The Invitations – A Short Story by Berfin Özlem Erden

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen which meant that we, the workers of Dunder Mifflin Construction Company, were half-way through on our lunch break. I was sitting next to Nick, one of the engineers, and listening to Brenda and George go on and on about their wedding. According to Brenda, it was going to be the most anticipated event of the year. Nobody would want to miss this magnificent ceremony. Thankfully, we were all going to be honoured by receiving our invitations to the wedding.

Brenda reached to her purse to deliver them to us only to realise that she forgot the invitations upstairs in her desk. So, she left the dining hall to bring them. As soon as she left, a sigh of relief was heard from several people (including the groom himself).

“Are you still sure about that marriage pal?” said Nick with a cocky smile.

“Do not make me reconsider my decisions” said George jokingly “I’m already questioning myself.”

“I’m just saying. There isn’t much time left before the train takes off. And Brenda… I’m not sure if she is the type that you would settle down for.”

To be honest, as opposed to commonly accepted opinion, I liked Brenda; and not just because she was the only two women in the office with me. Sure, she could sometimes come off as strong-opinionated, and her enthusiasm could intimidate some people, but she also had strong positive qualities. I truly believed that she was one of the smartest people I had ever known. She was the only female engineer in the office which wouldn’t be the case if she wasn’t so brilliant. She had such a unique vision, and as an architect I had always enjoyed working with her.

“What do you mean?” George asked to Nick after a pause.

“Well, I just think that sometimes she can be too loud. You don’t want a woman as loud as her at home. Home is the place to relax. You want some peace there. You know what I mean?”

“I agree” said someone in the back.

“Listen guys I know Brenda can be… a lot sometimes, but after my first marriage I want to be with a strong woman. A woman who can take care of herself and not vacuum all the money in my bank account.”

“Alimony trouble I see” said Nick with same cocky smile that I without a doubt despised.

“You have no idea.”

“Come on guys let’s drop the divorce subject” I said while gazing upon Henry who was staring outside the window the whole time we were talking about marriage.

Henry’s wife had left him with their daughter two months ago, and during this period he was depressed and suicidal. He still didn’t know where the hell she was. This situation, naturally, affected his work performance. It was about time he would also be left by his company. Everybody knew this even though they pretended like they didn’t.

“Oh shit” exclaimed Nick, and turned to Henry. “How are you doing? Still no news?”

“No news” murmured Henry, and continued drinking his coffee.

“You see George that is what I’m talking about. You know what was the best decision I’ve ever made: Divorcing my wife. I’m living my best life ever since. Away from female intervention” said Nick, and then he turned to me “No offence Emily”

“There we go again” I thought. It was moments like this that made me want to get out of this office, but then I remembered how desperate I actually was for a job. My father had passed a few months back, and at that moment I was the only one who could take care of my mother and my brother. So, I sat down, and shut my damn mouth. God knows how much I wanted to tell him to shut his damn mouth. Instead of doing that, I told him it was okay.

A few moments later, I saw Brenda coming. “Thank God” I thought. They were finally going to stop talking.

“What did you guys talk about while I was away?” she asked.

“Nothing” said George. “I was just talking about much I love you”

I truly wanted to gag at that moment. Especially when the same cocky smirk appeared on George’s face again. I wish that I punched his face so that it disappeared, but as predicted I didn’t.

Soon, Brenda started to give away the invitations to us. There was one for everybody, well for everybody but me and Henry.

“Oh no!” said Brenda “I must have miscounted them.” Then, she reassured us that she would bring the invitations tomorrow. I wasn’t really sure about that, and Henry… well let’s just say that he wasn’t the most enthusiastic person in the room (particularly about weddings).

A few minutes later, our lunch break was over. While I was walking towards the stairs, I saw Brenda delivering a nicely decorated lilac envelope to our cook, Mrs Brown. Now, I was definitely sure one of us wasn’t invited. I couldn’t decide if it was me, or Henry.

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