The Purse

purse“I said I wanted to see the Lockit PM, not the Alma GM.”

Was this girl deaf or just stupid? I’m pretty sure I don’t have a speech impediment. After all, until today, I was a trial attorney with one of the top firms in the city.

The girl placed the Louis Vitton monogram handbag with the engraved padlock on the counter.   I ran my hand across the rich leather and felt the shiny brass pieces.

This was to have been my present to myself when I received my partnership bonus. But instead of being named partner, I was let go. I was called into the partners’ conference room. When I realized what was happening, my mind sort of checked out so I’m not even sure why. A couple words registered like “economy” and “billable hours” but that’s all. I was stunned.

“Do you want to see something else?” the girl asked.

“Can’t you see I’m looking at this one?”

I hate the way they hover around you like you’re going to steal something. They treat you like dirt even though they couldn’t afford to buy a single thing in this store.

This weekend is my fifteenth high school reunion. It was going to be so sweet. With this purse on my arm, I would announce to everyone that I was the youngest person to make partner in Berg, Berg and Johnson. I’ve been working out and, if I do say so myself, I’m pretty jack. I’m tall and thin and most people say I’m cute. I got highlights in my hair and a fresh mani/pedi. Finally, those rich girls would have to notice me.

I opened the purse. I caressed the burgundy goat lining with the smart phone pocket.

The town where I grew up bordered on a very rich suburb. I attended high school with automobile heiresses who spent their weekends at the yacht club. I spent my weekend making popcorn at the Sears snack bar. The kids from my town were invisible to the rich kids. Most of the time, they didn’t even bother to bully us. They were pretty rude if we accidentally sat in their chosen seats in the cafeteria or at a sports game, but mostly, we were like gnats, they just shooed us away.

“Ma’am, would you like me to wrap that for you?”

“If you don’t stop bothering me, I’m going to have to ask for your supervisor.”

What a pest!

After high school, I worked my way through college and then law school. I got hired into BB&J as a clerk and worked my way up to attorney, putting in about a hundred hours a week. My work life didn’t leave much time for socializing but that was OK with me. I figured once I made partner, I could think about that stuff. Seven days a week, I got up at 5 AM, went to the gym, worked out for an hour, showered and went straight to work. When I left work about 10 or 11, I walked home to my one bedroom flat, stopped on the way to pick up a carryout at one of the little markets I passed. Then I’d eat, fall asleep and repeat it all the next day.

One night as I was walking home, I saw the purse. It was right there in the window of the Louis Vitton store. That purse was worth a thousand words. It was powerful. I knew I would own that purse one day.

But not today.

“I’ve changed my mind. I don’t want it. You can put it back.”

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