• Vol. 10
  • Chapter 09

The office drained her of colour

At 9am she became a prim black dress
wearing shoes that went to bed early
saying no thank you to seconds of spaghetti
There wasn’t room for personality here –  
not sandwiched between ringing phones
and sealed letters full of nagging

The greying men smoked in the boardroom
spouting impossible acronyms
yelling when they needed anything
The women ignored their abject arrogance
which dripped from the ceiling
with their nicotine

But when the clock stopped at 5pm
and she was spat back onto the street
with the other perms and tights
she flamingoed
Out came the candyfloss mackintosh
and an umbrella, nectarine orange,
spinning vibrant on her shoulder.

She stopped traffic of course
Bleak women in mud-brown cars
pulled up to ask for directions –
without needing them
The coat topped up their spirit
just as their kind words topped up hers
a buoyancy for long and stifled days