Office Christmas Party

4 January 2019 in Writing

I scan the crowded room for a piece of wood or foam noodle, anything to make a life raft and stay afloat amidst the din. I hear the Christmas music and appreciate it as if it is wallpaper, the farthest layer of sound in the small space, collaged over by pieces and fragments of voices and sound effects. Drinks line the bar, gorgeous jewels in glasses, before—clink, clank—they’re whisked away, smashed one to another, their saturated crystal mouths forced to kiss while the humans laugh.

The smells of limes and lemons hover, observing everything like dust.

Everyone talks at once, two over three, two over five, a trio in the west, the stars in the east. I hear bits of every conversation but never enough to know what anyone is really saying. It’s a murky soup of a language I never learned, or, is it the brilliant trick of changing languages with every word. I can’t hear, so I’ll never know.

I see the delicious food going uneaten on the buffet table in back. There are no dinner rolls, no anything to make little pillow rooms or megaphones around my ears and suddenly deafen myself or hear everything. Yes, I would dial in my presence at this party by absentee dinner roll, if I could. Mouths open and gulp all around me. Open. Close. Open. I can tell by the eyebrows: They are eager for me to contribute to the feeding. I watch the eyebrows up and down, wriggling like caterpillars. What do you say? Oh Christmas caterpillar, translate, please, translate.