doctor’s office cold.
My eyes naturally drift to the single most interesting object I have available to me- a blown-up picture of a resort that mocks me from across the room. Artfully printed on glass panels and hung over the waiting room chairs, it features the only colored photo in the office. Fire pits in the foreground taunt me with their idea of warmth and comfort, begging me to warm my hands against their flames. Yellow, brown, and off-white buildings in the background stand tall and regal against the Arizona rocks hiding just behind, expecting only the most renowned people to open their doors and experience their mysteries. In the center of the photo, a sparkling, “T” shaped pool is outlined by empty patio chairs. The pool water looks cold, but it’s a comforting, brisk cold that breaks up the warmth of the setting sun that casts a gold shadow over the image. Fresh palm trees poke out at random intervals, their fronds reaching toward the dusk sky, eager for growth and light. I can never remember the name of this place, but I visit it every day just before the exhaustive cold sets in to my bones.
The guests greet this photo with pleasured smiles, excitement, curiosity, and appreciation. “Where was this taken?” they ask, and, of course, I never know the answer. “A resort in Arizona” I say in a way that deters any ideas that I might actually care about this image, “We did work for it a few years ago.”
But I do care, and, in the wee hours of the workday morning, or just before 5 O’clock on the dot, I always get caught up in its promises. One day, perhaps I’ll warm my hands on those flames and find out what mysteries hide behind those doors. I might even be able to take a camera and snap this exact picture from memory to keep for myself.