For ten years, I worked in a turkey-shaped concrete building that took up the whole block and sank two stories into the ground. The majority of the library’s entrances are on the second floor, suggesting those uninitiated to the institution should probably just keep walking instead of figuring out how to get in. Two slight slopes, enough to satisfy ball-fetching dogs, curve down to meet the bottom of the windows on the first floor. As he returned from his break, my colleague informed me that there was a cat downstairs in the tiny valley, understandably anxious because he didn’t know how to get around the building. He bounced off angled exterior slabs and wide staircase rails, posed for several photographs, and eventually I caught a long enough look at the tag on his collar to punch it into my phone. “Ugh, everyone keeps calling. It’s my boyfriend’s cat,” the sleepy voice on the other end replied, “he’ll come back.”
I went up back upstairs to open the department for the day, and one of the student workers learned from Facebook that a cat managed to enter the building through the revolving doors and was presently evading capture in the library.
On the west side was a retaining wall that caught beautiful sun for six hours a day. If you exited through the loading dock no one would notice how long you were gone for. The ledge was wide enough to support coffee and baked goods to be divided two to three ways. If Rufflecat was on the sidewalk you could see them from half a block away. If you lean back all the way, lying on your back in the grass, you don’t want to leave. The most effective way to break the union is to ignore high-achieving workers until their morale crumbles. It was here that you helped me realize I had something to say.