"John!" My manager, Marcus Keller, called out my name throughout the entire room, and I flinched in my seat. C-could this be it? I thought to myself, recalling all the mistakes I could have possibly done.
"Y-yes?" I replied with a shaky voice, fearing of what will come. Not now, not when I was doing so well.
"Come into my office, boy. I have something to talk to you about." Mr. Keller said to me before he went into his office, closing the door. His tone was the same tone he used to all the other previous employees that were never seen the next day. Please, not now!
"I-I-I'll be ri-right there!" I stuttered uncontrollably, trying to hold in my tears. I slowly stood up from my seat and proceeded to walk to with shaky legs to the door that was probably leading me to my demise. When I reached it, I brought my hand up to the doorknob, completely hesitant to open it. Feeling stares at my back, I turned around to see my fellow employees and colleagues staring at me with sympathy, pity and all other emotions that I don't even want to say. This couldn't be it! It's probably just some... leftover things he has for me! I thought desperately, trying to stray away the thoughts of leaving this place with all my belongings.
I felt a rather tight grip on my left shoulder and I turned to see my tutor and loyal friend, Kenneth Johnson. He worked in this office for eight years, and became fully successful himself. When new employees came, Kenneth would be there to guide them if they ever did something wrong. But he treated me so goodly than anyone else has in my entire life. He greeted me whenever I came to work, helped me during business hours, and waited for me until the very end. He was the savior of this office. Yet he could not do anything in this situation. It was left out of his hands, and the only thing he could offer me is comfort. I smiled, turned to him and hugged him as tight as I could. He hugged me back, not saying a single thing for the longest while. No words could be uttered from anyone. I had been working in this office for four years, and for three years, no one was released. A record in their book. And now, it was broken. And I was the victim.
"I'm sorry I can't do anything about this, John." Kenneth said with a tone filled with sadness, as if he failed his goal in life. "I wish I could do something about this, I really do, but-"
"Don't blame yourself for what's happening, Ken." I reassured him, not wanting him to take my situation as a burden. I pulled myself from the hug. "This isn't goodbye officially. I'm just leaving the office. I'll just find myself another job, and all will be well." I really wasn't saying that to him, but rather to myself more.
Kenneth walked away, his colleagues coming to his side to comfort his loss. I was not prepared for my loss, and there would be no one to comfort me in the end. Not even Kenneth. The only thing I can do now was to face this head on.
Turning the doorknob, I entered my manager's office, not looking back. Mr. Keller was seated behind his work desk with a folder in his hand.
"Close the door, John." I responded and closed his door, my hands still on the doorknob.
"Please, have a seat." I released my grip from the doorknob and walked slowly to one of the two comfy chairs in front of Mr. Keller's desk and sat down. Silence ensued for a long while, making the atmosphere more tense than before. Mr. Keller sighed with a sad expression on his face. He wasn't willing to do this. So why?
"How have you been doing, John?" Mr. Keller attempted to make a small conversation.
"I just want to get it over with." I whispered with such a quiet voice I thought he hadn't heard me because he didn't say anything for a while.
"If that's what you want, John." Mr. Keller cleared his voice before he spoke more clearly. "John, for the last four years in this office, you have done spectacular things for everyone. You did your duties, never filed a complain, and worked overtime. You've set a great example in this office." Mr. Keller, despite the professionalism in his voice, meant every single word he said. "But I'm afraid I have to let you go." Here it was. "And I'll tell you why I'm doing so. Som-"
"I don't want to hear it." I cut him off, not wanting to know the reason I was being released.
Silence. "But you must know why-"
"Please." I cut him off once more, lowering my head. Just the thought of hearing the reason sickened me.
Silence. I looked at Mr. Keller. He seemed troubled for some reason and clearly wanted to tell me, but he respected my wishes.
"Very well, then. I'll respect your decision. But I'll give you this," Mr. Keller leaned over and displayed the folder in front of me. "In case you ever want to know why."
I nodded and took the folder from his grasp. "Thank you. Mr. Keller. It's been a pleasure." I probably won't ever look at it ever. I'll just burn it.
Mr. Keller chuckled for some reason. "I told you, you can call me Marcus, John!"
I smiled weakly. I had nothing more to say, and he seemed to have taken the hint. I was about to stand up from my seat when Mr. Keller presented something else to me. It was a picture of everyone from the office taken a few months ago. We all had happy expressions on our faces. I realized it was the day we completed the hardest task that was given to us. We celebrated it with a good drink from the bar afterwards.
"A memento." I took the picture. "For you to remember these good days in the office."
I smiled more genuinely. I was gonna treasure this for sure. With these two items, I walked out of Mr. Keller's office.
As I did, I was surprised to find everyone standing up from their workspaces, objects in their hands. My workspace was neatly cleaned out, a big wheeled bag that was coloured teal near my desk. My favorite color. At the very end of the room was a table with dishes on it. Some favorite dishes of mine were present as well. Hanged on the wall was a farewell sign with the words, 'We'll Miss You, John!' I felt tears starting to form in my eyes and trickle down my face. Kenneth appeared in front of me with puffy eyes and a huge smile on his face.
"You didn't think we would let you go without something to cheer you up, did you, John?" His voice was wavering but filled with enthusiasm.
It seems all my colleagues and Kenneth were there to comfort me in the end.
He didn't even want to think how they managed to set this all up in minutes, let alone the food. He was just happy that they were there for him.